Olympic Roster Mock: Who should Porter bring to London?

2012 Olympic mock roster

Photo Credit: 
Illustration by MLSsoccer.com

A little more than a week from now, Caleb Porter and his U-23 national team side will gather in Frisco, Texas, for a friendly on Feb. 29 against Mexico's U-23 squad – a match pitting the prohibitive Olympic favorites – at FC Dallas Stadium.

That game and the camp that precedes it will serve as the final run through for Porter and his young charges before the Olympic qualifying campaign begins in earnest on March 22 against Cuba in Nashville, Tenn. It will also be one of the final opportunities for Porter's group of London hopefuls to impress their manager in the hopes of boarding a plane to England in the summer.

The biggest question though, assuming the US men qualify for their 14th Olympic Games, of course, is which players currently have the inside track for a spot on the 18-man roster that Porter will bring with him to London. In other words, who are the 2012 versions of Michael Bradley, Stuart Holden, Sacha Kljestan and Jozy Altidore?

That's where MLSsoccer.com's Greg Seltzer and Travis Clark come in. We asked both to come up with the 18 players and four alternates, including a maximum of three overage selections, that they would take to London if the Olympic games started today. The task was more difficult than they ever imagined, but cuts were made and depth charts pored over to come up with the squads you see below.

Greg Seltzer

GOALKEEPERS

Bill Hamid (D.C. United)

We have two MLS prodigies not needed yet with the senior team. I say have 'em fight it out for the seasoning.

Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire)

Not everyone agrees with me on this tough call, but I'd tab the Fire man as our Olympic starter.

DEFENDERS

Geoff Cameron* (Houston Dynamo)

The Dynamo ace can gain needed international experience providing spine size and skill.

Perry Kitchen (D.C. United)

Every tourney team needs a defensive handyman. This one sets the utmost training example.

Alfredo Morales (Hertha Berlin)

Now getting Bundesliga starts at right back, here's another player Klinsi might like to gain season in London.

Danny Potts (West Ham)

Reality: The England-eligible left back buzzer may not accept this cap-tying invite, in London of all places. But I'd certainly offer and sell it.

Tim Ream* (Bolton)

He's not yet ready for USMNT prime time, and thus, the perfect choice to fill a center back need.

Zarek Valentin (Montreal Impact)

A solid backup for the two right-half posts in defense that I believe could also find his way in a pinch at the left pair.

MIDFIELDERS

Freddy Adu (Philadelphia Union)

The Olympic fire must still burn after missing the final group game in 2008 through suspension. Freddinho usually performs in these tourneys.

Mikkel Diskerud (Gent)

A clean player on both sides of the ball, Mix deserves his dream come true as a starting No. 8 that plays like an auxiliary No. 10.

Dilly Duka (Columbus Crew)

Every tourney coach needs a versatile, tough midfielder with attack and set-piece capability for his bench.

Amobi Okugo (Philadelphia Union)

The Union midfielder's balance is so good he's like a hover-bot sent to destroy opposing rushes.

Daniel Williams (Hoffenheim)

Another one for the Klinsi zone — a promising deep position youngster who could grow plenty this summer instead of battling for senior side minutes in early qualifying.

ATTACKERS

Joe Corona (Club Tijuana)

The Tijuana energy source plugs anywhere in attack except center forward. Tired defenders don't like him.

Josh Gatt (Molde)

One day, you'll all remember this as the summer you realized exactly how excited to be about this utter wing terror.

Joseph Gyau (Hoffenheim)

Freshly broken into Hoffenheim's first team and equally capable of working either flank, Gyau's my designated late pot stirrer.

Brek Shea (FC Dallas)

It's my pick closest to the senior starting lineup, but this is too great a growth opportunity for youngsters with explosive potential.

Andrew Wooten (FC Kaiserslautern)

More hammerhead than shark, the Kaiserslautern reserve star fills the "physically taxing No. 9" bill.

ALTERNATES

Terrence Boyd (Borussia Dortmund)

Speaking of sharks, meet Goal-Jaws. He should come with ostinato cello.

Todd Dunivant* (LA Galaxy)

Considering the Potts quandary, it could be the more likely outcome to hand the Galaxy left back a working USMNT reward.

Sebastian Lletget (West Ham)

In all fairness, I've seen the West Ham reserve fewer times, but I had him a hair behind Duka.

Ike Opara (San Jose Earthquakes)

It may take until summer for him to regain true form, but that would work just fine for me as Olympic coach.

Travis Clark

GOALKEEPERS

Bill Hamid (D.C. United)

A freak athlete with extraordinary ability, Hamid has become accustomed to the expectations placed on his young shoulders.

Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire)

While Hamid is the starter in my book, Johnson isn’t far behind, and will keep Hamid on his toes.

DEFENDERS

Zarek Valentin (Montreal Impact)

He had his ups-and-downs his rookie season, but Valentin can play all three spots at the back.

Timothy Chandler (FC Nürnberg)

Convincing both Klinsmann and Nürnburg to release Chandler would add a defender who can play on both sides.

Sheanon Williams (Philadelphia Union)

A steady performer for Philadelphia last year, Williams could start on the right if Chandler is used on the left side.

Geoff Cameron* (Houston Dynamo)

Anchoring the back line is the Dynamo defender, who can use this tournament to hone his game at the international level.

Gale Agbossoumonde (Carolina RailHawks)

The hulking center back has much to prove following the U-20s' slip-up last year.

Ethan White (D.C. United)

Provided White has recovered sufficiently from his offseason knee injury, he brings significant physicality and athleticism.

MIDFIELDERS

Perry Kitchen (D.C. United)

A gritty holding midfielder, Kitchen provides leadership and plenty of international experience despite age.

Mikkel Diskerud (Gent)

The Norwegian-American has set his sights on these games, and he’ll provide the attacking thrust from midfield.

Amobi Okugo (Philadelphia Union)

He’s got the international pedigree and physical tools to do the dirty work in the defensive midfield.

Sacha Kljestan* (Anderlecht)

The Belgian ace is on fire at the moment, and his form would be an asset in London.

Dilly Duka (Columbus Crew)

Another versatile option, Duka would be one of many candidates to provide a spark from off the bench.

ATTACKERS

Josh Gatt (Molde)

After a breakout year at Molde, Gatt’s ability to run at defenders on the ball can add a spark to the flanks.

Joe Gyau (Hoffenheim)

His stock is rising at Hoffenheim, and Gyau’s speed would stretch opposing defenses.

Brek Shea (FC Dallas)

After his breakout 2011, Shea can truly catapult himself to the next level at this summer’s games.

Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls)

Despite his tender age of 19, Agudelo’s international experience (15 caps) can really help this group in the final third.

Terrence Boyd (Borussia Dortmund)

A striker whose stock is trending upwards at Borussia Dortmund, he fits well into the No. 9 role in a 4-3-3.

Chris Wondolowski* (San Jose Earthquakes)

Yet to replicate his goal-scoring form in a US jersey, his presence would provide a clinical finisher and experienced head.

ALTERNATES

Freddy Adu (Philadelphia Union)

Before slotting him on the main roster, Adu must show his worth in Philly the first half of the season.

Teal Bunbury (Sporting Kansas City)

If he can improve on his first touch, and discover consistency this year, Bunbury will bump himself into the 18.

Andrew Wenger (Montreal Impact)

The No. 1 overall pick has versatility, and he could be much improved after half a season in MLS.

Joe Corona (Club Tijuana)

Another alternate pushing for a spot on the final roster on one of the attacking midfielder slots.