All In for the Group of Death
QUESTION: Which group are you most looking forward to following the #worldcup #FinalDraw & why? pic.twitter.com/8u5CFHAcV6
— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) December 6, 2013...
The world is a month away from the greatest sports tournament out there. As the World Cup draws closer, teams have begun naming their 23-man squads or their 30-man preliminary team for training camp. On Monday, U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann called up 30 players as he looks to see who will represent the Stars and Stripes in Brazil this summer.
Most of the roster can be predicted, but there were a few surprises. Obviously, players like Tim Howard, the red-hot Clint Dempsey and the legend Landon Donovan were called in and are locks for the summer, but a few names were surprising additions with one big omission. Klinsmann shockingly, yet understandably, left striker Eddie Johnson off the roster after he has had a very poor MLS season so far following his move to D.C. United from Seattle. Terrence Boyd, who has been in-form in Austria, seems to have beat out Johnson and could sneak his way into the roster as one of the last forwards.
On defense, the question is who will play the fullback positions. This will be the main position battle that people will be focusing on as the team trains for Brazil. The big wildcard is DeAndre Yedlin, the young right back who can be a major attacking force, but sometimes has lapses on defense that could be detrimental. In the center, the players are set but which combination will start is the question, Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez are without question the best center backs for the country, but the combination of the two has not been as successful as it should be in recent friendlies.
Gonzalez is one to watch as he has been recovering from an injury, but looks to be ready for camp. He can make an impact both on defense and on offense so Klinsmann will be looking for him to solidify his role this camp.
The toughest roster decisions will come in the midfield. With so many talented players with different skill sets, Klinsmann will have a tough time choosing who will go to Brazil this summer. The only real lock is Michael Bradley, who decimated Mexico, but after that it is anyone’s guess. Two Latinos who are battling for a roster spot are Alejandro Bedoya and Joe Corona.
Bedoya is one of Klinsmann’s favorites and has had a lot of success both for his club, Nantes in France, and for the U.S. this past year. Corona, on the other hand, has a lot of ground to make up. He was injured for a bit but has since returned to form and has played well for his club, Tijuana, but he was not allowed to play in the friendly against Mexico. The versatile midfielder can score and affect the games in different ways. If he can show his ability and play well, he could be a serious contender for Brazil.
Jurgen Klinsmann has a challenge ahead of him. With so many talented players, especially in the midfield, he has a lot of possibilities for the summer. The players will be pushed hard and will need to be at their best because the U.S. faces a very tough group featuring Germany, Ghana, and Portugal. It is possible to make it out of the group stage, but it is entirely up to the team how far it goes.
Note: Writer Gabriel Mesa predicts Gonzalez, Bedoya and third goalkeeper Nick Rimando are the three Latinos expected to make the final World Cup roster.