With the injury to Time Howard recently throwing a wrench in things, it provides an opportunity for Brad Guzan to step up as the USA's main man. Guzan has been in fine form with Aston Villa of late, and it's nice to have a very solid GK option to step in when an injury crisis occurs. Much like Paolo Tornaghi filling in for SJ, Guzan is capable of handling the role. However, with the Hex games being so important, as well as the fact that the USA has struggled out of the gates, the pressure level for Guzan figures to be pretty high. Here's the official release from US Soccer earlier today. For your convenience, the complete roster is as follows:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa - 5/3 SO), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire - 0/0), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake - 0/0)
DEFENDERS (6): Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake - 0/0), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City - 0/0), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City - 6/0), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy - 1/0), Clarence Goodson (Brondby - 5/0), Justin Morrow (San Jose Earthquakes - 0/0)
MIDFIELDERS (9): DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla - 26/6), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake - 2/0), Michael Bradley (Roma - 20/5), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana - 1/0), Maurice Edu (Bursaspor - 10/0), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04 - 6/0), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht - 13/0), Brek Shea (Stoke City - 2/0), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City - 4/0)
FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar - 18/6), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna - 2/0), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur - 27/11), Herculez Gomez (Santos - 6/2), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC - 12/10)
These are some pretty big games, as the US plays Costa Rica on March 22nd and then Mexico on March 26th (in Aztec Stadium no less). Looking at the roster, the defense worries me greatly. While there is talent there, our normal veterans are either hurt or not available for selection. The Americans desperately need points these two games to keep their hopes brighter. And entrusting the back line to MLS for the most part scares me somewhat. It's one thing to lock down an MLS forward and another to do it against Mexico on the international level. Here's to hoping for the best. But it's not looking good based off of those names.
It's also good to see DaMarcus beasley back in the picture. Young Joe Corona is exciting as well. Jozy has been on a tear at AZ Alkmaar, and Terrence Boyd can always be counted on to make in impact (so far at least in his young career).
Sean continues to impress and even though he likely won't see action these two games, he is still the best young option in Jurgen's eyes, as it should be. His time will come, but for now it's great that he is part of a Hex team yet again. His performance in KC Saturday probably didn't hurt either. The milkman keeps bringing the goods!