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Who should Klinsmann call up vs. Ukraine?

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The first international fixture date of the new year is just three weeks away, and with Jurgen Klinsmann having committed to a European-based roster for the March 5 friendly against Ukraine, trying to identify the roster has become a bit of a tricky proposition.

With so many players leaving Europe for MLS in the past seven months, the options overseas are fewer than they have been for a U.S. coach in several years.

One concern about the Ukraine match is whether it will be played. As of Tuesday afternoon, there had been no change made to the match despite the violence erupting in the Ukraine capital of Kiev, which is located about 300 miles from Kharkiv, where the March 5 friendly is being played.

Assuming the match is played, Klinsmann will have to navigate some recent injury issues to his Americans Abroad base as he tries to select his roster for the match.

And as a reminder for those who may have forgotten, the 2014 MLS season begins on March 8th, making the inclusion of any MLS players highly unlikely for this friendly.

Who will get the call? Here are the players who we could see being called in for the Ukraine friendly:


GOALKEEPERS– Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Cody Cropper

Pretty much a no-brainer with Howard and Guzan leading the way. Cody Cropper could also come in as a third goalkeeper, which he has done before. Might Klinsmann give David Yelldell a call to join the team for a few days? The Bayer Leverkusen back-up wouldn’t be far away from the Frankfurt training location to join the team.


DEFENDERS– Geoff Cameron, John Brooks, Tim Ream, Will Packwood, Fabian Johnson, Alfredo Morales

Injuries have really limited the options for Klinsmann here, with Oguchi Onyewu and Eric Lichaj currently sidelined by injuries. It’s unclear if either can recover in time to join the team for training on March 2nd in Frankfurt, but if either get healthy, we should see them on the squad.

Some new faces here include Packwood, who is only 20 but starts regularly as a central defender for Birmingham City, and Morales, who last joined the U.S. team for a training camp in May of 2012. Morales gets minutes for Bundesliga 2 side Ingolstadt, and is versatile enough to play multiple positions.

John Brooks hasn’t played in a few months, but did return recently from a knee injury. He would seem to be a question mark to start against Ukraine, but he seems a safe bet to make the trip barring another injury.


MIDFIELDERS– Clint Dempsey, Jermaine Jones, Mix Diskerud, Danny Williams, Sacha Kljestan, Alejandro Bedoya, Brek Shea

Dempsey’s involvement will hinge on whether his loan allows him to stay for Fulham’s March 1 match against Chelsea. If so, then he can just go from London to Frankfurst and play in the match before returning to Seattle. If he were heading to Seattle sooner than that, then he wouldn’t return to Europe.

Michael Bradley is another question mark considering his team has a bye on the opening week of the MLS season. For now, we will leave him off, but any more injuries in this group could lead to a Bradley call.

There really are no surprises among this group. Williams has been playing really well for Reading FC so he’s a safe bet, and may even start in this match.

Yes, Julian Green is taking part in training for the first two days of camp, but is not going to feature in the friendly so that’s why he’s not listed. That being said, don’t be surprised if we see one or two other surprise guest trainees make the trip.


FORWARDS– Jozy Altidore, Aron Johannsson, Terrence Boyd, Juan Agudelo

This foursome is pretty set in stone, especially with Agudelo starting regularly now for Dutch side FC Utrecht. This could be a match for Klinsmann to experiment with Altidore and Johannsson as a forward tandem.


What do you think of this squad? Who would you like to see called in that didn’t make our list? Who are you surprised to see included on this squad? Who are you happy to see on the list?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Having watched every Sunderland game this year, while it’s easy to blame the team for being terrible and for providing no service, Jozy has been an absolute nightmare. I’m not sure people realize how bad he’s been. His body language is poor, his hustle is generally lacking, he can’t finish at all, and he does not make runs into slots and alleys that he should be making. Out of the roughly 30 games he’s played this year, he’s had maybe 5-6 good ones and produced 2 goals and.. I dunno, maybe 4 assists. That, to me, makes it clear that his good games are an aberration, while his sub-par games are more reflective of his current form/ability/whatever.

    Look, he’s a great guy, a class act off the field, and has shown well for the US at TIMES, but never consistently outside of a few months of 2013. He was dismissed by Klinsmann for a fair period of time. He’s now failed at all his club teams except AZ. He’s not consistent and his attitude is poor. I had hoped that AZ was his turning point, but that’s not the case. I understand loyalty to a player, but there comes a point when loyalty turns into irrationality, and I think that point is now.

    Yes, his confidence is low, but my feeling on this is ‘so what?’. I don’t want to wait around for him to recover confidence. International tournaments are about winning games, not coddling a player because he has a fragile ego. I want the US to make it through the group, to win the round of 16 game, and to compete intensely after that stage. And I don’t think that we have any opportunity to do so with Jozy leading the line. He needs to come off the bench, if at all. He wants to be the focal point in a 4-5-1 or a 4-3-3, but he’s not good enough or adaptable enough for either.

    I’m extremely excited about our chances and about a good many of our players. I don’t feel it’s reasonable to let loyalty to Jozy interfere with that. I would vastly prefer to see Iceman up top with some creative goal-scoring midfielders (i.e. Donovan, Mixx, Bradley) behind him. And EJ subbed on for Johansson in the 80th minute or so, or on for another if we need a goal and we are getting set pieces.

    Dempsey’s another story.. he’s been flat-out awful since he went to Seattle, but I still have total faith that when he puts on the US jersey he’ll perform. He’s earned that faith. If I’m wrong, pull him out, we have no shortage of talented midfielders!

  2. So what does Bradly has to say for himself ? , obviously he is not a talented player at all .In the pitch most of the time he looks lost . With his boring trot he does almost nothing important . Most of the time , his distribution is very poor . Losses possession of the ball very easy and looks very inexpert , as if afraid to make mistakes

  3. I think it’s time to look to the future-build for the future, that is where you will have more success. Build a team for the future.

  4. Maybe I’m reading too much into Ives comment “don’t be surprised if other guest trainees make the trip” but it piqued my interest. Sounds like you might know something ives? I mean of US eligible players I can’t think of any on the fence about switching besides Shawn Parker. Zelalem seems near impossible at this point and he’s not even eligible yet. Maybe Duane Holmes? Is Adam Henly playing for Blackburn again? He’d fit the on the fence profile. If they’re going to be in Germany maybe Joe Gyau but he’s not on the fence about anything or Flores but he’s no where near ready imo. Anyone have any thoughts?

  5. “That being said, don’t be surprised if we see one or two other surprise guest trainees make the trip.”
    Ives is being coy here, who is he referring to? Other duel nationals on the fence? I can only think of two, Shawn Parker and Fabian Huerzler. Though Huerzler would be a stretch. Maybe Zelalem? I know most people have given up hope on him but if it’s true that he could get citizenship through his father and he really wants to play with us I don’t think the WP would be a big issue. Wenger may be annoyed but for a talent like Zelalem I think he would deal with it. For this to work (if he wanted it) Zelalem would have to move back to the US after the season and get his passport. Then Arsenal would have to apply for a work permit, be denied then appeal. I for one think he would easily win on appeal. The thing people may not be factoring in is where does he want to live post football? Giving up the right to be an American and live here long term might be worth it for him. (End wild speculation)

  6. I think it would be a bit unfair to leave out Magee in that it is his only real chance to make a case for the May camp and he, Wondo, Gomez and Boyd are vying for essentially the same roster spot. (You can argue Magee is a midfielder, and he has some of the traits of Dempsey, Bradley, Donavon and Mix, it would be a high bar to expect him to be competing with any of those except Mix. I think he is different enough from Shea, Jones, Sasha,Williams, Zusi and Bedoya that he is not really competing with them for a spot so directly.)

  7. I think that Klinsmann will want to see if Ream could play as a left back. In this case expect this back line:
    Ream – Brooks-Packwood-Cameron and FJ as a left mid.

  8. I like Morales he is extremely underrated he can play LB/RB/CB his crossing is superb and he can dribble very well. I remember he played against ronaldo back when he played for Hertha and kept him at bay. I know peru are trying to get him to play for them at the moment.

  9. Dempsey is a BUM!!!!!!!! He stinks right now !!!!!!! If he can’t get it together, he’ll be a liability. Keep him in Texas where he can chill, chew his crud and hunt barefooted for wild turkey.

  10. With the MLS returns and injuries JK should ditch the European themed roster and go with his 1st team players whenever there isn’t a European based player that has a shot at the roster. Give Omar and Besler another game to practice their pairing and make Clint play even if he has to fly across half of the world (good practice for Brasil) because JK needs to know if Clint is just having a rough patch or if something is amiss.

    • I agree with Omar and Besler but I’d just let Dempsey get to Seattle and see if he can sort himself out there. If he can’t get off to a solid start there then I don’t know if one match in the Ukraine is going to matter much good or bad. Maybe you bring in Magee if Klinsmann thinks he deserves the look that he missed out on. Other then that the MLS guys will have the Mexico match coming up.

  11. ——————Johannsson——————

    Not sure how Shea has been doing but might as well give him one more look

  12. (I posted this on J. Green article, but will post here for more views/conversation.) To celebrate the diversity of our country and the players in our U.S. player pool, I decided to make this post. Which team do you guys think is strongest and would come out on top in a mini-round-robin tournament?? The four teams are: 1. Caucasian/Gringos; 2. African-Americans/Blacks; 3. Latinos; 4. Germericans. Let the debate begin! Enjoy.

    1. Caucasian/Gringos

    2. African-Americans/Blacks
    D. Beasley————–E. Johnson——————–J. Gyau
    ———————R. Clark————M. Edu———————-
    C. Ashe———Okugo—————Onyewu———-Yedlin

    3. Latinos
    ———————–H. Gomez/J. Agudelo————————
    Arriola———————–L. Gil———————-Villareal
    E. Castillo—-Orozco———-O. Gonzalez——DelaGarza/???

    4. Germericans
    ——————————-T. Boyd————————————-
    Shawn Parker———–J Green——————–A. Wooten
    ———————-J. Jones——–D. Williams——————-
    F. Johnson—–A. Morales—J. Brooks——-T. Chandler

  13. I am curious, since Bradley didn’t attend the January camp and he isn’t in Europe any longer, shoouldn’t he be part of the Ukraine contingent?

    • He will be training not playing, he hasn’t even filed his one time switch so he couldn’t play even if he was there in Ukraine for the game, which he won’t be beyond the training in Germany. Try to keep up.

  14. i think this about right. good pull on Morales, he certainly makes sense given all the injuries. if that is who comes in, and JK goes with his usual formation, i’d like to see:


    Kljestan plays that #8 role, so i certainly wouldn’t be opposed to him over Mix, but i’d like to see how Mix and Williams pair. if Jones ends up getting minutes in Turkey, he’ll obviously replace Williams. but i’m personally liking the idea of checking Williams out as a #6.

    CB is scary, to be honest. JAB hasn’t played much, but hopefully he’ll get minutes soon while Packwood has never even been in a senior camp. they are both so young and starting them against a strong Ukraine team, in Ukraine, could be suicide. but to me it seems like Cameron needs to get a run out at RB for at least a half and Tim Ream has been playing LB. it’s really too bad Gooch went out injured because that would at least give us one veteran at CB.

  15. As this is the last chance before the May camp, Klinsmann desperately needs to test some players in MLS and Liga MX. It’s an international fixture date and MLS and Liga MX teams will have to deal with it.

    Mike Magee, assuming he did well during training at Camp Cupcake, should be brought in for the Ukraine game. Wondow, after a great game against South Korea, should be given a shot against Ukraine. Juan Agudelo has potential to develop into a good player. But say this summer, with the USMNT and Germany tied 1-1 in the 82nd minute and the US needing a win to move out of group and Wondow and Agudelo on the bench, any coach with half a brain is going to send in Wondow, not Agudelo who after three games in Holland is not yet deserving of a call-up. And ditto with Boyd, who is a loose cannon and I shudder think of him entering a tense game in Brazil.

    I also would like very much to see Orozco, Castillo and Corona on a plane for the Ukraine friendly for testing.

    Just to note: Fabian Johnson played a full game at right back last weekend for Hoffenheim, a game they won 4-1. So will be interesting to see if the coach keeps him at right back this weekend.

    And, please, no Alfredo Morales. He’s had his chance and try again in the next cycle.

    • they’ll have the Mexico game. there is NO reason to bring in any Liga MX or MLS players. Klinsmann has said repeatedly this camp will give him a look at the European based players, which he needs.

      complain about Morales, but when you have Dolo, Chandler, Spector, and Lichaj all out injured, what else can you do?

    • I agree. Wondo and Magee ought to be given an opportunity. It’s not good to have all European and a few MLS players in there without Wondo and Magee.

      • let’s find out!

        that’s what biff’s saying I think. Not totally crazy as Klinnsman called in Evans to play RB last year against BH in Sarajevo (he played surprisingly well in that one) along with Castillo and Corona for an otherwise euro-based player group. That it’s the start of the MLS year may say no to it but I’d also like to see Magee and Wondo against this competition with this group of USMNT players

    • If I had to pick between Wondo, Aguedelo, E. Johnson, T. Boyd, H. Gomez, etc. for someone coming in at the 80th minute to try and get it done, I think Johnson has proven himself to be that guy. I agree with you that Wondo should be tested against top flight talent and this friendly is definitely a shot at it, so let’s go ahead and bring him over for the shot. It’s a friendly…why not?

      However…I would still pick Johnson for that last twenty minutes for an extra striker. Tall, Fast, can deal with a physical game, not afraid to just get in there and mix it up, jumping ability for crosses and corners. He’s a lock for my WC team.

  16. ——–—Jozy——–

  17. I would like to see Duane Holmes and Gedion Zelalem brought in at some point. Also, Andrew Wooten could get a call couldn’t he?

    • Zelalem isn’t going to happen for a while if ever. Holmes and Wooten far from the depth chart, further than Cropper and Packwood.. If there are going to be any surprise call ups outside of this list Joe Gyau could be one.

      • Still with the practices taking place in Frankfurt and Wooten currently playing for Frankfurt, JK should at least let him come and practice with the group since its just cab fare and not a flight.

      • Until Zelalem decides to put a blossoming European soccer career on hold to move to the US for 5 years to obtain citizenship… we should just let that dream die

  18. I could definitely see this:

    Jozy — Aron

    The center mids and center defense are obviously a little up in the air.

  19. Good group, wouldnt change anything. If brooks or any of the other cb’s are not available i would call in Orozco or Goodson not Gonz/Besler. Orozco & Goodson havent had a chance to start at cB since Panama and it would be worth giving them a shot and also allow Gonz/Besler to sit out a game and focus on MLS.

    These wednesday one game fifa fitures are terrible! But i like this idea of using January and March to sort out the depth chart and not trying to play a full A team yet. In May there should be very few questions left..

  20. Too bad Chandler is injured, that’s a big blow. If Klinsy wants to convince J Green to commit, he should also invite Joe Gyau, A Wooten, and invite Chandler even though he is injured. The reasoning being the more young German-Americans on the team the more comfortable he might feel.

    Gyau——————Wooten————-J Green
    ——————-J Jones——D Williams——-
    FJohnson–A Moralea–JBrooks–TChandler
    —————German fan from crowd————

    • I don’t think Gyau isn’t German American – just an American playing in Germany. Not sure it makes sense to bring in two players who aren’t all that close to being on the NT, and an injured recent outcast to the team just to try and persuade Green. Sends a pretty bad message to everyone involved.

      • Outcast? Are you referring to Chandler? He is anything but an outcast. He has plenty of friends on the U.S.national team who want him there. If health and in form, he will make the WC and should.

  21. I’d like to see Jürgen use this game to get the confidence of Jozy, Dempsey, and Jones back up, while also getting Aron some time with the first team.


    The backline is worrisome with CBs who haven’t partnered before. I could see Cameron in the middle as a result but I don’t want it. I’d rather fly out Gonzales and Besler, even if it pisses of their clubs just to get one more chance to gel with Geoff and Fabian as fullbacks. We’ll see what Jürgen is thinking soon. Also I’m 50-50 on Bradley. I’d like to see him come in but I want to see Williams and Kljestian get a chance in the middle too.

    • It’s a good idea. He has been out of the fold a bit. The question is basically Morales or Spector instead of Lichaj, and Ives has chosen Morales.

  22. I struggle to see how Johannsson fits into a fully fit starting 11. Assuming Altidore, Dempsey and Donovan are virtual locks in the starting lineup, adding ArJo leaves us lacking width and work rate on the wings. Bedoya and Zusi have both shown willingness to put in a really solid defensive shift and both have shown ability to provide good service from the wing. No need to be long winded about the quality of wingers we will be facing…
    Hate to be too cliche but the ‘super sub’ role seems like a fantastic fit for him.

  23. ————-Howard————–

    Fan’s XI

    • Hard to imagine neither Jones nor D. Williams starting. I’m personally hoping for Williams-Bradley-Mix/Kljestan triangle in the middle. If Bradley doesn’t make the trip, then both Mix and Kljestan.

      Also, even if Dempsey is on the right on paper, it seems almost a guarantee he ends up patrolling the middle where he prefers to play.

    • no Jozy?

      id start
      subs: CDM’s, Shea, Agudelo, Boyd

      • I agree with yours but Dempsey should be the CAM and then put Mix in for kljestan. And then give Shea another chance to start on the left. Love the double forward duo of the iceman and jozy!

      • idk, i prefer dempsey off to the left looking to cut in not looking to create. Jurgen certainly likes him in the middle tho..

        Shea is a bench option. if he goes to Brazil he will be an 80′ specialist and on this roster he should be one as well.

      • Brek Shea is a better player than the Haitian Altidore .
        Poor USA , with players like this man , we will never make it in a World Cup competition . Too bad we don’t have players like Brain McBride , such a great versatile player , he could be a mid fielder , or a center forward , didn’t matter , he was always there , in the thick of the action . He could score great goals , and a great heather of the ball he was . Too bad , he was ahead of his time .

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