World Cup: Ranking Penalty Kick Takers for the USMNT

Ranking USMNT PK Takers

USMNT PK Takers
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On twitter today Brian Sciaretta asked what player on the USMNT would we want to have taking a penalty kick. This ranking takes that a step further. If the USMNT has to take penalty kicks in Brazil at the World Cup this is how the players should line up assuming these are the ten on the field at the end of extra time. It does not account for Tim Howard.

10. Omar Gonzalez

Omar Gonzalez
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10. Omar Gonzalez

Omar Gonzalez
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Defenders are usually at the back of the list. Omar Gonzalez is a specialist in the air, so being asked to convert with his feet may be a tall order. He does not take any PKs for the Los Angeles Galaxy. Let's hope it doesn't get this far.

9. Matt Besler

Matt Besler
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

9. Matt Besler

Matt Besler
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

See Omar Gonzalez. The only reason Matt Besler is ranked above Gonzalez is because he is more used to using his feet to get out of jams. Part of this ranking is simply a feel for confidence of a player and Besler has the edge in that category.

8. Fabian Johnson

Fabian Johnson
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

8. Fabian Johnson

Fabian Johnson
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Fabian Johnson does not usually look to goal even though he is a more offensive player. He can create if on the wing, but his position at the World Cup may be on defense. He is more of a creator than a scorer.

7. Geoff Cameron

Geoff Cameron
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7. Geoff Cameron

Geoff Cameron
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Geoff Cameron has shown the ability to be creative and also get better as the match goes on. Once again this isn't where the USMNT wants to end up, but there would still be some confidence in Cameron.

6. Graham Zusi

Graham Zusi
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

6. Graham Zusi

Graham Zusi
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Graham Zusi is more of a creative player as well but he does have the ability to score and generally from distance. Claudio Bieler has been the PK specialist for Kansas City and Zusi was not called upon at all last year in MLS, although he did have a lot of international responsibilities.

5. Aron Johannsson

Aron Johannsson
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

5. Aron Johannsson

Aron Johannsson
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Aron Johannsson scored on a penalty kick today, but it was not pretty. In Europa League action he stepped up and the goalie got both hands on it, but the spin carried it over the line, barely. Johannsson does have four PK goals in the Eredivisie and does not seem to miss there.

4. Clint Dempsey

Clint Dempsey
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4. Clint Dempsey

Clint Dempsey
Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

He did convert two PKs in the qualifying stage but one was right at a keeper. Dempsey was just lucky enough to have good spin on it so it sneaked in.

3. Jozy Altidore

Jozy Altidore
Russell Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

3. Jozy Altidore

Jozy Altidore
Russell Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Jozy Altidore's publicist Jeremy Pond responded to the Sciaretta tweet by saying that he knows someone that hasn't missed from the spot since he was around 18 years of age. Altidore is now 24 years old and has a good recent record scoring for the USMNT. However his current club form would leave some skeptical as he stepped to the spot.

2. Michael Bradley

Michael Bradley
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

2. Michael Bradley

Michael Bradley
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Bradley does not have a lot of penalty kick experience on the international level but he has confidence. He has the ability to hit the ball with an amazing amount of pace. Bradley could be the captain on this team and shows that through his play and his effective decision making. Fans would be confident to see him step to the spot.

1. Landon Donovan

Landon Donovan
Russell Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

1. Landon Donovan

Landon Donovan
Russell Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Landon Donovan has an interesting routine before a penalty kick but it works. He goes to the spot with a purpose and doesn't try to impress anyone. Donovan is 28 of 33 in penalty kicks in MLS play and has also converted all five chances in the playoffs. Dempsey should defer to Donovan in a PK situation in the World Cup.

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  • Matthew Evans

    Brad Evans is 7-for-7 with the Sounders in his career. He should be in top 6 on this list, in my opinion.