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Most important USMNT players for '15

Next year will be key for Jozy Altidore and John Brooks in terms of their USMNT outlook.
Next year will be key for Jozy Altidore and John Brooks in terms of their USMNT outlook.

The new World Cup cycle poses numerous questions about the United States' lineup, not just in terms of depth and quality at certain positions but also in terms of overall talent that can significantly influence games against the world's best teams.

As U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann builds toward his 2018 World Cup roster, he will use the 2015 calendar year as an opportunity to establish a core group that he can trust in critical situations. And while his most meaningful evaluation will come in the summer's Gold Cup, the manager will also be keeping a close eye on which players are built to thrive in the 2016 Copa America and Olympics, as those players will also be essential to the team's qualification and success in the next World Cup.

Which USMNT players should we keep a close eye on next year? Here's a look at nine players who need a strong 2015 in order to stabilize the core of the U.S. team. These are players who either need to bounce back and return to previous form, continue to show potential or make a positive step forward to provide the U.S. with a strong foundation as the team moves further into the 2018 World Cup cycle.

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