American Top 40: Projecting Klinsmann’s 2014 World Cup roster, 6th edition

Jozy Altidore encounters resistance from Newcastle's Mike Williamson Cheick Tiote in Sunderland's 3-0 victory at St. James' Park. (By Ian MacNicol -- Agence France-Presse)
Jozy Altidore encounters resistance from Newcastle’s Mike Williamson and Cheick Tiote in Sunderland’s 3-0 victory at St. James’ Park. (By Ian MacNicol — Agence France-Presse)

With Juergen Klinsmann weighing World Cup roster options, the Insider’s weekly roundup examines U.S. players in contention for a ticket to Brazil this summer. I call it “American Top 40″ – 40 candidates for the 23 coveted World Cup slots.

Using a positional breakdown, I’ve created a depth chart of sorts. Keep in mind several players serve hybrid roles. The projections also take into account Klinsmann’s preferred 4-2-3-1 formation.

The latest: A mostly MLS U.S. squad defeated South Korea, 2-0, at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. The next friendly (at Ukraine) falls on the March 5 FIFA fixture date and will feature a blend of European, MLS and Mexican based call-ups. … Awaiting word on a proposed U.S.-Mexico friendly in early April (not a fixture date) in the Phoenix area. … ESPN.com reported the first send-off match will take place in late May at Stanford Stadium in northern California. Sports Illustrated identified Red Bull Arena for the second game, in early June, and a South Florida venue is widely expected to host the June 7 finale. The opponents are close to being finalized. … Brek Shea‘s loan to Barnsley from Stoke City was extended through April 3. … As expected, minutes-starved Maurice Edu landed in Philadelphia. … Starting at Sheffield Wednesday, Oguchi Onyewu is threatening to re-enter the mix. … Seeking employment (but out of the World Cup picture), Freddy Adu is on trial with Blackpool in England’s second tier.

Changes: Michael Parkhurst overtakes inactive Steve Cherundolo (sore knee, few appearances on active roster this season) for a spot on the backline, while Chris Wondolowski‘s two-goal performance against South Korea lifts him past Herculez Gomez for a contending role.

Eye on: Reading’s Daniel Williams has become a full-time starter and scored his first league goal Saturday.

Our latest 23 on course for Brazil (and how they fared the past week), plus the 17 seeking to unseat them:

GOALKEEPERS

  1. Tim Howard (Everton): 90 in 2-1 victory over Aston Villa. Next: at Spurs on Sunday.
  2. Brad Guzan (Aston Villa): 90 in 2-1 loss at Everton. Next: West Ham on Saturday.
  3. Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake): 90 in 2-0 victory over South Korea. Next: MLS preseason.

DEFENDERS

Center back

  1. Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City): 62 in 2-0 victory over South Korea. Next: MLS preseason.
  2. Omar Gonzalez (Los Angeles Galaxy): 90 in 2-0 victory over South Korea. Next: MLS preseason.
  3. Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes): 28 in 2-0 victory over South Korea. Next: MLS preseason.

— Contenders —

Michael Orozco (Puebla): 90 in 1-0 victory over Veracruz. Next: at San Luis in Copa MX on Thursday, Chivas on Sunday.

John Brooks (Hertha Berlin): not in the 18 for 3-1 loss to Nurnberg. Next: at Hamburg on Saturday.

Tim Ream (Bolton): 90 in 1-0 loss at Ipswich Town. Next: Bournemouth on Saturday.

Right back

  1. Geoff Cameron (Stoke City): 90 in 2-1 victory over Manchester United. Next: at Southampton on Saturday.
  2. Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders): 74 in 2-0 victory over South Korea. Next: MLS preseason.
  3. Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew): 90 at left back in 2-0 victory over South Korea. Next: MLS preseason.

— Contenders —

Steve Cherundolo (Hannover): not in the 18 for 3-1 victory over Moenchengladbach. Next: at Schalke on Sunday.

Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest): not in the 18 for 3-1 victory over Yeovil Town. Next: at Preston North End in FA Cup on Wednesday, at Blackpool on Saturday.

Timothy Chandler (Nurnberg): 90 in 3-1 victory at Hertha Berlin. Next: Bayern Munich on Saturday.

Left back

  1. Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim): in the 18, did not play (hand injury) in 3-0 victory over Hamburg. Next: at Freiburg on Saturday.
  2. DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla): 90 in 1-0 victory over Veracruz. Next: at San Luis in Copa MX on Thursday, Chivas on Sunday.

— Contenders —

Edgar Castillo (Tijuana): 90 in 3-0 loss at Pumas. Next: at Merida in Copa MX on Wednesday, at Leon on Saturday.

MIDFIELDERS

Defensive

  1. Michael Bradley (Toronto FC): MLS preseason.
  2. Jermaine Jones (Besiktas): Just signed. Next: at Gaziantepspor on Friday.
  3. Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake): 90 in 2-0 victory over South Korea. Next: MLS preseason.

— Contenders —

Daniel Williams (Reading): 90 (goal in 76th) in 3-0 victory at Millwall. Next: Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.

Maurice Edu (Philadelphia Union): MLS preseason.

Left side

  1. Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy): 90 in 2-0 victory over South Korea. Next: MLS preseason.
  2. Eddie Johnson (D.C. United): 28 in 2-0 victory over South Korea. Next: MLS preseason.

— Contenders —

Brek Shea (Stoke City, on loan to Barnsley): 90 in 1-0 loss at Sheffield Wednesday. Next: at Reading on Saturday.

Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo): 75 in 2-0 victory over South Korea. Next: MLS preseason.

Jose Torres (Tigres): 4 in 0-0 draw at Monterrey. Next: Correcaminos in Copa MX on Tuesday, Santos Laguna on Saturday.

Right side

  1. Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City): 81 in 2-0 victory over South Korea. Next: MLS preseason.
  2. Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes): 62 in 1-0 loss at Sochaux. Next: PSG in French League Cup on Tuesday, Lyon on Sunday.

— Contenders —

Joe Corona (Tijuana): not in the 18 (ankle injury) for 3-0 loss at Pumas. Next: at Merida in Copa MX on Wednesday, at Leon on Saturday.

Central

  1. Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders, loan to Fulham): last 25 in 3-0 loss to Southampton. Next: Sheffield United in FA Cup on Tuesday, at Manchester United on Sunday.
  2. Mikkel Diskerud (Rosenborg): 62 in 2-0 victory over South Korea. Next: Norway preseason.

— Contenders —

Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht): in the 18, did not play in 2-0 loss at Lierse. Next: at Kortrijk on Saturday.

Stuart Holden (Bolton): Late stages of rehabilitation for knee injury. Trained with U.S. squad in Los Angeles. Sentimental choice remains longshot for Brazil.

FORWARDS

  1. Jozy Altidore (Sunderland): 90 in 3-0 victory at Newcastle. Next: Hull City on Saturday.
  2. Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar): 90 in 2-0 victory over Groningen. Next: at Vitesse on Tuesday, at Go Ahead Eagles on Saturday.
  3. Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna): Austria preseason. Next: at Admira on Feb. 14. (Serving red card suspension next weekend.)

— Contenders —

Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes): 62 (goals in 4th and 60th) in 2-0 victory over South Korea. Next: MLS preseason.

Herculez Gomez (Tijuana): 74 in 3-0 loss at Pumas. Next: at Merida in Copa MX on Wednesday, at Leon on Saturday.

Steven Goff is The Post’s soccer writer. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the international game, as well as local college basketball.
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