Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Six months ago when Matt Besler was earning his first World Cup qualifying cap for the USMNT at the Azteca against Mexico, many U.S. fans were wondering “Who’s Matt Besler?”
That night, Besler and centre-back partner Omar Gonzalez earned a big point in the U.S.’ 0-0 draw with Mexico and since then, Besler has established himself as the go-to defender on the American back line.
Gonzalez has been good as well, but is still prone to costly errors and faces competition for the spot from Geoff Cameron, Clarence Goodson and, perhaps, John Anthony Brooks.
Gonzalez has started all eight of the U.S.’ World Cup qualifiers in the hexagonal and is an absolute monster in the air. However, in the U.S.’ Gold Cup run, Klinsmann favored Clarence Goodson to partner Besler even after Gonzalez was called in following the U.S' progression out of the quarterfinal round.
Cameron has had little experience at centre-back for club or country over the past year. But he was a Klinsmann favorite at the position during the semifinal round of World Cup qualifying and for some high-profile friendlies in 2012 and 2013.
Oddly enough, Cameron’s versatility may end up hurting his chances to regularly play centre-back as he can also play right-back and as a holding midfielder, positions where he is often needed.
Finally, the U.S. may have Bundesliga defender John Anthony Brooks at their disposal in Brazil.
Brooks still is not cap-tied and is eligible to represent Germany internationally. Because Brooks is currently injured and will miss the October qualifiers, the next chance the U.S. will have to officially cap-tie him will be the first group-stage game in Brazil.
While there are plenty of options, the sooner Klinsmann can make his decision, the better.
Besler and Gonzalez have never played a club game outside of MLS. The highest Goodson has climbed at the club level is the Danish league, currently ranked 19th by the UEFA coefficient and Brooks is still largely an unknown.
The more experience the U.S. centre-backs can get with each other between now and Brazil will only help.