With no USMNT games and hardly any indication of who will be called into camp at the end of May — save for a little love from Jürgen Klinsmann for Stuart Holden — you would be excused for thinking it has been a tame two weeks in American soccer. Of you would be wrong, but you would be excused.
Transfer speculation, injuries to key players like Timothy Chandler, AZ refusing to release Jozy Altidore for the friendlies against Belgium and Germany, it’s all going quite crazy since we last convened to predict the squad for Brazil in 23 for 2014. If you haven’t had a chance to listen to our latest American Soccer Junkies podcast, you should probably do that now, but we’re here to pull out your favorite segment our moderately well-informed take on the 2014 USMNT World Cup squad.
Last time out we saw Danny Williams and Brek Shea trade the comfort of a flight to South America for the sad reality of watching the world’s greatest sporting event from their living rooms. Meanwhile, Benny Feilhaber and DaMarcus Beasley came back in from the cold to rejoin the USMNT. Did Williams and Shea do enough to earn their way back on in the past two weeks or did someone else step up?
Of course, even after all that has happened surrounding this team, the squad to Brazil remains the same. Check out the podcast to hear what we have to say about the players that just missed the cut — including Alejandro Bedoya, Steve Cherundolo and the rejuvenated Mike Magee — but there was one player that was the toughest omission of all. That man was the aforementioned Stuart Holden.
Although Klinsmann made the commitment to bring the midfielder into the fold this summer, he is still working his way back to full fitness. After only a handful of appearances at Bolton and a short loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday we just haven’t seen enough yet. It’s not easy to find decent streams of Championship relegation battles. Don’t get me wrong, Holden may just be one of my favorite players in the USMNT pool, but it’s hard to put someone in the World Cup on pure speculation — even if that is what we do best.
What we do know is that we will be seeing more of him shortly. It’s not exactly a great leap from where Holden is now to the heart of this squad. If he’s healthy, and nobody is hoping for that more than we are, he will likely be more than just a passenger next summer. We just have to see it first.
Goalkeepers (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
Defenders (7): Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Tijuana), Timothy Chandler (Nürnberg), Omar Gonzalez (Los Angeles Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (Brøndby), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim)
Midfielders (8): DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (AS Roma), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Maurice Edu (Bursaspor),Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Forwards (5): Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham), Herculez Gomez (Santos Laguna), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders)
What do you think of the roster? Does Holden deserve a spot now or were we right to wait until we’ve seen him play?