USMNT Team of the Decade: Donovan and Pulisic brought together

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With 2020 approaching, Goal has decided to pick out the best players to have played for the national team over the past 10 years

  1. GK: Tim Howard
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    GK: Tim Howard

    July 1, 2014 was not the day that Tim Howard sealed his place in USMNT history; his legacy was secure, even before then. But still, it was the day that defined his legend, a performance that fans all over the world will never forget.

    Howard's 16-save performance against Belgium remains one of the best in World Cup history, as the goalkeeper etched his name in the record books with the game of a lifetime. It was a career-defining moment for a player that has had so many of them, as he sealed his place among predecessors like Kasey Keller, Brad Friedel and Tony Meola.

    A starter at the USMNT's two World Cups this decade, Howard's heroics make him an easy choice for this team's goalkeeping spot.

  2. RB: Steve Cherundolo
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    RB: Steve Cherundolo

    Steve Cherundolo was only active for the first two years of this decade, but the best fullback the USMNT has ever seen still earned his spot on this list thanks to his efforts at the start of the qualifying period.

    A member of the USMNT from 1999-2012, Cherundolo was a fixture for the U.S. at the 2010 World Cup, starting all three group games as well as the knockout stage defeat to Ghana. The long-time Hannover defender played every minute for the USMNT in South Africa, assisting Landon Donovan in the group-stage draw with Slovenia.

    'Dolo' went on to feature at the 2011 Gold Cup as well playing each and every minute through to that finale. In that final defeat against Mexico, Cherundolo was forced out just 11 minutes in after setting up a Michael Bradley goal three minutes prior.

  3. CB: John Brooks
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    CB: John Brooks

    In some ways, John Brooks' USMNT career still feels like a major case of 'what if?', but that does not take away from the fact that the Wolfsburg defender is the most talented centerback of the decade.

    Brooks announced himself onto the scene just before the 2014 World Cup before his big moment came in the group stage opener. With time dwindling and the U.S. in need of a goal, the Berlin-born defender stepped up to head home the goal of a lifetime, salvaging a draw against Ghana.

    While that would prove his big World Cup highlight, his best efforts came in the Copa America two years later, as Brooks put together a series of standout performances against South America's best to solidify his place as the USMNT's best defender.

    Had he avoided the injury bug throughout the past few years, that status would be all the more secure but, even with a new generation coming in, Brooks remains a USMNT fixture when healthy.

  4. CB: Geoff Cameron
    Mark J. Rebilas

    CB: Geoff Cameron

    Whenever the U.S. needed to plug a hole on the backline, Geoff Cameron was the guy to do it.

    The former Stoke City defender broke through under Jurgen Klinsmann, featuring as a centerback, right back and even defensive midfielder at times. But it was in the center of defense where Cameron was at his best, as he started the first two games of the 2014 World Cup as a central defender before starting every game of the 2016 Copa America.

    Cameron's versatility was vital for the USMNT throughout the latter half of the decade, despite the fact he never featured at a Gold Cup.

  5. LB: DaMarcus Beasley

    LB: DaMarcus Beasley

    Are we entirely sure that DaMarcus Beasley will not be in the squad by the time the 2022 World Cup rolls around?

    The ageless USMNT star has reinvented himself countless times, with his final run with the national team seeing him turn into a reliable left back. After making just one substitute appearance in 2010 under Bob Bradley, Beasley was able to burst onto the scene again by 2014, starting all four games for the U.S. while becoming the first American to play at four World Cups.

    Beasley was a part of the team all the way through 2017, as he also became the first American to play in five qualifying cycles. He recently announced his retirement from the game, as he steps away this time seemingly for good, ending one of the most decorated and under-appreciated careers in USMNT history.

  6. CM: Jermaine Jones

    CM: Jermaine Jones

    Jermaine Jones' peak was unlike anything most USMNT fans had ever seen.

    In his prime, the midfielder was as dynamic, fiery and outright good as any USMNT player in the pool, as the German-born midfielder became an absolute menace in the center of the field. This was best exemplified by his run through the 2014 World Cup, which included a stunning goal against Portugal and a number of fantastic do-it-all performances in midfield.

    His run continued through the 2016 Copa America, where he was arguably the USMNT's best player during their run to a fourth-place finish.

  7. CM: Michael Bradley
    Pedro Pardo

    CM: Michael Bradley

    In recent years, Michael Bradley has been one of several players scapegoated for the failures of the 2018 World Cup cycle, but the do-it-all midfielder's USMNT career, when viewed in total, has been very, very good.

    A key player in South Africa in 2010, Bradley started all four matches, scoring against Slovenia in the group stage. He remained a key fixture in the years to follow as his father, Bob Bradley, was replaced by Jurgen Klinsmann, who never truly figured out how to best utilize Bradley's skillset from the 2014 World Cup onward.

    Bradley served as captain for large chunks of his tenure, helping lead the USMNT to some memorable moments such as his now-famous finish at the Azteca.

    He may never be able to redeem himself in the eyes of a select group of USMNT fans but, by and large, Bradley has been a strong servant to the national team throughout the entire decade. 

  8. CM: Clint Dempsey
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    CM: Clint Dempsey

    Clint Dempsey may not be the most talented or physically-gifted player the U.S. has ever produced, but he might just be remembered as the best.

    No player has pushed himself harder than the Texan, who scored in each of the three World Cups he played in, with perhaps his most memorable coming just 39 seconds into the group-opening clash with Ghana in 2014. He ended his national team career tied with Landon Donovan for most career USMNT goals with 57.

    But Dempsey will not just be remembered for his goals, although there were a lot of them. He will be remembered for exemplifying everything fans looked for in a USMNT player: hard-work, flair, competitiveness and a bit of attitude.

  9. FW: Christian Pulisic

    FW: Christian Pulisic

    His time has been brief, but Christian Pulisic is now the unquestioned face of the USMNT.

    Perhaps the most talented player the U.S. has ever produced, Pulisic burst onto the scene with Borussia Dortmund and was rapidly fast-tracked into the national team. He played a bit-part role during the Copa America before truly emerging as the lone bright spot in 2018 World Cup qualifying.

    Pulisic became the youngest USMNT player to score in the modern era, the youngest American player to score a brace, the youngest player to captain the U.S. and the youngest American player to score in World Cup qualifying. With 13 goals to his name in just 32 caps, it is safe to assume those will not be the only records he sets before his time is up.

  10. FW: Jozy Altidore

    FW: Jozy Altidore

    Jozy Altidore has seemingly been bit by the injury bug at every inopportune time possible, but the Toronto FC forward has still done more than enough to seal his place among the greats.

    Altidore has been on just about every USMNT squad since the start of the decade, earning 115 total caps since making his debut in 2007.

    His World Cup performances have been more frustrating than anything, having been held scoreless in 2010 before picking up an injury just moments into the 2014 tournament. It's easy to wonder just how different that run in Brazil could have been with a healthy Altidore, who had come into his own with eight goals in 2013.

    In total, Altidore has scored 42 times for the national team and, at just 29 years old, seems he'll have one more cycle to chase World Cup glory and the USMNT goals record.

  11. FW: Landon Donovan
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    FW: Landon Donovan

    "Donovan has scored! Oh, can you believe this? Go, go, USA!"

    With those famous words, Landon Donovan created the moment of a lifetime more than a decade after making his USMNT debut. The forward's goal against Algeria sealed the USMNT's place in the 2010 World Cup knockout rounds, furthering the legend of a player that would go down tied with teammate Clint Dempsey as the USMNT's all-time leading scorer.

    The end of Donovan's national team career was unceremonious, as he was infamously left off the 2014 squad by Jurgen Klinsmann, but Donovan's legacy as an all-time great is more than secure.

  12. Honorable Mentions
    Logan Bowles

    Honorable Mentions

    While the USMNT's forward pool was largely set through the better part of the decade, there have been a number of standout midfielders and defenders that did not make the cut.

    Fabian Johnson is one player that is worth mentioning at both positions, as the Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder's versatility was vital both in the midfield and at fullback throughout his USMNT tenure. 

    In defense, Matt Besler has claimed two Gold Cup titles while featuring at the 2014 World Cup while DeAndre Yedlin's breakout effort against Beligium in Brazil and subsequent rise made him one of the first names on the team sheet for several years.

    Carlos Bocanegra and Oguchi Onyewu were also pivotal throughout the first few years of the decade.

  13. How they line up

    How they line up

    So, there you have it, our USMNT Team of the Decade!

    But what do you make of our selections? Are there any glaring omissions, in your opinion?

    Post your thoughts – and your own line-ups – in the comments...