Jürgen Klinsmann’s U.S. Men’s National Team is wrapped up it’s friendly match against South Korea with a 2-0 win thanks to San Jose Earthquakes striker Chris Wondolowski. This game has been touted as a final chance for many of the MLS players on the national roster ‘bubble’ to show their talents before the domestic league resumes. It also is a showcase for the closest thing to a US soccer legend, Landon Donovan, who’s International ‘sabbatical’ early last year sparked thoughts of his retirement, before he returned in September for the final clinching World Cup Qualifiers.
Kilnsmann has hinted at taking more domestic players to this World Cup, although ironically decrying at the same time the lack of ‘mental quickness’ in MLS. He may be noticing, however, that the United States’ best showing in a World Cup was in 2002(Donovan’s first WC, in which he one Best Young Player), when over half their roster was made up of MLS players.
Here is a look at the top prospects for a World Cup spot among the US Men’s National Team:
Landon Donovan: His talismanic abilities are still intact, and it would be a shock to not see him in Brazil. What position he will play is another question, but some answers might have been found today with regard to his partnership with the gentleman below.
Chris Wondolowski: The veteran striker had scored a hat trick for the National team against Belize in last summer’s Gold Cup Tournament, but some wrote it off to substandard opposition. Scoring multiple times now against a World Cup-tested side, and pairing well with Donovan, should further his case enormously. The lack of match minutes for foreign-based strikers Jozy Altidore and Jermaine Jones could strengthen his case futher. It will be interesting to see if he is asked to travel to Kharkiv in Ukraine for the next friendly on March 5.
Matt Besler: This defender has been voted the player of the Qualifiers and the Gold Cup, his performance today should seal his place.
Omar Gonzalez: Pretty set.
Graham Zusi: His solid midfield performance today should keep him in the squad. Donovan’s return had raised some doubts, but it looks like there should be room for both.
Nick Rimando: Goal keepers Tim Howard and Brad Guzan: just played against each other Saturday morning in the English Premier League and are the US #1 & 2. Rimando, who played in this game, will likely settle for backing them up.
Kyle Beckermann: Great dreadlocks, uncertain whether that will be enough to get him in.
Attacking players Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey have been mainstays of the previous two World Cup squads, and are likely to be on this squad. Dempsey chose to head to his former English Premier League team Fulham during the MLS break
Klinsmann seems to like a young midfielder named ‘Mix’ Diskerud, who grew up and plays in Norway (for Rosenborg), but has US citizenship due to his Arizona-born mother (who nicknamed him “Mix” as he had the energy of a ‘mixmaster’ as a child).
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