Monday, March 21, 2016

USMNT Roster Thoughts

So, rather than comment on the USMNT rosters for the Guatemala World Cup Qualifiers and the U-23 showdown with Colombia, I thought it would be interesting to see if I could put together a roster of players not selected for either group that could, on paper, give Guatemala a run for their money. I didn't consider injured/suspended players (Benny Feilhaber, Brad Evans, Bill Hamid, Jermaine Jones, etc), but here's what I came up with:

For the purpose of argument, we'll line up in a traditional 4-4-2, but I think our roster offers enough flexibility to be able to run a 4-3-3/4-5-1 as well if need be:

Goalkeeper - Nick Rimando - Real Salt Lake - The veteran netminder was a part of the U.S.'s World Cup roster in 2014, and he's been an MLS All-Star each of the last three seasons. CAPS: 21

Left Back - Jorge Villafaña - Santos Laguna - Villafaña is fresh off an MLS Cup win with the Portland Timbers, and has started all three of Santos's CONCACAF Champions League knockout round matches where they have yet to concede a single goal. A member of the ill-fated U-23s in 2012, Villafaña hasn't received any attention for Jurgen Klinsmann, and with left back such a question mark, you'd think the 26 year Villafaña would at least be due a look. CAPS: 0

Center Back - Nat Borchers - Portland Timbers - Borchers has been a key contributor on multiple MLS Cup winning sides and the 6'2" mountain man would bring a toughness that the U.S. teams often lack when visiting Central America. Borchers is 34, and his best days are probably behind him, but I think you could get two matches out of him. CAPS: 3

Center Back - Chad Marshall - Seattle Sounders - A three-time MLS Defender of the Year, most recently in 2014, the 6'3" Marshall would be big (figuratively) on set pieces. Always a threat to score on corners, Marshall's head could be the difference in a close game. CAPS: 11

Right Back - Eric Lichaj - Nottingham Forest - Lichaj's been a regular in the English League Championship for Nottingham Forest and at 27, is at that right age for a breakout. Lichaj hasn't appeared for the U.S. since 2013, but he's really seen his playing time increase overseas since we last saw him in the red, white and blue. CAPS: 10

Left Midfield - Graham Zusi - Sporting Kansas City - While Zusi hasn't been able to produce a repeat of his 2012 season when he dished out an absurd 15 assists, he's currently a starter on the league's only 3-0 team. He's also scored in World Cup Qualifying twice before (against Jamaica and in Panama), and he had two assists during the U.S.'s 2014 World Cup. CAPS: 32

Defensive Midfield - Danny Williams - Reading - Williams is in the midst of a career year with Reading and he's coming off a 2015 where he scored twice for the U.S. (against the Netherlands and again against Brazil). CAPS: 19

Attacking Midfield - Sacha Kljestan - New York Red Bulls - Kljestan scored eight goals and added fourteen assists for the Supporter's Shield winning Red Bulls in 2015. A natural playmaker, Kljestan is also just one of a handful of Americans to net a hat trick in an International match doing so against Sweden in 2009. CAPS: 46

Right Midfield - José Francisco Torres - Tigres UANL - The versatile Torres was a part of the U.S.'s 2010 World Cup team, but despite being just 28, he hasn't seen action with the U.S. since 2013. Torres is currently a contributing member for CONCACAF Champions League side Tigres UANL. CAPS: 26

Striker - Juan Agudelo - New England Revolution - People forget that Agudelo is still just 23 years old. Despite that, he has already managed goals against the likes of Argentina and Mexico. While he's still looking for a consistent role with his club, this would be the type of match I think he'd shine in. CAPS: 20

Striker - C.J. Sapong - Philadelphia Union -  Sapong is coming off a career year with a bad Union team in which he scored 9 goals and added four assists. The former MLS rookie of the year (2011) already has a pair of goals for the Union this year and has the natural athleticism that can give defenders fits. CAPS: 2


GK - Luis Robles - New York Red Bulls - CAPS: 2
GK - Clint Irwin - Toronto FC - CAPS: 0
LB - Jonathan Bornstein - Querétaro FC - CAPS: 38
CB - Clarence Goodson - San Jose Earthquakes - CAPS: 46
CB - Tim Ream - Fulham - CAPS: 20
RB - Jonathan Spector - Birmingham City - CAPS: 36
LM - Brek Shea - Orlando City SC - CAPS: 34
CM - Dax McCarty - New York Red Bulls - CAPS: 5
CM - Perry Kitchen - Heart of Midlothian - CAPS: 3
RM - Chris Rolfe - DC United - CAPS: 10
Striker - Will Bruin - Houston Dynamo - CAPS: 2
Striker - Quincy Amarikwa - San Jose Earthquakes - CAPS: 0

What do you guys think? Could this rag-tag group give Guatemala a match?

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