Jurgen's team: Projecting the U.S. 23-man CONCACAF Cup squad

With rosters due the first day of October, Goal's Ives Galarcep takes a look at who U.S. coach Klinsmann will call up for the playoff final.

Jurgen Klinsmann probably wishes he had a much tougher job cutting down from 35 players to 23 for the U.S. team's CONCACAF Cup roster, but the reality is the coach's options are pretty clear.

We all know Klinsmann's goalkeeper options, and his preferred midfielders and which forwards are in form right now. Even the picture along the backline has cleared up thanks to the return to action of Fabian Johnson and DaMarcus Beasley.

MORE: Projecting Mexico's 23-man roster

A wealth of options in central midfield could make for some tough cuts for Klinsmann, who may have no choice but to leave at least one of his favorite midfielders out. Could we see Mix Diskerud lose his place? Has Danny Williams done enough to force his way into a roster spot? Might Klinsmann give Lee Nguyen a look even though he hasn't seemed to rate the New England playmaker all that highly based on the lack of opportunities he has had?

The real drama will begin when Klinsmann starts to chisel in his starting lineup to face Mexico. Even that picture seems to be coming into focus, especially if John Brooks is ultimately ruled out due to a thigh injury that has kept him out of action for the past month. Geoff Cameron's continued strong play for Stoke City could wind up forcing Klinsmann into playing him in central defense, while Matt Besler and Tim Ream give Klinsmann some good options at left center back in place of the injured Brooks, who Klinsmann has shown a preference for when healthy.

Here is a look at the 23 players we see Klinsmann taking to the Rose Bowl, and the 12 players who will miss out:


Klinsmann has already stated that Guzan is his starter, and you can understand the commitment even though most would argue Tim Howard is in better form. The only real question in this group is whether Klinsmann goes with Nick Rimando or Bill Hamid as his third goalkeeper. He goes with the experience edge and takes Rimando.

IN: Brad Guzan, Tim Howard, Nick Rimando

OUT:  Bill Hamid


Having Fabian Johnson and DaMarcus Beasley back healthy is a huge boost for Klinsmann's defense, especially given the injury issues at fullback. With Greg Garza already sidelined due to surgery, Klinsmann is left with fewer options. Jonathan Spector loses out to Brad Evans for the final fullback spot.

In central defense, Brooks has been sidelined by an injury suffered during the September friendlies, and should be left out, which makes the rest of the decisions easier. Ream gives Klinsmann depth at left back and left center back, which makes leaving Brooks out an easier decision. Michael Orozco would be a worthy bench option and has had success against Mexico before, but it's tough to see him edging out any of the other options.

IN: Ventura Alvarado, DaMarcus Beasley, Matt Besler, Geoff Cameron, Brad Evans, Omar Gonzalez, Tim Ream, DeAndre Yedlin

OUT:  Greg Garza, Jonathan Spector, John Brooks, Michael Orozco


Klinsmann's toughest decision will come in midfield, where he may drop a quality central midfielder to give himself some more wing depth. If we are thinking solely of Klinsmann's usual preferences, then his midfield group would feature five central midfielders, with only three wingers. Even though DeAndre Yedlin offers wing depth that still seems flimsy, especially since Johnson is expected to play at right back.

Does Klinsmann drop Danny Williams and make room for someone like Graham Zusi or Joe Corona? He may have no choice if he wants to keep adequate cover on the flanks. You could certainly make the argument that Williams is in better form than Mix Diskerud, but Diskerud has done well for the U.S. before, and it's tough to see Klinsmann leaving him out for this one. Alfredo Morales shouldn't be ruled out completely. He is a regular starter in the German Bundesliga with FC Ingolstadt, though his performances with the national team haven't exactly been memorable.

And what about Lee Nguyen, who is playing extremely well for New England these days? Squeezing him in ahead of someone like Williams or Diskerud would be a good move, but not one you would expect Klinsmann to make.

IN: Kyle Beckerman, Alejandro Bedoya, Michael Bradley, Mix Diskerud, Fabian Johnson, Jermaine Jones, Danny Williams, Gyasi Zardes

OUT: Joe Corona, Alfredo Morales, Lee Nguyen, Graham Zusi


Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore remain Klinsmann's top forward options, and it does appear as though Altidore's summer swoon is behind him. The question now is whether he can deliver against Mexico.

As much as Klinsmann would probably love to bring in Jordan Morris, the reality is Morris would only be a late-game bench option and he's much more important to the U.S. Under-23 national team's quest to qualify for the Olympics. The fact that Aron Johannsson is scoring goals and Jozy Altidore is playing regularly has to make leaving Morris out an easier decision.

If there is a tossup at this spot it's for the fourth forward slot. Does Klinsmann give Chris Wondolowski a chance for redemption, or does he go with the younger option in Wood, who is scoring goals in Germany? It's really tough to tell which way Klinsmann might go, but we'll give Wondolowski the nod due to his experience edge.

Aron Johannsson did pick up a knock recently, which at this point doesn't sound serious, but if he is not available then Klinsmann could bring both Wondolowski and Wood.

IN: Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey, Aron Johansson, Chris Wondolowski

OUT: Jordan Morris, Bobby Wood, Alan Gordon