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Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore have mixed fortunes, Guzan benched again

European and Mexican seasons are winding down and MLS is in full swing, leaving U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann with no shortage of options as he finalizes his squad for friendlies at the Netherlands on June 5 (2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN/WatchESPN) and world champion Germany five days later.

With the roster announcement now less than two weeks away, here's which national teamers are helping (and hurting) their chances of playing big roles next month, at July's all-important Gold Cup and beyond.

Warming up

Michael Bradley, M, Toronto FC (United States)

Why he's here: With his team badly in need of a result in New England, Bradley single-handedly got them one with this brilliant individual goal in the 1-1 tie.

What this means: Consider this a statement performance from Bradley, who was heavily criticized after TFC dropped its home opener last week. He'll have to continue to put the Reds on his back if U.S. teammate Jozy Altidore is on the shelf.

Alejandro Bedoya, M, Nantes (France)

Why he's here: Bedoya is reportedly attracting interest from top-flight English and German clubs following another strong season in Ligue 1.

What this means: No U.S. player's stock has risen more over the past two years -- it's hard to believe that Klinsmann didn't call up Bedoya at all in 2012 -- and at 28, the South Florida native is just entering his prime. A successful move to one of Europe's marquee leagues could cement his status with the U.S. all the way to Russia 2018.

Aron Johannsson, F, AZ Alkmaar (Netherlands)

Why he's here: After scoring on a long-range bomb last week, Johannsson found the net twice more Sunday, one on this spectacular bicycle kick. He also added an assist as AZ clinched a Europa League berth.

What this means: If Altidore can't play for the Americans next month, Johannsson is the obvious beneficiary. Further, if the 24-year-old can perform against those global titans, it's hard to see him not starting him at the Gold Cup whether Altidore is available or not.

Rubio Rubin, F, Utrecht (Netherlands)

Why he's here: After a midseason lull, the 19-year-old went 90 minutes in each of Utrecht's final five games of the campaign.

What this means: Rubin made an impressive 23 starts in his first full professional season and he enters the upcoming U20 World Cup in New Zealand in a good rhythm. A dominant performance for the U.S. there could have him in the mix for a senior team invite in July.

Cooling down

Jozy Altidore, F, Toronto FC (United States)

Why he's here: Altidore suffered yet another latest hamstring injury in the first half against New England.

What this means: The severity of the ailment isn't known yet, but the timing isn't great: Even if Altidore is able to return in the next few weeks, a layoff could impact his sharpness heading into the regional championship.

Omar Gonzalez, D, L.A. Galaxy (United States)

Why he's here: A Galaxy spokesman told ESPN FC that the big center-back "tweaked his knee in training" last week and was held out of Sunday's 4-0 loss in Orlando as a precaution.

What this means: Sitting him made sense as the game was on turf and Gonzalez has had knee issues before. But with competition for spots fierce in the heart of the American backline, it's something to keep an eye on over the next month.

Brad Guzan has not played for Aston Villa since a 3-2 defeat at Manchester City on April 25.

Brad Guzan, G, Aston Villa (England)

Why he's here: After starting Villa's first 34 games this season, Guzan has been benched for three straight by Tim Sherwood and could be looking for a new club this summer.

What this means: With Tim Howard on hiatus until September, Guzan is still a lock to start for the U.S. at the Gold Cup. However, things will get interesting in the American net if the longtime No. 2 isn't playing regularly somewhere next season.

Graham Zusi, M, Sporting Kansas City (United States)

Why he's here: Weather postponed SKC's game against Colorado on Saturday, but Zusi wouldn't have played after sustaining a concussion last week against D.C. United.

What this means: Various injuries have limited Zusi, who started three games at last summer's World Cup, to just one appearance for his country since Brazil. At this point, one has to wonder if time is running out for him to claim a spot on the Gold Cup roster.

Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @DougMacESPN.


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