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With many of the current US defenders on the back side of their careers, it is very likely that the defense will be the most changed section of the squad.
Goalkeeper: Tim Howard: There really isn't even a question on who the USMNT's starting goalkeeper will be in 2014. Tim will merely be 35 years old by the time Brazil comes around, and if history tells us anything, it is that goalkeepers don't quite age like field players.
Left Back: Eric Lichaj: After Bornstein’s disasterous showing at the 2011 Gold Cup, Klinsmann wouldn’t dare take the risk and give him a second chance on the biggest stage. All eyes then point to Eric Lichaj, who played relatively well at this position at the 2011GC and would only be 25 by the time Brazil comes. However, with Edgar Castillo offering a more attacking LWB style, expect these two to really split time during qualifying.
Center Back: Tim Ream: The New York Red Bull center back has earned six caps since the World Cup and continues to be labeled the future rock of the USMNT defense. In June, there were rumors that Dutch powerhouse PSV were interested in his services, a place where Ream could really develop before the next World Cup. The fact that Ream prefers his left foot (Unlike most other US Defenders) might also be a desirable characteristic for Klinsmann. We will be seeing a lot more from Ream in the future.
Center Back: Maurice Edu: Before you exclaim Edu's natural position is CDM, I suggest you hear me out. After a few more years of experience and development, Edu will just be entering his prime at Brazil 2014. That being said, Klinsmann certainly wouldn’t want to keep a man with such talent on the bench. Plus, with Michael Bradley likely locking up the lone Central Defensive Midfield spot (remember, USMNT will play a much more attacking formation in the future), the only logical place for Edu would be Center back. Finally, when you look at the other CB candidates, Edu really stands out from the pack.
Right Back: Tim Chandler: Although Chandler has only played a mere two games for the Stars and Stripes, it would be hard not to include him on the list given his profile. He played in 15 games for German club Nuremberg last season at the age of 19 and was a breath of fresh air in the US' friendly vs Argentina. His speed is a characteristic that the US desperately lacked against Mexico in the Gold Cup, and something that no other US defensive prospect really has. It also doesn’t hurt that Chandler is part German under Klinsmann’s regime.
Edgar Castillo: Castillo will battle with Lichaj for the LB spot, and I expect both players to get significant minutes in the upcoming World Cup campaign.
Ryan Franklyn: Franklyn has great potential, but is simply too small to succeed at the international level.
Gale Agbossoumonde: It would be impossible to predict his development considering how little playing time he has received at the club level.
Clarence Goodson: Goodson’s height could really be helpful, but at 32, his fitness just might not be worth his size.
Oguchi Onyweu: Considering Gooch’s dramatic drop off since 2009, even the most optimistic US fans shouldn’t expect Onyewu to regain top form.
Jonathan Spector: The man can’t go a week without stubbing his toe, and you expect him to play in the World Cup? Nonsense.
Jonathan Bornstein: Oh, boy!