By IVES GALARCEP
As expected, Jurgen Klinsmann has called in a roster made up almost exclusively of non-MLS players for Wednesday’s friendly vs. Bosnia Herzegovina. A few top veterans will be missing the match, but some intriguing new faces will be making their first appearances in a USMNT camp.
Neither Clint Dempsey or Landon Donovan have been called in for the match on Wednesday in Sarajevo, but there is still plenty of firepower on the squad, with Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley and Tim Howard leading the veteran contingent selected for the match.
Young German-American centerback John Anthony Brooks and Aron Johannsson are among the new faces who will be attending their first USMNT camp, along with U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team goalkeeper Cody Cropper and German-based forward Bobby Wood.
Here is the full USMNT squad that will face Bosnia and Herzegovina on Wednesday (as well as Klinsmann’s thoughts on the call-ups as well as Dempsey’s move to MLS):
USMNT ROSTER vs. BOSNIA and HERZEGOVINA
GOALKEEPERS: Cody Cropper (Southampton), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton)
DEFENDERS: John Anthony Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Michael Orozco Fiscal (Puebla), Michael Parkhurst (Augsburg), Tim Ream (Bolton Wanderers)
MIDFIELDERS: Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Roma), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Schalke), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Danny Williams (Reading)
FORWARDS: Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Bobby Wood (1860 Munich)
Klinsmann offered his thoughts on several of the call-ups, as well as Clint Dempsey’s return to MLS:
“We are very excited to have Aron with us. It’s a similar conversation that we have with all our dual-citizenship players. They have to make up their mind and they have to make their own decision. We can only hope they go toward the United States. Aron has made that big, big step which is huge for us because he’s one of the up and coming promising strikers in Europe. He played really, really well in Denmark before he moved to AK Alkmaar, Jozy Altidore’s old club, and is scoring goals there so we’re really thrilled he chose to join us and to have him in our group. We just want to integrate Aron and make him feel comfortable, make him feel at home with us. Once he’s comfortable and eligible and all the FIFA stuff is done, then we want to see him in real games and see if he can connect with something special to our game.”
“Having John Anthony Brooks is another exciting move that we can feel proud about in a certain way. Having followed him over the years now, we always are in touch with his club and coaches and it’s easy to see John is a very special talent growing through the Bundesliga ranks. He’s a center back with wonderful vision of the game, very decisive in one-on-one situations and very mature for his age. He was already with us one and half years ago in a U-20 camp we had, so we followed him and he’s breaking through in the Bundesliga with Hertha Berlin. Similar to Aron, we want to have him get integrated into the group and get to know his new buddies and to feel comfortable with us. I think our group is a wonderful bunch of guys that make you feel comfortable from the first second you join them. And of course we’re curious from a coaching perspective to see what he can add to our team, how he’s taking things in during training and possibly in the game against Bosnia. It’s another element we can add and we’re very happy about that.”
On Dempsey’s move to MLS:
It’s been a huge week. Having Clint back in the United States and joining MLS is big and I think everyone in the U.S. is excited about the news. I am thrilled for MLS because you have an outstanding player now hopefully filling more stadiums and getting even more kids and people excited about the game. For Clint it’s a challenge, coming from one of the top leagues in the world, coming back to the U.S. and being back in MLS where we still have to work on a lot of things. Clint himself has set the highest benchmark for himself over the last year. He became our captain and he has to keep that benchmark and he knows that. I told him that over the last two years that he’s got to go for the next level. Obviously we want the best Clint Dempsey ever and that’s what we’re going to push him toward as we begin to look toward Brazil. He has set a high standard for himself, and it’s up to us coaches to make sure he keeps that high standard.”
On leaving most MLS players off this roster:
“For the most part we wanted to leave the MLS players behind because it’s a long way to go for a mid-week game in the heart of the season and many of them were with us a lot during the summer. This gives us a chance to look at some different players as well. At the same time, we still want a strong team so we have some guys from MLS and also from Liga MX. I told (Sounders head coach) Sigi Schmid that it’s no problem to leave Clint off this roster. It’s been a long week for Clint and he is still in preseason and getting a rhythm, so we leave him in Seattle and get him ready for the games in September.”
What do you think of the roster? Who are you surprised to not see make the cut?
Share your thoughts below.