The time has arrived. Jurgen Klinsmann has announced the first 16 names that will be brought into the Men’s National Team camp prior to World Cup Qualifying – which begins in less than a month. Some names were foregone conclusions, others raise an eyebrow or two. There are a few early exclusions and one bombshell absence. If you haven’t seen the roster already, here it is:
Goalies: Brad Guzan, Tim Howard, Nick Rimando
Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra, Edgar Castillo, Steve Cherundolo, Alfredo Morales
Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman, Michael Bradley, Joe Corona, Maurice Edu, Fabian Johnson, Jermaine Jones, Jose Torres, Danny Williams
Forwards: Clint Dempsey
Let’s break it all down, shall we?
Instantly noticeable about this roster is how there is only one forward listed in Clint Dempsey. That should change soon. Terrence Boyd has already tweeted that he’s on the list. Chris Wondolowski being MLS based will probably be called up after this week. Jozy Altidore just needs to rest after getting nicked up at the end of a long productive season. Herculez Gomez still has a shot to make the roster as well. His team is in the Mexican Championship at the moment.
One thing is sure though; it looks like Klinsmann is going with an all veteran goalkeeping corps. It’s possible that a fourth young keeper may be called in to camp, but that’s highly unlikely. While it would have been nice to see a younger keeper, Rimando absolutely deserves the call up. It’s good to see Klinsmann recognized Guzan’s talent despite the lack of playing time as well.
No surprises in Bocanegra and Cherundolo being called up on defense. The U.S. Men’s Olympic team looked real good with Alfredo Morales in the lineup, not so good without. Klinsmann must have noticed. Oguchi Onyewu still has a few games left with Lisbon. Clarence Goodson and Michael Parkhurst aren’t done in Denmark either with the former likely being called up and the latter on the fringe.
Edgar Castillo is a bit of a surprise as he struggled mightily his last go round with the national team, though he had an excellent Clausura campaign with Tijuana. Tim Ream and Eric Lichaj maybe in the next round of players called up so those are two names to keep an eye on.
You may have noticed the big non-mention of Timmy Chandler. That’s because he deserves a bullet point all his own. Chandler apparently needs a break from the USMNT. Many have suggested that pretty much means Chandler is a proud Deutschlander after all and he’s going to try his luck with the German national team. Fabian Johnson (though listed here as a midfielder) covered well for Chandler against Italy and Eric Lichaj wasn’t too shabby in last year’s Gold Cup. So the Yanks have cover if Chandler wants to be Rossi part II.
The midfield call-ups were for the most part expected. Danny Williams was a bit of a surprise considering how much he’s struggled for the National team, but with Donovan returning, he will likely play a smaller role. Joe Corona, like Morales, apparently benefited from being noticed during Olympic Qualifying. His inclusion is still a surprise. While he most certainly scored his share of goals, he was also often times shaky. Klinsmann’s clearly still high on Jose Francisco Torres despite his injury layoff. Obvious exclusions are Landon Donovan and Brek Shea. In Donovan’s case, he eluded to the fact that he will be joining the team while being honored with the LA Galaxy at the White House for last year’s MLS Cup Championship. They’ll be with the team in no time. Klinsmann never seemed high on Kljestan and his play in the Red, White, and Blue never warranted a change of heart in the coach, hence his exclusion.
With thirteen more players ready to be called into camp, my money’s on the following names to round out the USMNT selection: Landon Donovan, Brek Shea, Jozy Altidore, Oguchi Onyewu, Clarence Goodson, Terrence Boyd, Herculez Gomez, Chris Wondolowski, Tim Ream, Eric Licaj, Juan Agudelo, Freddy Adu, and Michael Parkhurst.