With the days ticking down until the first kick in Brazil, Jurgen Klinsmann released his final 23-man roster. There are some big story lines (many filled with controversy) surrounding the roster. Obviously, the big one is the USA’s most decorated player Landon Donovan being left off the roster. What adds to the mix is that there are only five returning players from 2010’s World Cup. Klinsmann is taking a very young squad to Brazil, and there are some big shoes to be filled by some relatively inexperienced players.
Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
Defenders: DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Nurnberg), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)
Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Jermaine Jones (Besiktas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
Deandre Yedlin is one of the most questionable inclusions in this roster. The Seattle Sounder is a speedy right back that has been on a great rise in the past year. His attacking mentality and ability to get forward are obvious assets that affected his inclusion in the roster, but are they really enough to get him a starting position? I don’t think so. Considering he would have to displace Timmy Chandler/Fabian Johnson at the right back position, I can’t see him getting much playing time in Brazil. I feel like his involvement is more of a support role where he will gain the experience that he needs for down the road. Honestly I still feel that Brad Evans or Clarence Goodson would have offered slightly more to the team but it will be interesting to see what Yedlin has in store for us hair-wise!
Yedlin is currently wearing the Predator Instinct – the latest installment in the Adidas’ Predator Series.
And of course you can’t forget about Landon Donovan’s omission. Donovan is currently wearing the CTR360 Maestri III, and I honestly can’t see him switching them out anytime soon for the Magista. If you go back a couple of years, I distinctly remember Donovan sticking with the Maestri IIs over the recently released IIIs. Be sure to keep an eye out for what the new MLS goal king wears on his feet – whether it be the Magista or the Maestri. Thankfully for Nike, they have a lot of other players on the roster that will wear their boots. Remember that Nike will be worn by Hypervenom wearer Clint Dempsey as captain for the Americans.
As part of the World Cup send-off series, the US played Azerbaijan on Tuesday in an international friendly. Seeing the World Cup boots was quite exciting as it was my first time seeing them worn in game. To be honest, the high collar on the Magista and Superfly look so unique and it truly stands out in their own way. The United States will be in action again vs. Turkey on June 2nd.
The friendly against Azerbaijan did reveal some kinks that the team needs to work out ahead of Ghana. One thing needed to be fixed was how the diamond midfield played. The intent of the diamond was to push Michael Bradley ahead and utilize his passing ability in the attacking third. However, he definitely did not have the same success in that role as he did against Mexico in the last friendly. Also, the game still left questions about the back four. Klinsmann used seven different players in the back and played Fabian Johnson out of position, so it is obvious that he is still searching for the best four.
The players I’m looking forward to seeing in Brazil have got to be Jozy Altidore, Aron Johansson and Mix Diskerud.
Altidore has had a tumultuous season at Sunderland where he only scored a lone goal in the League. But the question everyone is asking is whether or not he can shake off his club situation and bad form aside in the World Cup. Hopefully, he and his adiZero F50’s will be able to perform in the World Cup, as we will need his dominating presence.
Johansson, to me, is one of the most promising young players in this roster. He has showed game changing abilities in his recent play with the US and has even scored a few goals. Johansson just made a high profile switch from the Hypervenom to the Nike Superfly IV, and I would look for him to continue his recent form in the World Cup, even if it means coming off the bench to do so. He has never played in a competition nearly as big as the World Cup, so there definitely will be questions on how he handles the pressure.
And the last player I will keep a close eye on is Mix Diskerud. Diskerud has proved to be a dynamic goal scorer off the bench. I can just see him coming on late in the game to make a difference or score the game winning goal against Ghana. And similar to Johansson, Diskerud hasn’t played against teams as good as those in Group G. So the big question is whether Diskerud and his Tiempo Legend Vs can make a difference against top competition.
Did you know that the U.S. World Cup squad has no Puma players? Maurice Edu wore the Puma evoPOWER 1 Tricks during training camp but didn’t make the final roster. As for the top boot of choice…
Nike Tiempo Legend (7) – Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, John Brooks, Kyle Beckerman, Alejandro Bedoya, and Mix Diskerud
Nike Hypervenom (3) – Brad Davis, Clint Dempsey and Chris Wondolowski
Nike Magista (3) – Nick Rimando, Geoff Cameron, and Michael Bradley
Adidas Predator Instinct (3) – Graham Zusi, Deandre Yedlin, and Omar Gonzalez
Adidas F50 (3) – Timmy Chandler, Julian Green, and Jozy Altidore
Nike Mercurial Superfly (3) – Fabian Johnson, Aron Johannsson and DaMarcus Beasley
Nike CTR360 Maestri III – Jermaine Jones