Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By IVES GALARCEP
Michael Bradley, Brad Guzan and Clint Dempsey headlined the 23-player USMNT roster announced for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers vs. Costa Rica and Mexico.
Several familiar faces were left oft the roster, including long-time captain Carlos Bocanegra as well as German-Americans Fabian Johnson, Danny Williams and Timmy Chandler. Johnson, Chandler, Williams and Jose Torres were left out due to injuries, while players like Bocanegra and Michael Parkhurst were left out due to lack of playing time in recent weeks.
The U.S. team is also missing Tim Howard and Steve Cherundolo for this round of qualifying due to injuries.
Some younger options were included in the team, with Joe Corona and Terrence Boyd both called in for the match.
Here is the squad:
GOALKEEPERS– Brad Guzan, Nick Rimando, Sean Johnson.
DEFENDERS– Geoff Cameron, Omar Gonzalez, Tony Beltran, Justin Morrow, Clarence Goodson, Matt Besler.
MIDFIELDERS– Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Maurice Edu, Graham Zusi, Brek Shea, Joe Corona, Sacha Kljestan, DaMarcus Beasley, Kyle Beckerman.
FORWARDS– Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, Herculez Gomez, Eddie Johnson, Terrence Boyd.
Some quick thoughts on the roster:
The rash of injuries really put Klinsmann in a tough spot. He said a week ago that he thought Fabian Johnson would be ready. The fact that he wasn’t, and Timmy Chandler’s injury, left Klinsmann with no choice but to call in a roster short on fullbacks.
The fullback mess was in the making for weeks after Parkhurst failed to hold onto a starting role with Augusburg and Eric Lichaj failed to work his way into the Aston Villa rotation. Klinsmann was also considering Jonathan Spector, but he also sustained an injury this past weekend.
DaMarcus Beasley is back on the team and it’s a well-deserved call-up. He brings an in-form attacking threat on the left wing, and could also be considered for a left back role as well. Considering Justin Morrow is the only natural left back on the roster, Beasley absolutely could get the call at left back. If not in both qualifiers, certainly in the Mexico qualifier, where his experience on the national team and in Mexico will be a benefit.
Look for Maurice Edu to get a look in central defense in these qualifiers. He started there in the friendly win vs. Mexico in Azteca, and he could form a good partnership with fellow University of Maryland product Omar Gonzalez.
The rash of injuries could present some good opportunities for players like Joe Corona, who wasn’t on the roster initially.
What do you think of the squad? Which inclusions are you most surprised by? Who are you disappointed to see left out? Think the U.S. can grab three or more points from the next two qualifiers?
Share your thoughts below.