January Calls

Kelyn Rowe is among a number of impressive young Americans who may be deserving a call-up in January. (Photo by CHRIS ADUAMA/aduama.com)

Kelyn Rowe is among a number of impressive young Americans who may be deserving a call-up in January. (Photo by CHRIS ADUAMA/aduama.com)

With the 2014 January U.S. Men’s National Team camp just around the corner, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann faces some tough decisions on who to bring into camp. For some, the January camp will simply be a chance to get more work in with the National Team before an expected appearance on the World Cup roster this summer. For others, the camp will prove a last chance to make an impression on Klinsmann and earn more looks before the World Cup.  

Despite being a World Cup year, Klinsmann also may well bring in a few youngsters to supplement the roster whose prospects are more for 2018 – and, of course at some positions, a few players will likely be brought in just to fill the numbers with no realistic hope at heading to Brazil this summer.

Here are 34 players who have January and February off from club football that Klinsmann could or should be calling for a trip to Carson, Calif.

The Probably World Cup Bound (This are the players you can already pencil in to the 2014 roster pending injuries or massive drops in form and should be locks for the January camp.):

Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy – Midfielder/Forward)

It’s hard to imagine a 2014 World Cup without the U.S.A.’s all-time leading scorer and assister, though as recently as last Spring that seemed quite possible. After Donovan’s stellar Gold Cup, the pacy winger now once again looks a lock to be a part of the 23-man World Cup roster.

Key 2013 Stats: Donovan led the U.S. in both assists and goals in 2013 with 8 each in just 10 games. Donovan also tallied 10 goals and 9 assists in 22 games for the Galaxy this year. Donovan was 5th in MLS with 2.7 key passes a game in 2013.

Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake – Goalkeeper)

Generally the #3 ‘keeper on the roster can’t be called a lock, but after Tim Howard and Brad Guzan, Rimando is head and shoulders above the rest of the field thanks to an impressive Gold Cup showing combined with a fantastic MLS season.

Key 2013 Stats: Rimando finished 2013 with a 0.67 goals against average (GAA) for the U.S. with 2 shutouts in 6 games and a perfect 6-0-0 record. Among goalkeepers that played at least half their team’s games, Rimando led MLS in save percentage with 73%. He was also among the league’s best with a 1.04 GAA.

Eddie Johnson (D.C. United – Forward)

Johnson continued his career revival in 2013 and impressive showings with both the U.S. and Seattle Sounders likely have earned him a place on the 2014 roster – something that seemed improbable at best 18 months ago.

Key 2013 Stats: Johnson appeared in 17 U.S. games in 2013, tied for the most of any player, tallying 5 goals and assist. Johnson finished with 9 goals and 2 assists in 21 games for Seattle and was traded to D.C. United in the offseason. Some negatives: Johnson was dispossessed 3.3 times per game – the highest number in MLS – and was second with 2 offsides per game.

Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City – Midfielder)

Zusi has established himself as a mainstay on the National Team over the past two years and is close to securing his spot on the 2014 roster, if he hasn’t already. Zusi helped lead Sporting Kansas City to the MLS Cup this year.

Key 2013 Stats: Zusi registered 2 goals and 2 assists for the U.S. in 2013. Zusi finished with 6 goals and 8 assists in 27 games for Kansas City. His 2.9 accurate crosses per game ranked first in MLS, his 3.1 key passes per game ranked him third in MLS and first among Americans in the league, while his 1.4 successful dribbles ranked him 10th in the league.

Omar Gonzalez (Los Angeles Galaxy – Defender)

Gonzalez appears to have earned a spot as one of the center backs in 2014, having earned starts in some of the most important games this season for the U.S.

Key 2013 Stats: Gonzalez started in 13 and played in 14 international games in 2013, more than any other U.S. center back. Gonzalez appeared in 27 games for the Galaxy and was eighth in MLS with 8.3 clearances per game.

Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City – Defender)

Another key to Kansas City’s MLS Cup run, Besler also established himself as one of the top center backs for the U.S. and is likely headed to the World Cup.

Key 2013 Stats: Besler was second among center backs with 11 starts and 12 appearances in 2013. Besler started 23 games for Kansas City and was seventh in MLS with 8.5 clearances per game and eighth with 6.2 accurate long balls per game.


The Bubble Players (These players are firmly on Klinsmann’s radar, but still have work to do to secure their spots in 2014):

Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders – Defender/Midfielder)

Evans was the starting right back for the U.S. for much of 2013 and alternated between defense and midfield in a successful season for the Sounders. Evans spot in the World Cup could be endangered should Steve Cherundolo return to form or other right backs emerge.

Key 2013 Stats: Evans started 9 games and appeared in 10 for the U.S., recording a goal and two assists. Evans had 4 goals and 5 assists in 24 games for the Sounders.

Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake – Midfielder)

Beckerman seems to be established as the third defensive midfielder behind Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones. Unless someone can unseat him over the next few months, he’s likely headed to the World Cup.

Key 2013 Stats: Beckerman started 9 games and appeared in 10 for the U.S. in 2013, registering two assists. Beckerman finished with 4 goals and 6 assists in 26 games for Salt Lake this year. Beckerman led the league with 69.7 passes per game, was 28th in MLS with 2.8 interceptions per game and 39th with an 83.1% pass completion rate.

Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes – Defender)

Goodson seems to be just below Besler and Gonzalez on the center back depth chart and with Geoff Cameron, John Brooks and others fighting for spots there, Goodson still has more work to do to secure his place on the roster.

Key 2013 Stats:  Goodson started 10 games for the U.S. and scored 2 goals in 2013. Goodson played in 9 games for the Earthquakes after transferring midseason from Danish club Brondby IF.

Mix Diskerud (Rosenberg BK – Midfielder)

Diskerud has shown flashes of the quality he can provide to the U.S. in central midfield, but has yet to break through as a regular on the team.

Key 2013 Stats: Diskerud appeared in 13 matches, starting 6, while recording a goal for the U.S. Diskerud had 2 goals and 1 assist in 26 games as Rosenberg finished second in Norway’s Tippeligaen.

Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo – Midfielder)

Davis can put in a good cross, but there are still questions about his pace at the international level. He remains behind Fabian Johnson at left midfield, while Donovan is also capable of playing the spot.

Key 2013 Stats: Davis appeared in 7 matches for the U.S., but started only 2 and recorded 2 assists. Davis finished with 4 goals and 9 assists in 26 matches for Houston. Davis ranked second behind Zusi with2.6 accurate crosses per game.

Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes – Forward)

Wondolowski finally proved he could score at the international level during the 2013 Gold Cup, but has a lot of work in front of him if he’s to move up in a deep forward pool and make the World Cup roster.

Key 2013 Stats: Wondolowski recorded 6 goals and an assist in 9 games (4 starts) for the U.S. He finished tied with Donovan for the Gold Cup Golden Boot with 5 goals. Wondolowski had 11 goals and three assists in 29 games for San Jose, his lowest goal-scoring total since 2009.


The Deserving Vets (These players weren’t on the U.S. radar in 2013, but their club performances should earn them a look in January):

Mike Magee (Chicago Fire – Midfielder/Forward)

An MLS MVP award alone should be enough to earn Magee a look in the January camp, though it’s hard to see how he’d make the World Cup roster with so much depth ahead of him in the positions he plays.

Key 2013 Stats: Magee finished second in MLS with 21 goals, while also adding 4 assists in 32 games split between the Fire and Galaxy. In his time with the Fire, Magee was third in MLS with 3.5 shots per game, sixth with 2.6 key passes per game and 11th with 1.7 accurate crosses per game.

Dax McCarty (New York Red Bulls – Midfielder)

McCarty established himself as one of the top holding midfielders in MLS in 2013 and was a huge part of the Red Bulls march to the Supporter’s Shield. He’ll likely need to outperform Beckerman to have any shot at 2014, but at only 26 has a chance at 2018 as well.

Key 2013 Stats: McCarty registered 4 goals and 4 assists in 30 games for New York. McCarty was 17th in MLS with an 85% pass completion rate and seventh with 53.9 passes per game.

Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution – Midfielder)

Nguyen moved to central midfield in 2013 and while his goal total fell, the creative midfielder was a key part of New England’s return to the playoffs. Nguyen would have a very difficult battle ahead of him to earn a spot in a crowded midfield.

Key 2013 Stats: Nguyen registered 4 goals and 7 assists in 33 games for the Revolution. Nguyen was 17th in MLS with 1.7 key passes per game and 12th with 1.9 fouls suffered per game.


The Promising Youngsters (These players likely aren’t quite ready for 2014, but January could prove valuable for their development for 2018):

Kelyn Rowe (New England Revolution – Midfielder)

Rowe emerged as one of the top central midfielders in MLS in 2013 after moving in from the wings. The 22-year-old Rowe proved a threat both as a creator and with his ability to strike from long range.

Key 2013 Stats: Rowe finished with 7 goals and 8 assists in 33 games. Rowe was 18th in MLS with 1.3 successful dribbles per game.

Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids – Defender)

A member of the U.S. U-20 team, O’Neill is still eligible to play for both the Republic of Ireland and the U.S. and has not committed to either. O’Neill has proven a valuable center back for the Rapids at just 20 years old and a call-up could help secure his future with the U.S.

Key 2013 Stats: O’Neill appeared in 26 matches (24 starts) for the Rapids in 2013. O’Neill played 9 matches for the U.S. U-20s and scored a goal.

Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake – Midfielder)

One of the few bright spots for the U.S. U-20s at this summer’s World Cup, Gil became a key part of Salt Lake’s dominant midfield this year.

Key 2013 Stats: Gil registered 5 goals and 3 assists in 30 matches for Real Salt Lake. Gil also had 2 goals and an assist for the U.S. U-20s.

DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders – Defender)

The 20-year-old Yedlin became the starting right back for the Sounders in 2013. With right back being a position of weakness, Yedlin could be a longshot for a spot on the World Cup roster.

Key 2013 Stats: Yedlin recorded a goal and 2 assists in 31 games for the Sounders. Yedlin was 12 in MLS with 3.5 interceptions per game..

Andrew Farrell (New England Revolution – Defender)

The holes at outside back could similarly open a spot for Farrell, who quickly established himself as one of the better right backs in MLS after the Revolution traded up to take him with the number 1 overall draft pick in the 2013 SuperDraft.

Key 2013 Stats: The 21-year-old Farrell started 32 games for the Revolution at right back, recording an assist. Farrell was 8th in MLS with 1.5 successful dribbles per game and 17th with 3.3 interceptions per game.

Dillon Powers (Colorado Rapids – Midfielder)

The MLS Rookie of the Year is a promising box-to-box midfielder who could be the future replacement for Jermaine Jones, but is unlikely to crack the roster for 2014.

Key 2013 Stats: The 22-year-old Powers recorded 5 goals and 6 assists in 30 games for the Rapids. Powers was 13th in MLS with 1.6 accurate crosses per game.


The “Last Chance Saloon” (These players have had impressive careers, but haven’t been on the international radar lately and may be worth one last look due to the position they play):

Carlos Bocanegra (Chivas USA – Defender)

The implosion of Scotland’s Rangers FC seemed to take Bocanegra’s International career with it. A former U.S. captain and a member of the 2006 and 2010 World Cup squads with 110 Caps to his name, Bocanegra has seemingly completely fallen off the U.S. radar. As a defender who can play both center and left back, an in-form Bocanegra would be a welcome addition to the inexperienced defensive corps. But at 34, is Bocanegra still capable of playing at the highest level?

Key 2013 Stats: Bocanegra started 12 matches for Chivas USA after a midseason move and would be fifth in MLS with 9 clearances per game if he had enough games to qualify.

Nat Borchers (Real Salt Lake – Defender)

Borchers hasn’t played for the U.S. since 2010 and at his peak was just a bubble player. Still, the 32-year-old was one of the top center backs in MLS in leading Real Salt Lake to the MLS Cup last season and has been very consistent over the years. A long shot at best, Borchers could add a veteran presence to the January camp and may be the best option the U.S. has as far as keeping possession in passing out of the back.

Key 2013 Stats: Borchers started 28 games for Real Salt Lake, recording a goal and two assists. His 87.5% pass completion rate ranked third in MLS.


The “Fills a Need” Players (These players haven’t been grabbing the headlines for their play, but their quietly consistent play makes them worth a look, considering they play the weakest position for the U.S. – fullback.):

Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake – Defender)

The right back earned a call-up to the last January camp, but didn’t see much action with the U.S. Beltran has proven to be a solid right back for Real Salt Lake over the past two seasons and could provide depth in a weak position for the U.S.

Key 2013 Stats: Beltran started 2 matches for the U.S. He registered one assist in 25 games for Salt Lake.

Sheanon Williams (Philadelphia Union – Defender)

Williams, a Boston native, has emerged as one of the top right backs in MLS and like Beltran could challenge for a spot on the roster due to a lack of quality options at right back.

Key 2013 Stats: Williams led all defenders with 8 assists in 32 games and also added 2 goals.

Chris Klute (Colorado Rapids – Defender)

Klute, the Rapids 2013 Defender of the Year, has quickly become the top left back in MLS. With the current top two options for the U.S. at left back, DaMarcus Beasley and Fabian Johnson, both natural midfielders, there is plenty of opportunity for a new option to emerge at this position.

Key 2013 Stats: Klute’s 7 assists in 31 games were second only to Williams among defenders.

Seth Sinovic (Sporting Kansas City – Defender)

Sinovic, another solid option at left back, helped Kansas City win the MLS Cup this year as a key part of one of the top defenses in MLS.

Key 2013 Stats: Sinovic finished the year with 3 assists in 32 games.

Other options: Chance Myers (Sporting Kansas City), Corey Ashe (Houston Dynamo)


The “Uh Oh, We Need Some Forwards on this Roster” (These forwards have next to no chance of making the World Cup roster, but the January camp will be short on strikers without them):

Will Bruin (Houston Dynamo – Forward)

Bruin earned a call-up to the last January camp and had a solid season with the Dynamo this year. With the U.S. depth of forwards with European experience, it’s unlikely Bruin has a shot at making the World Cup roster.

Key 2013 Stats: Bruin made 2 short substitute appearances for the U.S. Bruin had 8 goals and 7 assists in 30 games for Houston.

Lamar Neagle (Seattle Sounders – Forward)

Despite being on a roster with the likes of Eddie Johnson, Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey, Neagle proved to be one of the key pieces to Seattle’s attack.

Key 2013 Stats: Neagle recorded 8 goals and 4 assists in 30 games for Seattle.

Other options: Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake), CJ Sapong (Sporting Kansas City)


The “Future” ‘Keepers (Tim Howard, Brad Guzan and Nick Rimando seem to have the goalkeeping spots locked up pending injuries, but these younger keepers will get good experience in camp.):

Bill Hamid (D.C. United)

Part of last year’s January camp, Hamid had a decent season, but hasn’t shown enough to unseat Nick Rimando.

Key 2013 Stats: Hamid had a 1.56 GAA and 67% save percentage in 25 games for D.C.

Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire)

Similar to Hamid, had a decent year after being a part of last year’s January camp, but is unlikely to beat out Rimando.

Key 2013 Stats: Made two starts for the U.S. without conceding a goal in either. Johnson had a 1.39 GAA and 70% save percentage in 28 games for the fire.

Tally Hall (Houston Dynamo)

Hall helped lead Houston to a solid season and playoff run after the January camp, but also is unlikely to beat out Rimando.

Key 2013 Stats: Hall had a 1.21 GAA and 67% save percentage in 34 games for the Dynamo.


The X-Factors (These players have club situations that may or may not allow them to take part in the January camp.):

Juan Agudelo (Out of Contract – Forward)

After an impressive season with the Revolution in which he led the club on a surprise run to the playoffs, Agudelo is currently without a team after his work permit was denied for a move to Stoke. Agudelo has been linked to other clubs in Europe, but if he is still a free agent come the end of January, he’d be a great addition to the camp.

Key 2013 Stats: Agudelo made 1 appearance for the U.S. The 21-year-old had 9 goals and 2 assists for the Revolution and Chivas USA, despite playing just 20 games due to injuries.

Maurice Edu (Stoke City F.C. – Midfielder/Defender)

Edu – an experienced central midfielder/defender for the U.S. – continues to be left out of the gameday 18 at Stoke and the club could be willing to allow Edu to join the January camp as he does not appear to be a part of their plans this season. A loan move for Edu to another club would likely end any chance of a January call-up.

Key 2013 Stats: Edu appeared in 3 matches for the U.S. He made 11 appearances for Turkey’s Bursaspor last season, but has yet to appear for Stoke’s first team this year.

Brek Shea (Stoke City F.C. – Midfielder)

Shea once again looked to be the ultimate supersub for the U.S. in 2013, but hasn’t broken into the line-up for Stoke. Stoke may wish to continue to develop Shea this season, but if he’s not part of the club’s plans this year and isn’t set for a loan, he may be available for the U.S. Shea looked to be a part of the U.S.

Key 2013 Stats: Shea appeared in 10 games (2 starts) for the U.S., scoring 2 goals. Shea has appeared in 1 Premier League match and 2 League Cup games for Stoke, but hasn’t made the gameday 18 since November.

Michael Parkhurst (FC Augsburg – Defender)

Parkhurst looked to be earning a spot as depth at right back for the U.S., but his lack of playing time at Augsburg in Germany is hurting his chances. If Parkhurst doesn’t break into the team soon, he may be available for the U.S. for the January camp.

Key 2013 Stats: Parkhurst appeared in 8 games (6 starts) recording an assist for the U.S. Parkhurst hasn’t appeared for Augsburg since February.

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About Sean Donahue

Sean Donahue has been covering the New England Revolution since 2002 for various publications. He has covered four MLS Cups, in addition to covering various international matches, including World Cup Qualifying and the CONCACAF Gold Cup. He has done freelance work for the AP and ESPN Boston. Sean hosted Revolution Recap, a weekly radio program covering the New England Revolution and U.S. Men's National Team from 2005-2008. He is a member of the North American Soccer Reporters. Sean can be reached at nesoccertoday@gmail.com or followed on twitter @SeanLDonahue