Aron Johannsson (USSF photo) Aron Johannsson (USSF photo)

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

Using a positional breakdown, we’ve created a depth chart of sorts. Keep in mind several players serve hybrid roles. (Fabian Johnson at left back in the World Cup with Landon Donovan starting on the left wing? Geoff Cameron moving to the middle and Brad Evans or Steve Cherundolo starting in Brazil?)

The projections also take into account Klinsmann’s preferred 4-2-3-1 formation.

The latest: The MLS-loaded national team continues training in Brazil before a return to Los Angeles ahead of a Feb. 1 friendly against South Korea at StubHub Center (5 p.m. ET, ESPN2, UniMas). … The USSF finalized a March 5 friendly (FIFA fixture date) at Ukraine and plans to schedule three home friendlies between May 26 and June 7. … With his 12th Eredivisie goal and 19th overall in 30 matches, Aron Johannsson continues to set the pace for American scorers abroad. Could he challenge Jozy Altidore (two goals in 26 matches across all competitions) for the top role on the national team? Probably not. Altidore serves on a poor side with insufficient service and remains in a league of higher caliber. … Defender Oguchi Onyewu made his Sheffield Wednesday debut, going 90 minutes in a 1-1 draw at second-place Burnley. With regular starts and quality play, he could return to the national team conversation. … Forward Juan Agudelo, who signed with Stoke City, will go on loan to Dutch side Utrecht.

Changes: None. However, unless a loan or transfer is completed, Maurice Edu will fall off the list soon. Bolton’s wretched performance against Reading did not help Tim Ream’s case. Stuart Holden has little hope of remaining in contention.

Eye On: Onyewu, Benny Feilhaber and Bayern Munich’s 18-year-old forward Julian Green.

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


  1. Tim Howard (Everton): No matches the past week. Next: at West Brom on Monday (3 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network), at Stevenage in FA Cup on Saturday.
  2. Brad Guzan (Aston Villa): 90 in 2-2 draw at Liverpool. Next: West Brom on Jan. 29.
  3. Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake): U.S. training camp.


Center back

  1. Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City): U.S. training camp.
  2. Omar Gonzalez (Los Angeles Galaxy): U.S. training camp.
  3. Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes): U.S. training camp.

— Contenders —

Michael Orozco (Puebla): 90 in 0-0 draw at Santos Laguna. Next: Correcaminos on Tuesday in Copa MX, Chiapas on Sunday.

John Brooks (Hertha Berlin): Winter break. Next: at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.

Tim Ream (Bolton): 90 in 7-1 loss at Reading. Next: Cardiff City in FA Cup on Saturday.

Right back

  1. Geoff Cameron (Stoke City): 90 in 1-0 loss at Crystal Palace. Next: at Chelsea in FA Cup on Sunday.
  2. Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders): U.S. training camp.
  3. Steve Cherundolo (Hannover): Winter break. Next: at Wolfsburg on Saturday.

— Contenders —

Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew): MLS training camp opens next weekend.

Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest): not in the 18 (injured) for 4-1 victory over Blackburn. Next: Preston in FA Cup on Friday.

Timothy Chandler (Nurnberg): Winter break. Next: Hoffenheim on Saturday.

Left back

  1. DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla): 65 in 0-0 draw at Santos Laguna. Next:  Correcaminos on Tuesday in Copa MX, Chiapas on Sunday.

— Contenders —

Edgar Castillo (Tijuana): 83 in 2-1 loss at Pachuca. Next: Morelia on Friday.



  1. Michael Bradley (Toronto FC): MLS training camp opens next weekend.
  2. Jermaine Jones (Schalke): Winter break, awaiting transfer.
  3. Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake): U.S. training camp.

— Contenders —

Daniel Williams (Reading): 90 in 7-1 victory over Bolton. Next: at Ipswich Town on Saturday.

Maurice Edu (Stoke City): MLS has so far balked at the cost of acquiring Edu for Philadelphia.

Left side

  1. Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim): Winter break. Next: at Nurnberg on Saturday.
  2. Eddie Johnson (D.C. United): U.S. training camp.

— Contenders —

Brek Shea (Stoke City, on loan to Barnsley): 77 in 2-0 victory over Blackpool. Next: Blackburn on Jan. 28.

Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo): U.S. training camp.

Jose Torres (Tigres): 33 in 2-0 loss at Morelia. Next: San Luis in Copa MX on Wednesday, Pumas on Saturday.

Right side

  1. Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City): U.S. training camp.
  2. Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy): U.S. training camp.
  3. Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes): last 60 in 5-0 loss at PSG. Next: Reims on Saturday.

— Contenders —

Joe Corona (Tijuana): 13 in 2-1 loss at Pachuca. Next: Morelia on Friday.


  1. Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders, loan to Fulham): 90 in 2-0 loss at Arsenal. Next: at Sheffield United in FA Cup on Saturday.
  2. Mikkel Diskerud (Rosenborg): U.S. training camp.

— Contenders —

Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht): last 45 in 2-1 loss at Mechelen. Next: Club Brugge on Sunday.

Former D.C. United homegrown Andy Najar (Honduras) scored in the 2nd minute — his first Anderlecht goal.

Stuart Holden (Bolton): Late stages of rehabilitation for knee injury suffered last summer. Sentimental choice remains longshot for Brazil.

AZ NAC Johannsson by goalsandmore


  1. Jozy Altidore (Sunderland): 72 in 2-2 draw with Southampton. Next: Manchester United in 2nd leg of League Cup semifinals Wednesday, Kidderminster in FA Cup on Saturday.
  2. Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar): 90 (goal in 1st-half stoppage time) in 3-0 victory over NAC Breda. Next: at Roda in Dutch Cup on Tuesday, at PSV Eindhoven on Saturday.
  3. Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna): Winter break. Next: at Admira on Feb. 14. (Serving red card suspension Feb. 7.)

— Contenders —

Herculez Gomez (Tijuana): 90 in 2-1 loss at Pachuca. Next:  Morelia on Friday.

Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes): U.S. training camp.