Thursday, January 26, 2012

2014 Brazil WC Roster Prediction - 1st Klinsmann Edition Jan 2012

This is usually such a futile exercise anyway, but with Klinsmann just half a year into his tenure, even the most devoted US fans really have no idea what his squad will look like in 2.5 years.  Bradley was so much more predictable (aside from the Brian Ching pre-WC cut).  But it'll make for an interesting read come May 2014.  This is my 1st 23 man roster prediction since Klinsmann's hire.

Tim Howard, Bill Hamid, Brad Guzan

Hamid is the keeper in waiting and while Klinsmann may opt for another young gun in waiting in Johnson, he could decide that an experienced backup is more necessary.  Hopefully Guzan's recent solid play for Aston Villa will springboard him into a consistent starting role in the EPL or somewhere in Europe over the next 2 years.
In the mix: Sean Johnson, Nick Rimando

Oguchi Onyewu, Tim Ream, Geoff Cameron, Zak Whitbread

This is probably the most difficult group to predict.  If Bocanegra ages well and maintains his level of play, he will be a first choice starter and team captain.  If he slows down by age 35 as I would expect, and younger, more technical players have developed as hoped for, then it's a complete crapshoot as to who makes it.  I say Gooch will be our veteran stalwart while Tim Ream lives up to the potential that Bolton is paying for.  Zak Whitbread hasn't even gotten a call-up yet, but I'm banking on EPL success to change that soon.  Of the 3 2011 MLSers that everyone has been clamoring for - Gonzalez, John and Cameron - I'll roll the dice on Cameron, seeing his solid performances in the January games.  Clarence Goodson actually seems like a logical candidate to start next to Gooch by 2014 as well, but I'll cut him for now.
In the mix: Clarence Goodson, Carlos Bocanegra, George John, Omar Gonzalez, Michael Parkhurst, Gale Agbossoumonde

Outside Backs:
Timothy Chandler, Eric Lichaj, Alfredo Morales, Steve Cherundolo

Tim Chandler will start at one of the outside back spots.  Lichaj, injured during the 1st half year of Klinsmann's tenure, will prove himself worthy of the other side.  I'm gambling that old man Cherundolo will be the veteran presence while useful enough to come off the bench.  Bundesliga youngster Morales will round out the four.  I'm not too high on any of the MLS options currently although if I had to take one, I'll go with Loyd.
In the mix: Zach Loyd, Heath Pearce, Perry Kitchen

Defensive Mids:
Michael Bradley, Maurice Edu, Jermaine Jones

Beckerman is a Klinsmann favorite but I'm hoping JK comes to his senses in two years time.  How many defensive mids will go depends on the formation he's settled on by then.  I know Klinsmann might even try Bradley or Edu in front of the defensive mid but until roles are decided, I'm leaving them back there, where I think they belong.
In the mix: Kyle Beckerman, Ricardo Clark, Jeff Larentowicz

Attacking Mids:
Landon Donovan, Brek Shea, Stuart Holden, Fabian Johnson, Jose Francisco Torres, Joshua Gatt

This category is so full of talent players whose skill sets are so versatile, that it is very difficult to par down the list.  I thought about splitting between Attacking and Wide midfielders, but again, formations are not settled.  Landon may be a forward by 2014.  Brek should be a shoe-in at left mid - probably the only midfield position on the field into which we can feel confident about slotting a particular player.  Fingers crossed that Holden will be injury free for the next 2 years.  JFT has the vision and technical skills that Klinsmann loves.  Fabian Johnson beats out Danny Williams, who is more defensive anyway, as the talented wide player from the Bundesliga to make it.  Lastly, I'm taking a big chance on young speedster, Joshua Gatt, over Mikkel Diskerud, to be that offensive spark off the bench (perhaps like Donovan was in 2002).
In the mix: Danny Williams, Mikkel Diskerud, Benny Feilhaber, Sacha Kljestan, DaMarcus Beasley, Alejandro Bedoya, Freddy Adu, Robbie Rogers, Joe Gyau, Sebastian Lletget 

Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, Terrence Boyd

Dempsey's currently got a career high 15 goals halfway through his season, so he gets the honor of moving up to forward.  In two years time, he might still be one of our top 2 scoring options.  Otherwise no one is even close to displacing Jozy yet.  Still, US fans are hoping a scoring force emerges in the next two years.  It could be German youngster, Terrence Boyd, who has the size, speed and strength to be the next hope.  Controversially, I left Agudelo and other MLSers off the list until somebody shows me something.  I only listed 3 forwards since midfielder such as Donovan and Shea could easily be deployed as a wide forward depending on formations.
In the mix: Juan Agudelo, Edson Buddle, CJ Sapong, Teal Bunbury

Starting Lineup:

-----------Dempsey- Jozy----------
Shea ------- Donovan ------Holden
Chandler - Ream - Gooch - Lichaj

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