Jurgen Klinsmann has narrowed down his roster choices for this summer's Copa America Centenario to 40 after handing in a preliminary list of players on Sunday. As with any roster release, there are players who many thought deserved to be called up only to be left out and there are players who were called up that most believe shouldn't have.
Let's go through each level of the field, from Goalkeepers to Forwards, and point out the strongest piece of narrative surrounding the group called in and our biggest complaint with who wasn't:
Goalkeepers: David Bingham, Brad Guzan, Tim Howard, Ethan Horvath, Nick Rimando
Biggest Talking Point: Who is the guy? For the last 8 months, Tim Howard and Brad Guzan have platooned as the starting goalkeeper. Can that possibly go on through the Copa America? I can't recall any respected national team going into a major tournament with a platoon at their goalkeeper spot. For random World Cup qualifiers and friendlies, that idea is fine. But during a tournament you need some type of consistency. The problem is that neither one has done anything to prove they deserve the job. A starter will need to be decided on during the three pre-tournament friendlies unless Klinsmann is really bold enough to continue the platoon during the Copa too.
Biggest Gripe: Nick Rimando is a great guy and will go down as one of the best MLS goalkeepers of all-time. But his inclusion on the roster over a young up-and-coming keeper like William Yarbrough is a little perplexing considering that neither will likely play any minutes. Why not give the younger player some valuable experience? It's not like this group is lacking in veteran experience. It would've been a good opportunity for the Club Leon No. 1 to learn and grow for the future.
Defenders: Kellyn Acosta, Ventura Alvarado, Matt Besler, Steve Birnbaum, John Brooks, Geoff Cameron, Edgar Castillo, Timmy Chandler, Brad Evans, Omar Gonzalez, Eric Lichaj, Matt Miazga, Michael Orozco, Tim Ream, DeAndre Yedlin
Biggest Talking Point: When's the last time the USMNT started the same back four in a match? It seems like every time a new lineup is announced we're left scratching our heads at the back line and wondering how they'll be able to keep the goal safe. It's not fair to blame Klinsmann for this either. Part of it is because none of the American defenders have made the positions theirs. They perform admirably one game and then turn around and have a shocker the next. The inconsistency that lies within the selection of the back line is usually forced by injury or performances. It would be nice to finally see a consistent and steady back four decided on before this tournament starts.
Biggest Gripe: The lack of left back options is concerning. Eric Lichaj, Tim Ream, and Timmy Chandler can all play there in a pinch and Edgar Castillo played there in the last two qualifiers. Still, having someone like Jorge Villafana, who has been in fantastic form over the past 18 months, on the roster would be reassuring. Klinsmann's fascination with Castillo and ignoring of Villafana is a little confusing. The latter has excellent technical quality for a fullback and would be a fine addition to this team.
Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman, Alejandro Bedoya, Michael Bradley, Mix Diskerud, Fabian Johnson, Jermaine Jones, Perry Kitchen, Alfredo Morales, Darlington Nagbe, Lee Nguyen, Danny Williams, Graham Zusi
Biggest Talking Point: Where is the creativity going to come from? Michael Bradley has played the de facto role of creator for the national team the past two years with varying degrees of results. Jermaine Jones has been pushed up into the same role for his club. Then you have Bedoya, Nagbe, and Nguyen who can all provide some spark in the attack. Will it be business as usual with Bradley leaned on as the creative force? Or will Klinsmann decide to shake things up with some other alignment and strategy and allow Bradley to shift back into his more comfortable holding role?
Biggest Gripe: As talented as this group is, getting to see one of the numerous promising prospects on the horizon would've been a treat. Gedion Zelalem, Emerson Hyndman, or Wil Trapp would've been a nice addition over someone like Mix Diskerud who can't even start for a Frank Lampard-less NYCFC currently. We love Mix, but it's hard to see why he's still in consideration at this rate. Giving one of the younger players some experience and a closer look would've made more sense.
Forwards: Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey, Ethan Finlay, Jordan Morris, Christian Pulisic, Chris Wondolowski, Bobby Wood, Gyasi Zardes
Biggest Talking Point: Christian Pulisic (goal) and Jordan Morris (goal) both scored goals again this past weekend, marking the third straight week they've done so. Both are primed to play big parts for the team this summer. It'll be very interesting to see which one is relied on by Klinsmann in high-pressure situations and which one can handle it the best. It's no secret this team needs dynamic attacking talent in the worst way. These two youngsters are the most promising candidates for the future. This summer should tell us what they can offer the team going forward.
Biggest Gripe: Honestly, the forward pool is so thin right now that every deserving candidate got the call. I guess our gripe is that there needs to be more pressure put on Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey as the two main goal threats on this team. Neither have to worry much about their spots on the team or in the lineup. Someone like Bobby Wood or Gyasi Zardes need to start producing at the international level to give the two veterans something to think about.