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May 12, 2014

Bubble players deserving roster spot

Maurice Edu is competing for a midfield spot on the USMNT's 23-man roster for Brazil.

With only a month remaining until the World Cup, the suspense is building regarding Jurgen Klinsmann's decisions for the USMNT's final 23-man roster that must be solidified by June 2. On Monday, Klinsmann announced his 30-man roster that will begin training this week at Stanford University, and among the current pool there are still a number of decisions to be made across different parts of the field regarding who will head to Brazil.

Those who are currently on the bubble for the final 23 roster spots will be fighting to make a good impression over the next couple of weeks but are also aware that the final roster spots will be allocated to players who can fill specific roles in Klinsmann's game plans. There is obviously a domino effect to certain choices that Klinsmann makes, so Klinsmann's attempt to find the best place for established players (see: Geoff Cameron) could easily affect the fate of players who are on the bubble.

Here is a look at USMNT bubble players in three key positions (outside back, holding midfield, striker) who deserve a roster spot and how the context of their inclusion affects the entire team.

Maurice Edu (holding midfield)

At this point, it will be hard for either Edu or Kyle Beckerman to unseat Jermaine Jones as a starter in the United States midfield. However, Jones is 32 years old, and various injuries could affect his mobility in the midfield. A torn meniscus kept Jones out of the lineup for part of Schalke's 2013-14 campaign, and the fact that Jones also led the United States with 2.5 fouls committed per 90 minutes throughout World Cup qualifying hints that Klinsmann could use more mobility alongside Michael Bradley in the midfield.

This is where Edu becomes impactful, as the 28-year-old's ability to cover ground and break up plays gives him an edge over Beckerman if in fact both players are competing for one spot.

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