One year has passed and with the Gold Cup over, here's a 2nd go at predicting the US' 23 man roster for Brazil in 2014. Here's last year's guess.
(S) Tim Howard
In the mix: David Yelldell, Dominic Cervi, Nick Rimando, Sean Johnson, Zach MacMath
The future after Howard is extremely unclear. There really is no up and coming star looking to push him off the throne, as he did to Keller. Guzan, still the unquestioned #2 in Bradley's mind, is a question mark for me, having not even earned the starter spot at Aston Villa though Friedel just left. (Perhaps he will start at Birmingham City?) The last GK spot should go to a youngster, if one with promise emerges from the pack. I'll stick with Hamid, if only because I had him listed last year.
(LB) Eric Lichaj
(CB) Tim Ream
(CB) Zak Whitbread
(RB) Tim Chandler
In the mix: Omar Gonzalez, Ike Opara, Oguchi Onyewu, Sean Franklin, Perry Kitchen, Brek Shea, Jonathan Spector
Lichaj and Chandler (who can also play mid wing) seem to be the frontrunners for the outside back spots right now. Of the members of the old guard backline including Bocanegra, Demerit, Cherundolo, I'm guessing that Dolo will have the least diminished skill set and make it as the veteran presence, like a Hejduk. Whitbread has a chance to be a starter in the EPL from now on, while Ream seems to be a CB in waiting. Goodson will probably play a huge role in qualifying for us and the potential in the young Agboss will begin to show by then. Who knows what LB will look like then? It could be a tossup between MLSers Loyd and Shea for a bench spot. Onyewu may have just signed a contract with Sporting Lisbon, but we'll have to see an upward trajectory in his career first before we give him another look. Sadly, Jonathan Spector will never realize his dream of playing in the WC.
(DM) Michael Bradley
(DM) Maurice Edu
(AM) Stuart Holden
(AM) Freddy Adu
In the mix: Sasha Kljestan, Jose Francisco Torres, Joseph Gyau, Joshua Gatt, Luis Gil, Sebastian Lletget
We have quite a few young guns from the youth US teams but they may find it difficult to break into a stacked midfield core in time for 2014. Fingers crossed that Holden can fully recover from his knee injury and avoid future ones. I've always thought that Landon was a no-brainer starter through 2014, but with his recent benching (and decreasing top speed), who knows what his role will be? Perhaps Jermaine Jones could still be starting at defensive mid, but at least he'll make the 23. I'm taking a risk by projecting Adu as a starter in LD's place simply because he still needs to prove that he can keep his focus on improvement for more than just 1 year.
(S) Clint Dempsey
(S) Jozy Altidore
In the mix: Charlie Davies, Teal Bunbury, Omar Salgado, Bobby Wood, Eugene Starikov
Dempsey may be more of a pure forward at the end of his career. Hopefully Jozy and Juan will have lived up to their potential by then. I've only listed 3 forwards, but Freddy and Landon could both spend time at F as well.
Lineup: (easily a 4-2-3-1 if Dempsey drops under Jozy, exchanging with Adu)
If Sunil Gulati wants to make a coaching change to reinvigorate the program, now would be the time. WC qualifying doesn't begin until next summer, giving a new boss time to bring in his own system. We really don't have a better US option than Bob, so Gulati will have to throw a lot of money at a Euro big name, which I don't see happening right now. Either way, the youth movement should start immediately. Aging veterans whom Bradley doubts will make the 2014 team needs to get phased out of the regular player pool. Our defense especially, now after a 4 goal thrashing at the hands of our bitter rival (and a fairly mediocre WC 2010), should look new in 3 years time.