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Top 5 Position Battles For USMNT Leading Up To 2014 World Cup

Top 5 Position Battles For USMN Leading Up To 2014 World Cup

Jurgen Klinsmann
Kirby Lee - USATODAY Sports

The USMNT 30-man preliminary roster for the 2014 World Cup has been released, but there is still much to be decided between now and the start of the tournament next month. There are spots still up for grabs, which should create intense competition during training camp and in upcoming friendly matches. Here are the five most compelling and most important position battles leading up to the World Cup.

5. Backup Center Midfielders

maurice edu
Kirby Lee - USATODAY Sports

5. Backup Center Midfielders

maurice edu
Kirby Lee - USATODAY Sports

Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones are the starters, but the backup spots are wide open, and whoever wins those may have a chance to push Jones for a starting spot. Kyle Beckerman is probably the favorite, but Maurice Edu has played well in MLS, and he brings a physical presence and World Cup experience to the table, and there may not be room on the 23-man roster for both. Mix Diskerud could also be in the mix in the center midfield.

4. Outside Midfielders

Landon Donovan USMNT
Mark J. Rebilas - USATODAY Sports

4. Outside Midfielders

Landon Donovan USMNT
Mark J. Rebilas - USATODAY Sports

Jurgen Klinsmann could rotate these spots from game to game, but even if he does, there are a lot of candidates and limited space. Graham Zusi and Alejandro Bedoya seem like the favorites, but Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey could also see time on the outside. Then there's the presence of Brad Davis, Joe Corona, Mix Diskerud, and Julian Green, who all bring something to the table. Needless to say, there's a lot to sort through at this spot.

3. Center Back

Omar Gonzalez USAvMEX
Mark J. Rebilas - USATODAY Sports

3. Center Back

Omar Gonzalez USAvMEX
Mark J. Rebilas - USATODAY Sports

Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez have long been the starters, but defense is an issue for the U.S., and so their spots aren't secure. Clarence Goodson is a solid and reliable veteran who may be the safe choice for Jurgen Klinsmann at center back if he lacks faith in Gonzalez. Geoff Cameron is also a viable option, as is Maurice Edu, who has experience as a center back.

2. Striker

Jozy Altidore
Kirby Lee - USATODAY Sports

2. Striker

Jozy Altidore
Kirby Lee - USATODAY Sports

If Jozy Altidore is in good form, he'll likely be the starter, but after the rough season he's had in the EPL, this spot is wide open. Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, and Aron Johannsson and all options if Jurgen Klinsmann doesn't believe in Altidore, while Chris Wondolowski and Terrence Boyd have an outside shot. Bottom line: whoever is scoring goals in the friendlies leading up to the World Cup will be starting June 16 against Ghana.

1. Right Back

Brad Evans
Peter Aiken - USATODAY Sports

1. Right Back

Brad Evans
Peter Aiken - USATODAY Sports

This has been a position of uncertainty for what feels like an eternity. Brad Evans has been the primary right back for a long time, but the job is far from his. Jurgen Klinsmann put Timothy Chandler, DeAndre Yedlin, Geoff Cameron, Michael Parkhust, and Fabian Johnson on the preliminary roster as contenders at right back in hopes of finding the right player to man that position during the World Cup.