Look on the Brightside: The Pleasant Surprises Heading to Brazil

May 29, 2014

Not going to lie, it took everything in me not to write a blog post about my feelings on Donovan breaking the MLS goal scoring record days after being snubbed by Jurgen Klinsmann, but since there has been a lot of negativity surrounding recent USMNT happenings (including me with my last blog entry), I decided to write something a little more positive this week.

Sure, a few of the players left off the USA squad surprised me last week and some of the players that did make the team left me shaking my head, but after I got past the gnashing teeth part of my frustration, I decided to listen to that old piece of advice “don’t dwell on the negatives….look at all the positives!”  In all truth there are some pleasant surprises on the roster and now with a clearer mind, I am able to talk about how happy I am to see them heading to Brazil.




Let’s start with Matt Besler:

The 27 year old defender led sporting Kansas City to an MLS Cup last year after five seasons of MLS play. In 2012 he was named MLS Defender of the Year after being the key ingredient to Sporting KC’s back line, a back line that would end up being the best in the league that year.

His skills have attracted attention from European clubs such as Queens Park Rangers, but the Kansas native has continued to stay true to the club that selected him in the first round of the 2009 draft.

Personally I love that kind of loyalty and the fact that you don’t hear his name called a lot during a USMNT match isn’t such a bad thing.  He is a defender after all and the way I learned growing up? The less you heard defenders names, the better job they were doing. 

I am really happy to see Besler on the roster that is headed to Brazil. After all of his accomplishments, he deserves it.




Now how about those dreads? Kyle Beckerman:

My first time getting to see Kyle Beckerman in person was during the 2009 MLS Cup in Seattle where Real Salt Lake beat the L.A. Galaxy in a penalty shootout. I remember entering the stadium and seeing…hair….lots of hair, David Beckham’s bright yellow faux-hawk and Kyle Beckerman’s spastic dreads were the first thing my eyes focused on. However as the game started, I also saw something in person that a TV broadcast doesn’t have the ability show the audience…Kyle Beckerman works his a** off!

The 14 year MLS vet (yes he was drafted by the Miami Fusion…remember them?) became the youngest player to hit 200 games back in 2009 and that alone is a testament to how tough and dependable this midfielder is. As I stated above, he lead RSL to an MLS Cup in 2009 and has continued to be a huge part of RSL’s successes ever since. 

I am not going to lie, I am a sucker for a good story as well and the fact that Beckerman has dreamed of making a World Cup squad his whole life and after all of his accolades, he has finally made one at 32 years old is pretty awesome. A good story won’t win championships, but Beckerman’s work as a holding mid is severely underrated around the world in my opinion. I look forward to seeing the dreads in Brazil.



Now for someone who hopefully sees no time on the pitch, Nick Rimando:

You know what they say in football, right? The backup Quarterback is the most popular player on the team. Same could be said for the backup goalkeeper on a soccer team as well, I suppose.

Nick Rimando may seem like an odd player to include in this article, but as someone who has played GK (very, very, VERY low level), I have a bit of a soft spot for keepers and few will argue that no matter how young the United States is as a soccer nation, we have always seemed to supply the world with some stellar goalkeeping throughout the years. I personally have no clue what this phenomenon is all about, but that’s for a different time.  Anyways, so yeah, although I hope Rimando sees no action in Brazil (unless it’s because we have blown past Ghana and Portugal and are playing our B-squad in the match against Germany), I am still happy to see this always exciting keeper make the trip to Brazil.

He’s not the typical body type we’re used to seeing between the pipes, but I have had the pleasure of watching him in person on several occasions and he always seems to be phenomenal. It seems crazy that talent like Bill Hamid, Sean Johnson and Rimando may never see a World Cup start in their careers (if only we had that depth in every position), but if the beast that is Tim Howard ever needs a fill in? I would feel nearly as safe with Rimando getting the call.



Finally, Chris Wondolowski:

 I know the CONCACAF Gold Cup can sometimes give us a false picture of how the USMNT should actually be structured, but after his performance at said Gold Cup, I can’t look past the natural goal scoring talent that Chris Wondolowski possesses. 

Sure some may call him a poacher and there may be some truth to that. Others tell me he will sit on the bench for the majority of the 2014 World Cup and that may be true as well, but we all know the significance “Super Subs” have had in the World Cup in past tournaments, so is that such a bad thing?

In the USMNT’s recent tune-up match against Azerbaijan, “Wondo” was all over the goal in the first half and I have little doubt that if he hadn’t been subbed to give some of the youngster’s a chance; there is a good possibility he would have made it onto the score sheet, not once, but multiple times in the second half.  He was huge in our friendly against Mexico earlier this year and is just flat out fun to watch.

If Wondo would have been snubbed from this roster, it personally would have been a huge disappointment to me.  I am really excited to see what the Danville, CA native can do in Brazil and you should be to.

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