The United States’ 2014 World Cup roster features seven players who could be representing a country other than the U.S. Here are those seven players, sorted by the impact each player is likely to have on the team’s results at the 2014 World Cup.
Fabian Johnson (German-American)- An attacking fullback (outside defender) who is one of the first names to get penciled into the starting line-up. He recently showed how good he is at joining the attack from a defensive position, when he combined with Michael Bradley to score the first goal in the United States’ win over Turkey last week. There’s questions about where Johnson will be deployed, as Klinsmann has often lined up the left-footed speedster on the wing (attacking outside midfielder.) With a questionable defense, look for Klinsmann to keep one of his most steady performers on the back-line. Johnson has the potential to be a break-out player at the World Cup.
Jermaine Jones (German-American)- A defensive midfielder, Jones has drawn the ire of many USMNT fans. There’s no doubting his talent, but Jones has shown an inability to stay disciplined in the role he’s given. Many fans think the insertion of a central midfielder who will stay at home will give Michael Bradley the freedom to have more of an impact, and therefore, make the team better overall. I disagree. Jones offers the U.S. team defensive bite and nastiness, qualities not really possessed by anyone else on the roster. Jones should start each game, and I think the World Cup is going to bring the best out of him.
Aron Johannsson (Icelandic-American)- A striker (forward), Johannsson has been scoring in bunches for his team in Holland, AZ Alkmaar. He’s only 23, has tons of potential and looks to be the number one guy off the bench. I believe the team should shift its formation in order to get Johannsson a starting spot, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. At the least, Johannsson should be getting 30 minutes in every World Cup game. He has pace, and is very skilled, he’s perfectly capable of turning a game with limited minutes.
Mix Diskerud (Norwegian-American)- A central midfielder, Diskerud brings a sense of calm that only Michael Bradley could rival on this team. He’s not fast, but he has very good control of the ball and can pick out passes that will open up a defense. He’s come a long way since his debut in the Gold Cup, and is only getting better. If the United States wants to bring a player on who will keep possession and add a bit of creativity, then this is the guy.
Timothy Chandler (German-American)- A fullback, Chandler has been scrutinized heavily since he opted to join the USMNT. He was non-existent in World Cup Qualifying, and recently got over an injury to regain form and make it back for the World Cup. He has potential, but is still very raw. He showed a lack of tactical acumen in the United States’ win over Turkey, often pinching too far inside and leaving tons of space for the opposing team’s outside midfielder. He did show other qualities that make him an attractive prospect, but don’t expect him to start. It’s very possible that he will be the first sub for the starting fullbacks.
John Brooks (German-American)- A central defender, Brooks played his best game for the USMNT in their last outing against Turkey. Brooks is only 21 and starting in the German Bundesliga, which really is quite the feat. He looks to be the United States’ top defensive prospect, but that’s all he is for now. He may be the first off the bench for a central defender, but subs for central defenders are typically only made in case of cards or injury. It’s doubtful the player will get time in this World Cup, but his last game may have proven that he’ll be able to step up if called upon.
Julian Green (German-American)- A winger, Green has been a huge talking point in Klinsmann’s decision to cut Landon Donovan. An 18 year old on the books at Bayern Munich, one of the most prestigious clubs in the world, Green is one for the future. He’s quick and skillful, and with more competent refereeing, would have drawn two penalties in his two appearance for the United States. At the same time, he’s still a kid. He lacks the physical strength and maturity to have an impact at this level. If he makes an appearance, it’s because the United States is up by at least two; if he makes an appearance and that’s not the case, then Klinsmann should feel the wrath of the media.