This week will mark one year since Jurgen Klinsmann became the head coach of the US national team, and we now have an understanding of his favored squad.
If the World Cup were to begin today, these would likely be the players chosen.
Tim Howard (Everton): The obvious number one, and that is not going to change for a few years.
Brad Guzan (Aston Villa): All eyes will be on Brad Guzan this preseason, as he elected to come back to Villa. He has a good shot to earn the starting spot for the club after Shay Given had a rough 2012 campaign.
Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake): A consistent player who is good enough to be the third choice keeper for now.
Steve Cherundolo (Hannover): He is approaching the end of his career, but still makes the cut as a reliable option in the back.
Timothy Chandler (FC Nurnberg): Chandler is not the most popular US player, after walking out on the team twice in two years before big tournaments. Maturity issues persist, but he remains an exceptionally talented player. He is likely to return to the US team, but it will be interesting to see if he has problems with his teammates.
Eric Lichaj (Aston Villa): Lichaj is yet to play for the US under Jurgen Klinsmann, but he will likely be in Villa’s starting lineup to start the English Premier League season, making it impossible for him to be left off the US team. His ability to play both right and left back is a huge asset.
Michael Parkhurst (Nordsjaelland): He enjoyed a spectacular season for Nordsjaelland last year and will be in the Champions League this season. He can play any position in the back line, giving Klinsmann options. He is small in size but is one of the smartest US players.
Carlos Bocanegra (Rangers): The US captain is without a club right now as Rangers have crumbled. Either way, he is a leader on the US team and lock to be on any US roster.
Geoff Cameron (Stoke City): His move to the English Premier League will put Cameron in the spotlight. Klinsmann is happy with what he has seen from Cameron so far.
Tim Ream (Bolton Wanders): He struggled in 2011 but looked solid for Bolton in 2012, despite the club being relegated. He will be a steady performer in the Championship.
Clarence Goodson (Brondby): Goodson played well for the US team in June, but he is not off to a strong start this season in Denmark. If he does not regain his form, he could lose his spot on the team.
Michael Bradley (AS Roma): Bradley’s move to Roma makes him one of the most high-profile American players. He is a cornerstone of the US team.
Maurice Edu (Rangers): Like Bocanegra, Edu’s club status is problematic with Rangers moving to the fourth tier of Scottish football. There is enough interest in Edu for him to find a place to play, but if he finds himself on a club where he is not a starter, his place on the national team could be vulnerable. His only playing experience has been on a poor Toronto team and Rangers. These next few months are crucial for Edu.
Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04): Jones is one of few Americans who has Champions League experience and plays on an elite Bundesliga team.
Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim): Johnson has been stellar for the US team the past year. He has been great at left back but his long-term future is in the midfield. He was second in the Bundesliga in assists before the winter break.
Danny Williams (Hoffenheim): Williams has played well in the Bundesliga. So far Klinsmann has played him out of position as a wide right midfielder but his natural position is at defensive midfielder. His versatility helps the US team, but he should be moved into the middle of the field.
Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy): Despite looking uneven at times, Donovan is a major part of the US team. He is the team’s all-time leading scorer. Even when he’s having a bad game, he can still find ways to be dangerous.
Jose Torres (Pachuca): Torres has been inconsistent with the US team ever since he joined the team in 2008. He is on the team right now but he must become more consistent or he won’t be on the plane to Brazil in 2014.
Joe Corona (Club Tijuana): Corona is a newcomer for the US team this year and had a good first season in the Mexican Primera. If he struggles in his second season, he may lose his spot to a surging Chris Pontius.
Clint Dempsey (Fulham): Dempsey had the best season ever for an American soccer player in 2011/12 and now will likely move to a bigger club this year. He is essential to the US team.
Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar): Altidore had a good season at Alkmaar last year but did not look good for the US team in May and June. Still, he is talented enough to be on the US team.
Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna): Boyd has been on the US team in 2012 despite not having much professional experience. He is off to a nice start at Rapid Vienna and looks to have a bright future.
Herculez Gomez (Santos Laguna): Gomez is a veteran of the Mexican league and has been effective for years. He’s a solid player for Klinsmann to have at his disposal. The only concern is his age.
Potential Future Squad Members
Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy): Now playing again after a long term injury, he could be set to claim a spot if Ream, Cameron or Goodson struggle. He is one of the most promising young central defenders.
Chris Pontius (DC United): After returning from a broken leg, Pontius looks like one of the best players in MLS. He can play numerous attacking position and he is likely to get a national team callup soon.
Caleb Patterson-Sewell (Vitoria Setubal): Other than Tim Howard, the goalkeeping position is shaky. If Patterson-Sewell plays well to start the season with Setubal, he can claim a spot.
Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes): Despite approaching 30, Wondolowski is having an amazing season in MLS and scoring quality goals. He has yet to score for the national team but hasn’t been given an extended chance. Every week he is making his exclusion more difficult.
Seb Hines (Middlesbrough): At just 24, Hines is now healthy and ready to show people how talented he is. He will make Boro a favorite to be promoted.
Josh Gatt (Molde): One of the top prospects in US Soccer, the speedy winger can give Klinsmann the type of wide option he currently lacks.
Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana): Castillo is on the outside of the team right now because Lichaj is returning to form and Chandler will likely return. Still, last season was a good comeback for Castillo and if he keeps it up this year, he can continue to put pressure on the guys in front of him.
Joe Gyau (Hoffenheim): Set to make his Bundesliga debut this season, the speedy Gyau could be another option for Klinsmann on the wing.
Struggling But Potential Options
Brek Shea (FC Dallas): Many are wondering where the Shea of 2011 went. The fact that he is at odds with his coach is not good. It’s too bad because the US team needs more wide options.
Oguchi Onyewu (Sporting Lisbon): Gooch struggled recently with the US team and his starting position at Sporting is in jeopardy with their recent acquisitions.
Alfredo Morales (Hertha Berlin): Morales has yet to play for the US team, despite getting called up twice. He needs to claim the starting spot for club team Hertha, now in the 2.Bundesliga. Based on the preseason, it’s unclear if he will do that.
George John (FC Dallas): 12 months ago, John was on the verge of heading to the English Premier League. He has yet to look like the player he was last year.
Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht): After winning the Belgian title, Kljestan was unable to get a US national team callup. Now the new coach looks to be implementing a 4-3-3 formation as opposed to a 4-2-3-1 formation where Kljestan thrived last year. His playing time could decline.
Mix Diskerud (Stabaek): Once thought of as a rising US star, it is unclear where Diskerud stands after a loan-spell to Gent did not go as well as he wanted.
Freddy Adu (Philadelphia): There is no question the 2011 Gold Cup was a shining moment for Adu, who was a spark plug for the US team. But he has never found a club where he can settle down and at Philadelphia he is again at odds with the coach.
Stuart Holden (Bolton Wanderers): Injuries have plagued Holden since 2010. If he can return, he’ll help the team, but after missing 18 straight months, he is a big question mark.
Robbie Rogers (Leeds United): Rogers was injured shortly after joining Leeds in January. Still, he is an effective wide player when healthy.
Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City): A versatile fullback who has Premier League and international experience. Injuries have always been a problem for Spector, but if he’s healthy, he is in the equation. He is still a very good crosser.