USMNT’s March 2016 WCQs – Recapping the Roster

On Sunday afternoon, Jurgen Klinsmann dropped his squad selection for this month’s World Cup Qualifiers against Guatemala.  Klinsmann’s group of 26 wasn’t chock full of surprises, but there is still plenty to gather from his selections.

Klinsmann Keeps Brooks and Yedlin

Because the senior team’s World Cup qualifiers are on the same days as the U-23 team’s crucial Olympic qualifiers, many wondered where camp players who have been part of both squads recently would end up.  After both squads were released, it was clear that Olympic coach Andi Herzog had access to just about all of the age-eligible players, except World Cup vets John Brooks and DeAndre Yedlin.  Brooks and Yedlin have been senior team regulars since 2014, and though the argument could be made for their inclusion in the U-23 team, they’ve clearly cemented their status as senior internationals.

January Campers Transition to Regulars

After the annual January Camp, a few players who were barely in the player pool end up as Klinsmann regulars.  This year, those spots go to San Jose Earthquakes’ David Bingham and Columbus Crew’s Ethan Finlay, both coming off impressive 2015 MLS seasons and strong performances in the year-opening camp.  Though Bingham will most likely serve as a third or fourth choice backup to Brad Guzan and Tim Howard, Finlay may find his first competitive minutes for the US this month.  An appearance looks more likely considering Finlay is still eligible to play for Canada and Klinsmann may be eager to cap-tie the midfielder, whose father is Canadian.

The Other Goalkeeper Question

While the Guzan v. Howard debate rages on, there’s another contest in the USMNT goalkeeper pool for that third goalkeeper spot at this summer’s Copa América.  2014 World Cup backup Nick Rimando has fallen in the pool after a poor 2015 MLS season, and usual backups Bill Hamid and Sean Johnson have been the victims of injury and bench duties, respectively.  Now, it looks like Club Leon’s William Yarborough and Bingham will compete for that final spot.

Some Players Come Into Camp in Good Form

While Tim Howard’s Everton career is ending on the bench, there have been some players on the squad who are having better luck with their clubs.  San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski has scored three goals in three games to begin his 2016 MLS season, making him joint top goal scorer in the season’s early weeks.  Bobby Wood has scored nine goals in his last eight games, bringing his season total to 14 with Union Berlin in the 2. Bundesliga.  On the defensive front, Edgar Castillo is back in Klinsmann’s good graces after earning a spot as the starting left back for Liga MX leaders Monterrey.

U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION (Club; WCQ Caps/Goals)
GOALKEEPERS (4): David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes; 0/0), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa; 9/0), Tim Howard (Everton FC; 30/0), William Yarbrough (Club Leon; 0/0)
DEFENDERS (9): Ventura Alvarado (Club America; 0/0), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City; 8/0), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United; 0/0), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin; 0/0), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City; 15/1), Edgar Castillo (Monterrey; 4/0), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca; 8/0), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana; 4/1), DeAndre Yedlin (Sunderland; 0/0)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake; 6/0), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes FC; 3/0), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC; 26/5), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC; 3/0), Ethan Finlay (Columbus Crew SC; 0/0), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Monchengladbach; 11/1), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers FC; 2/0), Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution; 0/0)
FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC; 28/12), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC; 34/13), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes; 0/0), Bobby Wood (Union Berlin; 2/1), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy; 2/1)

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