clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Predicting the U.S. Roster for the Copa América Centenario

Jurgen Klinsmann faces many tough choices when it comes to selecting the USMNT Copa América Centenario roster.

Ashley Allen/Getty Images

The preliminary squads for Copa America Centenario are trickling into the news, and with them will come fresh waves of speculation about the national team squads that will assemble for the tournament this summer. Here is Once A Metro's first stab at second-guessing Jurgen Klinsmann's plans for USMNT's roster.

Goalkeepers (3): Tim Howard (Everton), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes)

Missed the Cut: Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), Ethan Horvath (Molde FK),William Yarbrough (Club León), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire)

Tim Howard and Brad Guzan are locks to make the U.S. roster. Neither are in good form as Howard is the backup at Everton and Guzan has been struggling for an awful Aston Villa team that has already been relegated to the Championship. Guzan and Howard should be in an intense battle for the starting job.

The third goalkeeper Klinsmann selects will likely be David Bingham. Bingham received his first cap in February and did well shutting out Canada. He has been in decent form for San Jose early in the MLS season.

Yarbrough has been playing for Club Leon in Liga MX, but hasn't featured in a national team game since April 2015. Rimando has been a career reserve for the USMNT, but hasn't been called in since the 2015 Gold Cup. Recently Klinsmann has preferred younger goalkeepers such as Bill Hamid, Sean Johnson, and David Bingham to Rimando.

Ethan Horvath would have been the starter for the Olympic team but, despite playing well for club side Molde, he is unlikely to make the roster. Sean Johnson and Bill Hamid won't make the roster, as Johnson is the backup at Chicago now and Hamid is currently injured and may be unavailable for Copa América.

Defenders: (7) DeAndre Yedlin (Sunderland), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Brek Shea (Orlando City), Timothy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca)

Missed the Cut: Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), Matt Miazga (Chelsea), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), Michael Orozco (Tijuana), Edgar Castillo (Monterrey),  Ventura Alvarado (América).

Matt Miazga, Michael Orozco, and Ventura Alvarado won't make the roster as all three have struggled to receive consistent playing time for their respective clubs. Brad Evans is unlikely to make the roster since he and most other Seattle Sounders players have been doing poorly in MLS. DaMarcus Beasley has a chance to make the squad, but is a bit of a wildcard. Beasley came out of international retirement last summer to play in the Gold Cup, but struggled in his only appearance. It's unclear if he would be willing to play in the Copa América Centenario, but if he wants to he would be one of the only decent natural left-backs available.

Midfielders: (9) Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Jermaine Jones (Colorado Rapids), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

Missed the Cut: Perry Kitchen (Hearts), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew), Ethan Finlay (Columbus Crew), Danny Williams (Reading), Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution)

Klinsmann has many options when it comes to midfielders and several deserving players will fail to make the roster. Michael Bradley and Fabian Johnson are locks to make the 23. Bradley is the national team captain and Johnson has been having an excellent season for Borussia Mönchengladbach.

Veteran defensive midfielders and Klinsmann favorites Kyle Beckerman and Jermaine Jones should make the roster. Jones has shown in MLS that he still has a lot left in the tank and Beckerman has been solid if unspectacular for Real Salt Lake.

While Mix Diskerud struggled for NYCFC in 2015, he has started very well in 2016 and has been called up for the last seven national team matches. He provides a more attacking option for Jurgen Klinsmann in central midfield.

Bedoya and Zusi have been constant starters for their respective clubs and are solid wide midfield options. While both players have been rather average lately, expect these experienced midfielders to be playing in the Copa América.

With Nagbe having recovered quickly and avoided serious injury from a vicious Nigel de Jong tackle, he has a good chance to play in his first international tournament. Nagbe is a dynamic player, with a combination of pace, endurance, tackling ability, and playmaking that few other U.S. players possess. With many other central midfielders expected to make the roster, look for Klinsmann to use Nagbe on the wing.

Christian Pulisic's meteoric rise looks set to continue. He has recently become the youngest player to score two goals in the Bundesliga, scoring in each of his last two matches. Klinsmann recently posted a video on Facebook, in which he said that Pulisic is making a very good case to be included on the U.S. roster.  Of the players projected to make the roster, Pulisic's spot is the least secure.

Ethan Finlay and Lee Nguyen have struggled early in the MLS season to regain the form that earned them both call-ups last year. Both need to quickly improve the play in order to make the roster. While Perry Kitchen is earning constant minutes in Scotland, there are simply several other better defensive midfield options, including Wil Trapp. Trapp has truly come into his own, playing for Columbus, but expect Jurgen Klinsmann to opt for more experienced central defensive midfielders.

Like Trapp, Danny Williams is another defensive midfielder who has been playing well, but will likely miss the cut. Williams' suspension due to an on-field scuffle with Reading teammate and captain Paul McShane certainly won't help his case.

Forwards (4): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Bobby Wood (Union Berlin), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)

Missed the Cut: Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Jerome Kiesewetter (VFB Stuttgart II)

Barring injury, Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey are assured to make the roster regardless of their club form. Bobby Wood has been in excellent form for Union Berlin and will be fighting hard to establish himself as a starting forward for the national team. Gyasi Zardes will likely make the roster as the last forward. Zardes has three goals through six MLS games and adds a signfiicant threat due to his pace. Additionally he is capable of playing right or left midfield as well as up top.

Jordan Morris has struggled to have an impact in MLS early in his rookie season. While he is certainly a good player his shortcomings, such as a below average left foot, have become apparent over the past few weeks. He simply isn't in good enough form to make the roster.

Chris Wondolowski is still one the top scorers in MLS, but has always struggled to make an impact of the international stage. Wondolowski may receive a call-up if Klinsmann wants a more veteran presence or chooses to name more than four forwards to the roster. Kiesewetter showed promise in limited minutes during February friendlies against Canada and Iceland, but as he is playing in the German third division, Kiesewetter is unlikely to make the roster.

Klinsi's player pool for Copa America should be apparent shortly, so consider this the first guess of many to come between now and and the final squad announcement on May 20 (or, knowing Klinsmann, probably a day or two later).