As I wrote yesterday, I am mostly fine with the 40-man preliminary roster Jurgen Klinsmann announced yesterday for this summer's Copa America.
"Mostly" isn't "completely," though, and there are definitely some adjustments that could be made on the fringes. Here are five swaps I'd make that would, I think, improve the player pool.
Diskerud has had his moments in Red, White & Blue, but none have come recently. He was particularly poor in the recent qualifying loss at Guatemala, being subbed out at halftime and then failing to feature in the second leg. He's followed that up by seeing his role on the club level with NYCFC diminish over the past five weeks.
Meanwhile, here's what Kljestan's done:
He's been a chance generating machine on both restarts and from the run of play, and is the league leader in assists. He's also a much better defender than Diskerud or any of the other possible No. 10s in the pool (unless we're pretending that's Michael Bradley's position, or Jermaine Jones's).
Kljestan is basically this year's Benny Feilhaber. He'd make the team better and do so at a position of need, but for some reason Jurgen just doesn't see it.
2. Drop Ventura Alvarado for Brek Shea
Alvarado has barely played for Club America this year and has been poor in the few minutes he's earned. Looking at the roster and doing a little math tells me he's, at best, seventh on the center back depth chart (though I'd argue 10th is actually where he belongs). And according to a recent report from Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl, Alvarado tanked the most recent camp.
Shea, meanwhile, has been improving as the starting left back for Orlando City -- always a position of need. There is only one natural left back on the roster (Edgar Castillo), so I'm a little disappointed Brek didn't make the cut.
3. Drop one of the goalkeepers and add C.J. Sapong
It's been a long time since Brian McBride wore the colors, and I miss having a center forward out there who can do Brian McBride things like this:
Look: We're Americans. And Americans sometimes need to boot it long.
There will be a time, maybe against Paraguay or Costa Rica, but almost certainly against Colombia, when we're completely on the back foot and need an easy out via Route 1. Jozy Altidore can occasionally do good work in that situation, as can Bobby Wood. Gyasi Zardes is in that mix as well, though he's more often played on the wing.
But Sapong excels in that situation. He beasts defenders to win headers like that, which opens up space and chances for the rest of the attack. He's also a committed and relentless defender, and the second-best passing forward in the pool after Altidore.
4. Move Kellyn Acosta to midfield
The dude's a gamer but he's definitely not a fullback. He got lit up at the U-20 and U-23 levels, so it's a little bit distressing seeing him listed as a defender here -- especially when he's such a dynamic two-way midfielder who often looks like a possible successor to Jones and/or Bradley.