By position: Looking at the defenders who made the U.S.’s final 2014 World Cup squad
Defenders: DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timothy Chandler (Nuremberg), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galxy), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Moenchengladbach), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders)
Others who cross over: None
Last cuts: Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew)
1. More questions than we thought - Right back has been a talking point since the U.S. lost Steve Cherundolo, but with Clarence Goodson cut from the team, central defense is a question, too. So many have been speculating Omar Gonzalez hasn’t firmly won his starting spot, yet the man who was thought to be his main competition is gone. And the new contender? He’s also a candidate at right back.
Many have noted Klinsmann’s recent thoughts on Cameron - how he thinks the Stoke right back’s best position is in the middle. This is nothing new. It’s also nothing that’s prevented Klinsmann from playing Cameron in midfield or wide.
Eight hours after the final squad was named, that versatility is clouding the picture. We have no idea where (or if) Geoff Cameron will play in Brazil.
2. Fabian Johnson both key and potentially irrelevant - That’s irrelevant to the defense; not to the entire team.
Johnson’s played left back for the U.S., has recently seen time at right back at club-level, and has worked out there during the last week in Palo Alto, yet when you look at the midfielders selected, his best use may be in left midfield - where he’s been playing more often than not for the U.S., of late.
Consider the impact on the rest of the team. That means Beasley would start at left back, while Cameron and Timothy Chandler (and perhaps DeAndre Yedlin) fight it out on the right. The lack of options in the middle seen to foreshadow what Klinsmann might do at the back.
3. DaMarcus Beasley is going to his fourth World Cup - After today’s day’s big omission, we shouldn’t take this for granted. Beasley was part of the last U.S. team to make the final eight and has played in a Champions League semifinal. From Manchester City to Rangers, South Korea to Brazil, the soon-to-be 32-year-old has had one of the most remarkable careers of any player the U.S. has produced.
And now, having adapted to an entirely new challenge (a permanent move to full back for country), Beasley will build on his 117 caps at his fourth World Cup. We’re not talking about this enough.
Matt Besler will start, but the rest is unknown. Thankfully, Klinsmann’s given himself options, even if two of his defenders (Brooks, Yedlin) look unlikely to see time in Brazil. With the flexibility of players like Cameron and Johnson, the U.S. has options should Beasley and Gonzalez fail to cement their spots. Come June 15, there may not be a set back four.