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World Cup 2014 Qualifiers: Players to Watch for the U.S. Against Honduras


Clint Dempsey #8 of the U.S. National Team-Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The final round of regional qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil kicks off Wednesday as the United States visit San Pedro Sula to take on Honduras at the Estadio Olimpico.

The US National Team official website reported on Monday that coach Jurgen Klinsmann has chosen the 24-man roster and will conduct training sessions in Miami before the match.

Below is the roster for Wednesday’s match-up according to the team’s website:

Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa/England), Tim Howard (Everton/England), Sean Johnson (Chicago/M.L.S.)

Defenders: Matt Besler (Kansas City/M.L.S.), Carlos Bocanegra (Racing Santander/Spain), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/England), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana/Mexico), Timmy Chandler (Nuremberg/Germany), Brad Evans (Seattle/M.L.S.), Omar Gonzalez (Los Angeles/M.L.S.), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim/Germany), Michael Parkhurst (Augsburg/Germany)

Midfielders: Michael Bradley (Roma/Italy), Brad Davis (Houston/M.L.S.), Maurice Edu (Bursaspor/Turkey), Jermaine Jones (Schalke/Germany), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht/Belgium), Jose Torres (Tigres/Mexico), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim/Germany), Graham Zusi (Kansas City/M.L.S.)

Forwards: Jozy Altidore (AZ/the Netherlands), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur/England), Herculez Gomez (Santos/Mexico), Eddie Johnson (Seattle/M.L.S.)

The United States team has played relatively well since their disappointing 2-1 loss to Jamaica back in September. In that time, they have beaten the likes of Guatemala, Antigua and Barbuda, and Jamaica at home, while earning a surprising 2-2 draw against Russia in Krasnodar back in November. The US suffered a slight setback with a 0-0 draw against Canada last week, but did not have their best roster and with the progress that their northern neighbors have made in recent years the result was fair.

With all of the chips on the line come Wednesday, Klinsmann will be looking for an inspired performance in a hostile environment. The US is 12-3-3 against Honduras since 1965, but playing in Central America is never easy considering the rowdy crowds and scrappy teams.

With a European coaching and playing background, the German coach has chosen 17 players who play outside of the United States. This could be a slight advantage for the team because many of the players will have a great deal of experience playing in front of hostile crowds in often violent environments. Players in the MLS have usually not seen the type of environment that Central American national pride presents and as much as it may not seem important, the atmosphere of a match can often throw players off their game.

Let’s take a look at some of the key players for the U.S. against Honduras:

Clint Dempsey

The best player on the team is of course one of the keys in any match.

Clint Dempsey, who was transferred to Tottenham from Fulham this season, has quickly become a fixture for his club, who currently sit fourth in the Premier League table.

Dempsey is a cool customer and comes through in the clutch for both club and country. His most recent show came a couple of weeks ago for Spurs as he scored the tying goal against Manchester United in the closing minutes of a key match.

Since heading to Europe, the 29-year-old has not missed a beat and has scored consistently for the U.S. national team. He is third all-time in goals for his country with 30 in 91 appearances and brings skill and toughness to the attacking end of the pitch.

With his poise and experience, Dempsey is a key player for and could single-handedly decide Wednesday’s match.

Tim Howard

Howard has been a staple in the U.S. lineup for years and brings strength and leadership to the squad from arguably the most important position on the field.

Between the posts, Howard directs the defense, organizes on set pieces, and uses incredible reaction speed to keep the ball out of the net. With 84 caps since 2002, Howard is one of the team’s most experienced players, which is key in important matches like the one on Wednesday.

In his time with the team, Howard has proven that he can win matches on his own with his ability to control his area and his innate ability to save penalty kicks. Tim Howard is a huge key for the success of the US and might be the key against Honduras.

Jozy Altidore

After being left out of the squad in recent matches, Jozy Altidore has been called back by Klinsmann and if he gets any playing time will need to show the coach some improvements for a spot in the 2014 World Cup.

Since the German was hired, the 23-year-old has been out-of-favor for the national team, but scoring like a mad man for his club AZ Alkmaar, but hasn’t performed for the US.

On Wednesday, Altidore will try to show his new coach why he deserves a spot and why he was such a big part of the 2010 World Cup team. His size, youth, and aerial ability are rare for the U.S. Klinsmann clearly recognizes this potential and hopes Altidore will regain his confidence and become the star striker for years to come.

Geoff Cameron

With names like Landon Donovan, Howard, and Dempsey, it is easy for outsiders on the team to be overlooked.

Arguably one of the side’s best, yet most unheralded players in the past several months has been Geoff Cameron.

The 27-year-old, who used to play for the Houston Dynamo in MLS, was recently signed by Stoke City of the Premier League and has become a big part of the U.S. defense. His demeanor, size, and ability allow him to play both in central midfield and central defense with impressive skill. In addition, his leadership and athleticism are a welcome surprise to a team that has not seen such versatility in a while.

Cameron makes a difference not only at the back, but has shown great ability to make plays and disrupt on set pieces. A tough-minded player, the defender brings an added edge along with

Watch for Cameron to be the enforcer for the U.S. against Honduras.


Wednesday promises to provide an exciting match that will show fans a lot about the national team. A hostile environment will provide an added obstacle, but with the World Cup to be played in Brazil, the U.S. are going to have to get used to such volatility if they have any aspirations of success come 2014.

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1 Comment on "World Cup 2014 Qualifiers: Players to Watch for the U.S. Against Honduras"

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  1. Joe Goss says:

    First Hex game that means anything without Landon D in a long time. Will be a tense day.

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