Thursday, June 12, 2014

U.S. Roster for 2014 World Cup: Pop Culture Breakdown


With the World Cup starting today,  it would be ideal to get to know the players on the U.S. World Cup roster.  If you want a serious breakdown, I suggest checking out this detailed Sports Illustrated roster run down.

But if you want to have a little more fun with the roster, here's a pop culture breakdown of the U.S. roster.

Starters

Tim Howard - Goalkeeper 
Keegan-Michael Key

Howard is the starting goalkeeper for the U.S., and it's crazy how much he resembles Key from Key & Peele.  The similarities pretty much stop there though as Howard is a serious guy that's constantly yelling instructions at his defenders instead of making jokes.

Demarcus Beasley - Left Back
Ben Affleck

As a 20-year-old at the 2002 World Cup, Beasley starred for the U.S. with Landon Donovan in the midfield.  He was very much the Ben Affleck to Donovan's Matt Damon.  Much like Affleck's surprising transition from actor to director, Beasley has remade himself into a left back that will start for the U.S.

Geoff Cameron - Center Back
Gary Oldman 

It's not that Cameron looks like Oldman, it more so that they are both versatile people that can play many supporting roles.  Cameron is the team's swiss army knife as he can play right back, center back and defensive midfield.

Matt Besler - Center Back 
Zach Gilford 

Maybe it's just me, but I think Gilford who played Matt Saracen on Friday Night Lights and Besler look alike.  They have that kind of that all-American, boy next door look.  Not to mention, Saracen and Besler are both solid players that don't wow you with their skills, but get the job done. Besler is probably the steadiest part of the shaky U.S. back line.

Fabian Johnson - Right Back 
Christopher Waltz 

Nobody expected the German-American Johnson to be as great as he is.  The way Johnson influences matches for the U.S. with moments of brilliance like this is similar to how fellow German Waltz  unexpectedly steals Tarantino movies ( Django Unchained and Inglorious Basterds) with his acting performances.

Jermaine Jones - Midfielder 
Chris Brown 

Jones is another one of the German-American contingent.  Hear me out on this one.  The German-American is nowhere as awful a person as Brown, but they are both supremely talented individuals that have a tendency to disregard circumstances and do some reckless things.  Jones is a Champions League experienced player that plied his trade in the German Bundesliga until recently.  As any U.S. fan knows, he's always a second away from getting a yellow card for a hard tackle.

Michael Bradley - Midfielder 
Leonardo DiCaprio/Lex Luthor

Bradley is the most important player on the U.S. team and hands down the most irreplaceable player on the roster.  If he goes down, the U.S. is screwed.  He's like DiCaprio because he's played in many top leagues in Germany, Italy, England and Holland and is appreciated by Americans as a great player. But much like DiCaprio who has never won an Oscar despite his talent, Bradley rarely gets formal recognition of his talent from the greater soccer community.

Bradley also gets the Lex Luthor comparison because he's bald and this Italian announcer's crazy goal call referred to him as that.

Alejandro Bedoya - Midfielder
Gale Garcia Bernal 

Bedoya plays in the French League with FC Nantes, where a great year put him on this team.  He's similar to Bernal because people know Bernal is a good actor, but he's mostly in foreign films such as Y Tu Mama Tabien.  This is also the case with Bedoya as most of his highlights are in foreign leagues, and he really hasn't broken out for the U.S. team yet.

Kyle Beckerman - Midfielder 
Riff Raff/Tobey Maguire

Beckerman is a white guy with stupid dreadlocks so he's reminiscent of Riff Raff with his braids.  He should cut those off immediately.  Also, he kind of looks like the dreadlocked version of Tobey Maguire.   Beckerman's playing style and career even evoke Maguire .  Like Maguire, Beckerman is not flashy or anybody's favorite player, but he usually does his job well enough.   He has made his first World Cup roster at age 32, although he still really needs to do something about that hair.

Clint Dempsey - Forward 
Phillip Seymour Hoffman 

The captain of the U.S. team, and its most consistent scoring threat.  As unconventional and brilliant as Hoffman could be as an actor, Dempsey can be as a player.  He brings an aspect of creativity that's missing from a lot of U.S. players, and former national team coach Bruce Arena put it best when he said about Dempsey, "He tries shit."

Both Hoffman and Dempsey would never be the star in a big movie, but are suited to being a solid supporting actor in that movie or the star of an indie movie.  The U.S. national team is the quirky indie movie that Dempsey stars in.

Jozy Altidore - Forward 
Michael B. Jordan

They're both talented people who have done some amazing things at a young age, but the public expects bigger things from them.  Jordan's coming out party was his performance on Friday Night Lights and Fruitvale Station while Altidore's was tearing up the Dutch League and scoring in five straight national team games in 2013.  But people expect them to deliver that talent on bigger stages ie a blockbuster film for Jordan and the World cup for Altidore.  If Altidore bombs at the World Cup as much as Jordan's That Awkward Moment did, then the U.S. is in trouble.

Bench

Graham Zusi - Midfielder
Orlando Bloom

First of all, I think they kind of look alike.  Besides that, Bloom seemed to come out of nowhere to star in three Lord of the Rings films and Zusi has had an unlikely rise to become an important member of the U.S. team.  Zusi will have his chance to star in three big games at this World Cup.  Furthermore, Bloom's Legolas character was known for his accuracy with a bow and arrow and Zusi is known for his pin-point crosses into the box.  Zusi would probably be okay with extending the Bloom comparison by marrying a Victoria's Secret model like Bloom's wife Miranda Kerr.

Mix Diserkud - Midfielder 
Shawn Hunter

The Norweign-American has a Shawn Hunter from Boy Meets World vibe.  Diskerud has flowing hair that he can probably flip like Hunter and have women flock to him.  The U.S. female fan base already seems to have a lot of love for him.  On the field,  Diskerud brings a much needed creative spark to the U.S. lineup.  It's kind of like how Hunter made Cory Matthew's life much more exciting by getting them into crazy situations.  Here's for hoping in the future that Diskerud doesn't become obsessed with some girl after he finds her purse, enter a stupid relationship with her and become a lame character like Hunter.

Aron Johannsson - Forward
Kevin Bacon 

The Icelandic-American chose to represent the U.S. over his native Iceland and is a ringer for Kevin Bacon.  He was born in Mobile, Alabama because his parents were studying at the University of Southern Alabama.  His parents are probably the only Icelandic people to ever go to Alabama. Johannsson, also nicknamed Iceman by U.S. fans,  will be a weapon off the bench as he is the forward most likely to dance by defenders with the ball at his feet.  One might even say he'll get footloose. Sorry, it was right there, and I couldn't resist.

Omar Gonzalez - Defender
Lindsey Lohan

Gonzalez is a talented center back who started most of the qualifiers and seemed to be a lock to start at the World Cup, but much like Lohan he messed up his star ascent by doing stupid stuff.  In Gonzalez's case, it's not drugs or alcohol, but rather his lack of concentration on the field.  He's notorious for losing track of the player that he's defending at least a couple times a game, and it usually results in a goal.  These random defensive lapses look about as logical as Lohan driving a car.

John Anthony Brooks - Defender
A Taller Russell Wilson 

Brooks is another German-American on the team.  By now you're probably sensing a trend of American soldiers' uncanny ability to get women pregnant while stationed in Germany.  The 21-year-old reminds me of a taller Russell Wilson for some reason.  NFL scouts would have loved for Wilson to be as tall as the 6'4" Brooks.

Timmy Chandler - Defender 
Frankenstein 

Another German-American defender that made the team.  It's not mean spirited, but Chandler looks a bit like Frankenstein because of his square head shape. You know, if Frankenstein played soccer and could run really fast.

Brad Davis - Midfielder 
Homeless Man's David Beckham

The easiest way to recognize Davis on the field will be the guy with the big ears.  In the looks department nor overall star quality is Davis like Beckham, but their main skill is the same.  Davis is a specialist known for his deadly left foot that delivers dangerous crosses, free kicks and corner kicks. Although, nobody will be running out to buy Davis's brand of underwear anytime soon.

Chris Wondolowski - Forward 
Chris O'Donnell 

Wondolowski (Wondo) doesn't really look like O'Donnell, but they're both guys that aren't all that exciting who people seem to like.   Wondo is a goal poacher who isn't all that fast or strong, although he's always seems to be in position to score a goal.  Much like O'Donnell starring in a TV show, Wondo is suited to the smaller stage of MLS.  For the World Cup, he's more likely to be a Robin than a Batman.

Deandre Yedlin - Defender
Rufio 

The speedy 20-year-old right back is usually recognizable by the blond patch in his dark hair.  His youth, reckless attacking style, and hair style make him similar to Rufio from Hook.  Yedlin might be a Lost Boy at the World Cup as even he was surprised that he made the roster.

Julian Green - Midfielder 
Bran Stark

The 19-year-old is the last of the German-Americans and may ultimately be the most talented one.  Last March, he finally decided to represent the U.S. over Germany.  Much like Bran Stark in Game of Thrones  there are flashes of Green's specialness in the present, but it's all about how special Green may be in the future.

Brad Guzan - Goalkeeper
John Malkovich

Guzan is the second string goalkeeper for the U.S.  Honestly,  I'm just saying he's Malkovich because they're both bald and don't get top billing in many things.  It's not a very convincing comparison, but give me a break.  I'm down to the backup goalkeeper here.

Nick Rimando - Goalkeeper 
Ant-Man 

Rimando is the third string goalkeeper for the U.S.  At 5'11" he's considered considered short for a goalkeeper yet still makes some superhuman saves much like Ant-Man's ability to pack a wallop despite his small size.

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