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Predicting the USMNT’s September World Cup qualifying roster

Which players should make the cut for two crucial matches?

United States v Jamaica: Final - 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The United States has a golden opportunity next month during their World Cup Qualifying matches to either make their 8th straight World Cup or miss out for the first time since 1986. The 3rd place USMNT face 2nd place Costa Rica September 1st and travel to San Pedro Sula to play 5th place Honduras September 5th. Though Costa Rica sits three points above the USMNT, the game luckily takes place at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. If the USMNT wins by three goals, they will jump to second place. The Honduras match, however, poses very different challenges. It will be away and on a tough surface. Look for Arena to rely on veterans in this match. With that in mind, here is who I think will be on the 23-man roster.

Goalkeeper (3)

Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Ethan Horvath

Howard and Guzan are virtual locks to make the roster, with each probably starting one match. Horvath beats out the likes of Bill Hamid and Sean Johnson due to his performances for Club Brugge domestically and in Champions League since he arrived last January.

Defenders (8)

DeAndre Yedlin, Graham Zusi, Jorge Villafana, DaMarcus Beasley, Geoff Cameron, Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler, Tim Ream

DeAndre Yedlin makes the team only if healthy. If he isn’t, Eric Lichaj or Timmy Chandler would probably take his spot. Graham Zusi has displayed that he deserves the back up spot, but Chandler has had a bright start to the Bundesliga. Still, Zusi should make the roster. Jorge Villafana hasn’t played to start the Liga MX Apertura season, but he seems to be Arena’s favorite left back. DaMarcusBeasley has been on a hot streak in MLS, and his veteran presence will be needed in Honduras. Geoff Cameron and Omar Gonzalez will both make the team with John Brooks injured. Cameron will probably start against Costa Rica, while Gonzalez will probably start against Honduras. Matt Besler and Tim Ream will fight for the starting spot next to the aforementioned players.

Midfielders (8)

Michael Bradley, Dax McCarty, Christian Pulisic, Darlington Nagbe, Kellyn Acosta, Paul Arriola, Alejandro Bedoya, Gyasi Zardes

Michael Bradley, Christian Pulisic, Kellyn Acosta, and Darlington Nagbe are locks. Those four will probably all start in the midfield or on the wings, whether in a 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1. Dax McCarty is there to back up Bradley, and come into close out the game at the end. Paul Arriola, fresh off his move to D.C. United, will get a place in the team due to his performances at the Gold Cup. Alejandro Bedoya’s versatility and veteran leadership will be very useful in this set of qualifiers. Gyasi Zardes only makes the roster by way of Fabian Johnson’s injury. If Johnson is healthy, add him to the locks on this roster.

Forwards (4)

Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, Bobby Wood, Jordan Morris

Jozy Altidore, Bobby Wood, and Clint Dempsey are all in fine form and all deserve a spot on this roster. Altidore will probably get the start in a one forward setup, while Wood most likely will join him in a two forward setup. In a two forward or maybe even one forward setup, Dempsey will retain his role as the supersub. Morris gets his spot in this team due to his Gold Cup performances.

Who do you want to see on the USMNT roster next month?