Photo by ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
Take a quick look at Jurgen Klinsmann’s 20-man U.S. Men’s national team roster for Wednesday’s friendly against Russia and it would be easy to mistake the list for a U-23 squad.
It isn’t a U-23 team, but rather a major step toward Klinsmann infusing a youth movement in the U.S. national team pool.
Klinsmann has called in several players who were part of the U-23 team that failed to reached the Olympics earlier this year. From Juan Agudelo to Joe Gyau to Josh Gatt, there is an influx of emerging young talent that could have a chance to impress Klinsmann in Krasnodar on Wednesday, while also showing just how far they have come since their Olympic qualifying debacle in March.
While some of these young Americans may have more experience than others with the senior U.S. team, all of them have come a long way since their disastrous showing with the U-23 team. Now, these players will look to translate what they have learned in recent months at their clubs over to the international level, so as to possibly break into a talented U.S. team that will play in World Cup qualifiers and the Gold Cup in a busy 2013.
Here’s a closer look at some of the young players on the U.S. roster:
JUAN AGUDELO- After recovering from the knee injury sustained during Olympic qualifying, Agudelo was surprisingly traded from the New York Red Bulls to Chivas USA in a bid to earn more playing time. Agudelo received that playing time with the Goats, but he struggled to find the back of the net for a Chivas USA team that was downright awful. Still, he ended the season on a good run of form and even scored in Chivas USA’s regular season finale.
TERRENCE BOYD- One of the better-performing players on the U.S. U-23 team, Boyd has seen his career go on an upward trajectory since that failed bid to reach the Olympics. He moved from Borussia Dortmund to Rapid Vienna in the last transfer window and has found plenty of succes (re: playing time and goals) with the Austrian club, all while becoming a staple in the full U.S. squad.
JOE GYAU- Having secured a loan from Hoffenheim to St Pauli a couple months back, Gyau is still in the process of trying to establish himself with Bundesliga 2. club. The dynamic winger has made four league appearances for St Pauli but three of those have come in recent weeks, which may be a sign of him possibly breaking into the starting lineup in the near future.
SEAN JOHNSON- The Chicago Fire goalkeeper bounced back from his Olympic qualifying nightmare by piecing together a strong season in MLS. Johnson helped lead a stingy Fire defense into the playoffs before making a mistake in their knock-out round loss to the Houston Dynamo, but his play has been more solid than not in recent months.
MIX DISKERUD- Diskerud joined Norwegian powerhouse Rosenborg BK on a half-season deal this past summer, and he was constantly in the starting lineup for the club. He played in key Eliteserien and Europa League games and the Norwegian-American found ways to make an impact, even scoring the clutch goal that pushed Rosenborg into the group stage of the latter competition.
JOSH GATT- Gatt was not officially on the U-23 team that crashed out of Olympic qualifying, but he was originally on it before Molde summoned him back due to a number of injuries that hit the club. Gatt has endured some injury problems of his own since then, but he has been healthy enough to play in recent weeks and just finished celebrating Molde’s second straight league title this pas tweekend.
Which of these players are you hoping to get a glimpse of on Wednesday? What other young players would you have liked to seen on this roster?
Share your thoughts below.