photo by Chris Brunskill/ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Carlos Bocanegra and Tim Howard headline a 21-man roster called in by U.S. men's national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann for a friendly against Italy.
A heavily European-based roster was called in for the match on Feb. 29 in Genoa, with only five players plying their trade elsewhere. The match and preceeding camp will mark the first time in 2012 that Klinsmann will have his top players together, even if some are currently training with the U.S. Under-23 team.
"We're looking forward to having all the European-based players back in the roster and picking up where we left off with them from the Slovenia game," Klinsmann told USsoccer.com. "I'm excited about getting everybody together and challenging a world-class team like former World Cup winner Italy on their home soil. I think we have put a very competitive roster together. This roster was co-developed with the U-23 team because we wanted them to have a great preparation game before they go into Olympic Qualifying in March. Our roster is highly competitive and ready to give Italy a real fight."
Here is the roster:
Goalkeepers: Tim Howard (Everton), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra (Rangers), Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo), Timmy Chandler (Nurnberg), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Michael Parkhurst (FC Nordsjaelland), Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City)
Midfielders: Michael Bradley (Chievo Verona), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Jose Torres (Pachuca), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim)
Forwards: Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Terrence Boyd (Borussia Dortmund), Edson Buddle (LA Galaxy), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy)
This camp marks the first time that Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey will represent the U.S. team under Klinsmann and their first time together since last summer's Gold Cup. Both players had missed previous camps for various reasons, including Donovan wanting to focus on MLS Cup back in November.
Donovan, Edson Buddle, Geoff Cameron and Nick Rimando are the four MLS players who made this roster. Jose Torres, who has missed the last few camps with an injury, is the only player on this squad who is plying his trade in Mexico.
Arguably the biggest surprise on this roster is Terrance Boyd. The 21-year-old striker was scheduled to join the U.S. U-23 team for its current camp in Texas, but those plans changed at the last minute.
Sources confirmed to SBI that Boyd packed his bags on Wednesday evening and was set to fly to Texas on Thursday morning before Klinsmann called to inform him that he would be flying to Genoa on Sunday instead.
Donovan, Dempsey, Buddle and Jozy Altidore are the other forwards on this roster.
"I'm curious to see Jozy Altidore and Edson Buddle," said Klinsmann. "Obviously seeing Jozy lose his starting spot worries us, and Edson is now back in MLS after leaving the Second Bundesliga, so there are a lot of interesting things to observe as we go into camp for these few days."
Regulars of Klinsmann's team who were not called in are Juan Agudelo, Teal Bunbury, Brek Shea and Oguchi Onyewu. The former three are currently in their first U-23 camp and the latter just suffered a knee injury that will keep him sidelined for two months, though Klinsmann is optimistic Onyewu will return for the start of World Cup qualifying in June.
"Obviously losing Gooch was a bummer, but we expect that he’ll be back and ready to go this summer," said Klinsmann.
Some of the more notable players missing from this camp are Sacha Kljestan, Benny Feilhaber and DaMarcus Beasley. Kljestan has been on a run of fine form with Anderlecht, starting in league matches and Europa League games. Beasley, too, has been playing well as of late for his club, Puebla.
Italy's roster is expected to be announced on Sunday.
What do you think of the roster? Who are you surprised to see/not see on this team? Do you think this team can beat Italy?
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