California: What If Your State Had a National Team?

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Sep 27, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Philadelphia Union midfielder Maurice Edu (21) walks off the field after the game against the D.C. United at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial. D.C. United defeated Philadelphia Union 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports


Maurice Edu (Philadelphia Union), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Benji Joya (Santos Laguna-MEX), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht-BEL), Amobi Okugo (Philadelphia Union), Chris Pontius (DC United), Jesus Vazquez (UD Guadalajara-MEX), Jose Villareal (LA Galaxy), Luis Silva (DC United)

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California’s midfield may actually trump its defense in how impressive it is on paper.  Luis Silva, Luis Gil, and Maurice Edu have all had standout years in MLS.  Sacha Kljestan is currently a starter on Champions League side Anderlecht, and the youthful Benji Joya enjoyed a successful loan stint in MLS this year as well as maintaining good form on the USA U-23 national team.   Edu and Okugo provide solid protection above the defense as the “2” players in a 4-2-3-1.  Silva and Gil are both apt scorers for their club, and Kljestan is the kind of presence in the middle of the pitch that not just any central midfielder can replicate.  Look at his performance vs. Arsenal just a few weeks ago as a frame of reference.  That kind of performance vs. an English power would transfer over tenfold vs. any State-National Team.

Chris Pontius has been one of DC United’s better players since joining MLS, while Jose Villareal has a bright future after receiving good reports in his time with both the Galaxy and Cruz Azul of Liga MX.  Jesus Vazquez is another Liga MX vet who has been a regular substitute for UD Guadalajara since emerging from their youth system.  He’s merely 20 year old yet has made 26 apps with 3 goals to his name since signing with the club three years ago and adds vibrant youth to California’s roster.