This is all assuming everyone is healthy, although I'll make plans ahead of time for O'Brien's inevitable injury. GK Locks: Keller, Howard, Hahnemann Spots open: 0. If these 3 are all healthy they will be the 3 on the team. The only competition here is between Marcus and Timmy for the #2 job. If Howard or Hahnemann goes down Matt Reis appears next in line to take a spot, if Keller goes down then expect Bruce to be on the phone with Friedel to reconsider his international retirement. D Locks: Cherundolo, Onyewu, Gibbs, Bocanegra, Lewis Spots open: 3 (maybe 2). One spot will go to a wingback, Hejduk may not be a cast-iron lock yet but in my mind he's the perfect guy to lock down Nedved, and as such is pretty close to it; based on Frankie's performance in France and Korea, Albright will have to play his ass off over the next few months to earn a ticket to Deutschland, although Albright's size and youth will help him. One spot will be reserved for a 4th CB; Pope appears to be the frontrunner for the job right now but has lost a step, Berhalter's tactical acumen and Marshall's athleticism will both help those guys in the competition for the job. Finally, we will probably take 8 defenders to Germany (particularly if Lewis is one of them), and as such I expect the final spot to go to Spector simply because of his size, his raw talent, and most importantly his versatility (although Albright could potentially take this spot, as he has played both fullback positions and has the physical tools to play CB). MF Locks: Donovan, Beasley, Reyna, O'Brien, Mastroeni Spots open: 3 (maybe 4). Like Hejduk, Convey is perhaps not quite a cast-iron lock, but is damn close to it. One spot will be reserved for a dedicated winger; Ralston has been this guy thru most of qualifying, but Arena knows the difference between guys who can get the job done in CONCACAF WCQs and guys who can get the job done in the World Cup (see Williams, Richie). Mapp, Quaranta, Gaven, Pearce, and possibly Mullan and/or Klein will battle it out for this job. Each has their advantages and disadvantages, and each is capable of playing at least 1 position other than RM. Finally, you have to think that despite his recent struggles, Dempsey has a good shot at the team. He can be huge coming off the bench against tired defenders, and his versatility (he can play anywhere in the midfield as well as up top) will also help his chances. Of course, if he continues to suck in the winter friendlies and early-season MLS play this could be re-evaluated, but right now he has to be considered a likely member of the squad. Finally, we have to plan for O'Brien to be hurt since he probably will be; Arena probably wants to take a second "destroyer" midfielder to Germany. If everyone is healthy there's simply no room for one in the squad (unless we take 9 midfielders, which is possible but IMO unlikely), but O'Brien's likely absence will allow him to take one. The guy who filled this role thru most of qualifying, Armas, is likely himself out of contention with an injury that won't heal until just before the WC; Zavagnin is the safe, "you know what you're getting" alternative; while the younger guys, Clark and Carroll, will have the opportunity to play themselves into contention; and Mulrooney, if he can overcome his own ACL injury, could also get a shot. Based on his sheer athleticism, size, and rocket shot, I expect Clark to win the job as long as he can overcome his ankle injury suffered while training in Spain. F Locks: Johnson, McBride Spots open: 2. This seems to be the most straight-forward position, even if there are a ton of guys who try to make their voices heard. One will be a target man type to back up McBride, and the other will be a speedy goal-poacher to back up Johnson. The front-runners currently are Ching and Wolff, respectively. Unfortunately, neither guy is totally convincing as an option in Germany. Jaqua will get ample opportunity to challenge for Ching's spot; while Cunningham, Gomez, and Rolfe will have the chance to challenge Wolff. Twellman is a bit of a "tweener" who can fit either role in a pinch but isn't really perfectly-suited for either; this, I believe, is the reason behind his failure so far to fit into the US system and establish himself on the international level despite his undeniable talent. This will be the most intriguing position to watch IMO as there are a ton of guys, many of whom are very inexperienced on the international level but possess boatloads of talent, who will be vying for 2 open spots. I really can't predict who will make the team as I'd simply be drawing names out of a hat. Ching and Wolff have disappointed recently but they're the only known qualities at the moment; I for one can't wait to see what the younger guys have to offer. It's also possible that we'll bring 2 speedier types as backups and use Johnson as the target man when McBride is not in the lineup (which he won't be at times, he doesn't have the gas in the tank to go 270 minutes in 10 days), although I don't see this happening unless we have 2 of those guys absolutely screaming for inclusion in the team and Jaqua and Ching both show nothing at all over the next few months. Whatever ends up happening in Germany, the next few months are going to be very fun.