How Julian Green Could Affect USMNT World Cup Roster

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How Julian Green Could Affect USMNT World Cup Roster
Osama Faisal/Associated Press

Since it was announced that Julian Green would be joining the United States men's national team for their training camp prior to the team's March 5 friendly against the Ukraine, many American fans have been talking about how his addition to the team could affect the U.S.'s World Cup hopes. But adding Green to the roster would mean someone else gets left off.

Here's who it's most likely to affect.

Considering head coach Jurgen Klinsmann's choices over the past year, there are a number of players who are essentially locks for Brazil.

At goalkeeper, no one doubts that Tim Howard, Brad Guzan and Nick Rimando will be the three U.S. netminders headed to the World Cup. Defensively, Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez, Geoff Cameron, DaMarcus Beasley and Fabian Johnson are in.

In the midfield, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Mix Diskerud, Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan and Graham Zusi will be on the roster. Finally, at forward, Jozy Altidore, Aron Johannsson and Eddie Johnson have been the most commonly preferred choices.

Those players would account for 17 of the U.S.'s 23 roster spots. Green's selection wouldn't affect those players. His roster spot would come from one of the remaining six slots.

Klinsmann won't be headed to Brazil with only five defenders. He'll take at least one more center-back, presumably Clarence Goodson, and at least one more right-back. The battle for right-back is completely up in the air and no one, perhaps even Klinsmann, knows who the final choice will be.

An additional center-back and right-back would take the total number of defenders to seven. Cameron's versatility could allow Klinsmann to get away with only bringing seven defenders to Brazil, but it's not likely.

If Klinsmann sees Cameron as a center-back, he'll likely bring an additional right-back. If he sees Cameron as a right-back, he will probably offer up a fourth center-back spot to a player like John Anthony Brooks or Michael Orozco. Finally, if Fabian Johnson is considered as a midfielder, Edgar Castillo could sneak onto the roster to provide depth at left-back.

In the midfield, Kyle Beckerman is likely to be the U.S.'s fourth center midfielder. He could face a challenge from Danny Williams, Maurice Edu or Sacha Kljestan, but whoever it is, the choice won't be affected by Green.

For the three attacking-midfield spots in Klinsmann's 4-2-3-1, he will need some options off the bench. Alejandro Bedoya has been a favorite of Klinsmann's in recent months. Despite some unimpressive performances for the USMNT this fall, Bedoya been playing regularly for Nantes in Ligue 1 and is likely to make the team.

Those midfield choices would leave the U.S. two open roster spots if Klinsmann goes with seven defenders, but only one open roster spot if he goes with eight defenders (the more likely scenario).

The versatility of players like Fabian Johnson and Geoff Cameron do, however, make things hard to predict as both players can play up to three positions in the lineup.

The last player, or two, selected will likely be an attacker. As of right now, it appears that that last spot is a battle between six players. This is where things get interesting.

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Brek Shea has been a favorite of Klinsmann since the German took over for former coach Bob Bradley two-and-a-half years ago.

On the plus side, Shea has had a number of impactful moments with the USMNT, from creating two important goals against Mexico in friendlies to a number of key plays in this summer's Gold Cup. However, Shea's play is wildly inconsistent, and he's struggled to make a similar impact at the club level over the past two years.

Taking Green to the World Cup is a gamble, as he is an unproven player with virtually no first-team experience, but taking him in the place of Shea seems to make the most sense.

If Klinsmann has one last spot on the USMNT World Cup Roster, who should get it?

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Joe Corona showed a great deal of promise this summer in the Gold Cup but hasn't seen regular playing time at the club level over the past year and has seemingly fallen down the USMNT's depth chart. It's unlikely he'll make the squad, and if Klinsmann had to choose between Corona and Green right now, he'd probably go with Green simply for the long-term benefits to the U.S.

The other four likely candidates for the final attacking position are all forwards.

In Klinsmann's 4-2-3-1, it seems unlikely he would need, or want, a fourth forward on the roster. But if he does decide he wants an option off the bench up top for late in a game that the U.S. is chasing, Chris Wondolowski, Herculez Gomez, Juan Agudelo or Terrence Boyd could sneak onto the squad.

None of those four are likely to be seen by Klinsmann as a must-have in Brazil, and if the coach wants Green on the team, he could easily take the place of any one of them.

With Altidore, Johannsson and Eddie Johnson, as well as the ability of Donovan and Dempsey to play up top if needed, a fourth forward in Brazil is a luxury the U.S. could do without.

If it came down to a choice between Wondolowski, Gomez, Agudelo or Boyd, Klinsmann could take Green knowing that he wouldn't likely be needing any of the players he left at home.

 

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