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Pulisic, Morris headline USMNT Copa America preliminary roster

Photo by Trevor Ruszkowski/USA Today Sports

The Copa America Centenario is a little more than a month away, and Jurgen Klinsmann has made some intriguing decisions for his preliminary roster.

Headlining the U.S. Men’s National Team roster are Christian Pulisic of Borussia Dortmund and Jordan Morris of the Seattle Sounders. The 17-year-old attacker has featured often in the German Bundesliga for Dortmund since the beginning of 2016, while Morris has scored three goals in his previous three games in MLS.

Perry Kitchen, who has established himself as a key contributor for Heart of Midlothian in the Scottish Premier League this year, also makes the cut in the midfield.

Notable names missing from Klinsmann’s 40-man roster include Brek Shea of Orlando City SC and Jorge Villafana of Santos Laguna.

Klinsmann will have to reduce his roster to 23 players by May 20, with the U.S. playing the first of three pre-Copa America friendlies on May 22 against Puerto Rico.

The USMNT begins its group stage competition against Colombia on June 3.

Here is the USMNT’s preliminary roster:

GOALKEEPERS: David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Ethan Horvath (Molde), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

DEFENDERS: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Ventura Alvarado (Club America), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Monterrey), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest), Matt Miazga (Chelsea FC), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), Tim Ream (Fulham), DeAndre Yedlin (Sunderland)

MIDFIELDERS: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (FC Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Jermaine Jones (Colorado Rapids), Perry Kitchen (Heart of Midlothian), Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution), Danny Williams (Reading FC), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

FORWARDS: Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Ethan Finlay (Columbus Crew), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (Union Berlin), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)

What do you think of the preliminary roster? Who are the surprise additions?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I’m so excited to take my kids for their first caps each against Paraguay in Philly. Not thrilled about the roster, but Villafana is the only major exclusion.

    • Wondo is the leading goal scorer in MLS that deserves to at least be on the list, that’s more than Altidore, Dempsey, Morris, and Finlay combined.

      Shea is the lowest rated American LB with more than 5 MLS appearance by whoscored (I don’t think that’s a be all end all, but its hard to find data for defenders). He had an amazing goal, but should have been red carded in the same game. He shouldn’t have even been on the pitch to score if the referee had judged it properly. Second, the last season Brek played more than 20 matches was 2012, might be best just to leave him alone this Summer and let him get some rhythm.

  2. A couple quick points

    1. Almost half of these guys won’t make the 23 man roster so we should probably chill out a little bit about guys who are on the roster. But, if you don’t want Dempsey, Altidore, Bradley, or Jones you should definitely be preparing yourself for disappointment.

    2. Miazga, Acosta, Pulisic, Kitchen, Nagbe, Morris, Wood, Finlay, Birnbaum and Horvath are all players 25 years old or younger who would be making their first appearance in a major international competition (1/4 of the roster) so there is still plenty of youth on the 40 man. I would think you would have a good shot of at least a 4th of them making the 23 as well.

    • yep, this is a pretty good roster–decent mix of youth and experience, not too many glaring exclusions or inclusions. of course, when we see the final 23, all hell will break loose. 🙂

      • I don’t think we’ll see too many surprises, it will be pretty close to the Guatemala roster I would assume. I would guess something very close to this (what I think will be, not what I would pick).

        GK: Howard, Guzan, Bingham (MLS will take a break for group stage Molde is in season)
        Def: Cameron, Brooks, Besler, Castillo (if his toe is better), Yedlin, Ream, Birnbaum
        Mid: Bradley, Jones, Zusi, Beckerman, Johnson, Nagbe, Bedoya
        For: Wood, Altidore, Dempsey, Pulisic, Morris, Zardes

        Some might depend on formation if we are going to play 4-3-3 I think FabJo would play LB and open up a spot for Finlay or Nguyen, 4-4-2 you wouldn’t need 6 forwards so you might bring in Williams or Kitchen.

    • Judging from what Klinsmann said, it seems to me that he wants to give experience to promising youngsters, but he wants the team to get out of the group. If he plays too many young guys the team could be embarrassed. So, he needs to have a strong core of the veteran players while sprinkling in the youngsters at various times and places. Maybe only one or two of the young guys like Pulisic or Morris will get a start, with a lot of sub opportunities for the younger players. You can bet that if the US played a lot of the younger players for much of the games and the US did poorly a lot of the same people complaining about the veterans being brought in would then complain to high heaven about how badly the team did. So, Klinsman has to play enough veteran players to do well. Sort of a CYA thing I think.

      • “Klinsman has to play enough veteran players to do well. Sort of a CYA thing I think.”

        agreed, but then again, i think that’s what he did at last year’s gold cup, and we all know how that worked out.

      • to be clear: we all found out that there was never a need for him to cover his ass.

  3. The U23s (and younger) are missing out on “big” tournament expirience, and JK leaves home Hyndman, Zelalem, Rubin, Kieswetter, Green, and CCV for Wondo, Beckerman, Zusi, Dempsey, Jones, and Evans?

    Used to be a JK supporter…but now I say can him.

    • This summer could actually be more important for some young player to be with there club. Arsenal has already said that Zelalem is going to be with the team and get a look. Hyndman could very well be on the move, Rubin is coming off an injury still, Kieswetter needs a new club, hasn’t even been playing for the second team, Green needs a loan or something to happen.

      Just feel like for a number of guys getting there club situation sorted and trying to break into a club is more important at the moment.

    • So the same group that couldn’t beat Colombia’s U23s and were pretty much dominated home and away now should open the tournament with Colombia’s full squad. I am not sure I see the reason in that.

      There are friendlies this fall and next January, and a Gold Cup next Summer where those players you mentioned, none of which are regulars on their club teams can find minutes, not in a tournament that we could compete in.

      • i don’t believe he was saying that we start the u-23 team in the copa, just that he would’ve liked to see more of those players included in the 40 over some players who are obviously not our future. even if they don’t get many minutes, if any, i think there’s something to be said for just being there and competing with national team veterans for a tournament roster spot.

      • I don’t know when you throw in guys like Dempsey should be left home and your no longer a JK supporter because of the roster don’t think he was saying bring the guys on the road trip for some experience.

      • Am I right in thinking this 40 man isn’t actually ever going to get together? He has to cut it to 23 by May 20 so that should be the roster we all nitpick and complain about.

      • Slow- I would think not, my guess is they have a pretty good idea of who the 23 man roster will be and the 40 is just in case guys get injured in the next three weeks.

      • @johnnyrazor

        oh yeah, i’m not agreeing with his whole comment–dempsey and jones, at the very least, should absolutely be there, and i certainly can’t imagine this preliminary roster being the tipping point on klinsmann for anybody–just think your assumption that he wanted to start the u-23 lineup at the copa was way off.

    • I agree. Zusi had only lucky corner, and was worthless holding the ball or crossing the ball, in the World Cup. Beckerman and Evans are only great against C level teams, Besler was a crap at the World Cup, and USNT stop having depending Old Vets to develop new USNT players. Let MLS have their “stars” for the Summer.

  4. Some of you are missing the point about this being a roster to win…this isn’t about developing young talent. Compliments about Beckerman and Jermiane? Really!??

    Those guys are solid. I wouldn’t rather be anyone else RIGHT NOW. Ask me in two years though…likely to change my mind when WC rolls around

    • Who says you can’t do both get good results and develop young players? All teams around the world deal with a generational change but if you notice they keep the very experienced players at important moments and slowly integrate newer younger players into the mix under the supervision and guidance of the more experienced players to help them adapt to the system of play! We do have a system? Right??

    • The “Old Guard” players (Beckerman, Jones, Evans, Rimando, etc…) were all part of the Gold Cup Tournament in 2015. A tournament that actually mattered, (as apposed to the Copa which means nothing); at tournament in which they finished with the worst record since CONCACAF stopped inviting guest nations. These same players were part of the poor performance against Mexico in the CONCACAF Cup playoff game. What makes you think that these same players are going to produce during the Copa America Tournament?
      I would much rather we took young, inexperienced squad to the Copa and take our chances, than take a squad of old players who have failed massively in the most recent meaningful matches/tournament.
      It is time to move on from the “Old Guard” and move towards the future.

  5. WOW. We’re regressing….Many these players are old losers without future in the World Cup, and some these old losers were useless in the World Cup.

    • There’s not a lot to get excited about behind the Howard, Donovan and Dempsey era, unfortunately. Some hype and potential around a select few but it’s pretty bleak.

  6. Neither here nor there but while going over that list I just realized we could field an all english back line.

    Reem- Jeff- Mazda- YoYo



    By 2018 we could have 3 bundsliga forwards (pulisic, wood, Gyau) and 3 UK midfielders (Williams, hyndman, kitchen) not a bad lineup.

    Hyndman Williams

    I’m not hoping for it but cool to see the PROGRESS with our national team. 10 years ago we could NOT have made up a total lineup of any sort of complete quality imho

    • Canouse is a name that kind of gets forgotten with the up and coming players at DM. Been doing well for Hoffenheim’s second team made an appearance for the first team. Was really good with the U20s before getting hurt. Also a PA classics product like Pulisic.

    • I disagree just by the fact that many of these players are playing in First division teams in good European leagues gives the N.T. a natural level up. Combined with the youngsters out of the pipeline recently we are in one of the best all time situations. That is why it’s depressing to see the N.T. perform so badly and that is why i believe JK is only a mediocre coach at best! Hell we’ve passed Mexico up in number of players playing in europe and we can practically field 11 players getting active minutes in euro teams yet can’t put together a winning team to beat Mexico or Costa Rica? Disgusting!! If we could only get a good coach to fully utilize these player’s potential in their optimal positions and get them to play as a cohesive unit. Ok. Jk fanboys let it Rain!!!

    • maybe i’m reading the last part wrong, but in my opinion, the lineup you listed isn’t “any sort of complete quality” either–i think it would be pretty bad. it sounds more like when ives would post his 4-years-out world cup projections (just for fun), and we would be all THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT, forgetting that the vast majority of prospects don’t pan out, and that maybe will packwood and josh gatt were never going to be world-beaters in any case.

      i’m excited about pulisic (of course) and zelalem (to a much lesser extent), but i don’t really see any other up-and-comers that i’m holding my breath for.

      the promising thing is that i feel like, quantity-wise, we’re in a much better place with prospects than 10 years ago, and hopefully just increasing that total number will increase the odds that we can get some success out of them.

      • Not trying to hype younger players but there are a few out there that are impressing like ccv, epb, Josh perez, haji wright, Del la Torre and Joel Sonora. Just to name a few

      • my point is that we’ve had younger players “impressing” before, but it’s a huge leap from reserve squads to first teams in a lot of the bigger leagues, not to mention the ever-present risk of injury, and just other random variables that trip up careers. as i said in my original comment, maybe our solution is just to have such a high quantity of prospects that 23 good ones are bound to turn up.

      • Nate I’m not trying to argue with u, I’m just tired of all the people saying its all down hill. I can’t remember when the USMNT had had so many young prospects playing for clubs in Europe and I know some are reserves but would they be better off there or in mls academies. I like the mls and think it’s getting better but there is a positive youth movement from 17 to 22 that looks better than I’ve seen the US ever have. The gap from say 28 to 23 in the US players is awful

  7. Disappointed with the inclusion of some of these players in the preliminary 40….
    Rimando, Evans, Orozco, Diskerud, Beckerman, Jones, & Wondo
    Would much rather seen younger talents/options called in to compete
    Yarbrough, Villafana, Lleget, Hyndman, Agudelo, & Rubin

    The OLD Guard didn’t help us in the 2015 Gold Cup, there is no reason to believe that they’ll help us in 2016 and beyond. Diskerud hasn’t been playing all that well with NYCFC, so see no reason for him to be there. There is no reason to have 2 Keepers who are close to being 40 on the team. I’m getting tired of seeing the same dead ends called up and taking valuable time away from young players who may actually be able to do something for this team if given a chance.

      • I think he should be brought into camp, but saying he is better than all the players you mention is rather ridiculous. He has played one season with the Galaxy and before that he played in only one Cup game for West Ham and has never played for the national team.

      • Finlay had 12 goals and 13 assists last year and has 1 goal and 2 assists this year despite a poor start.

        Zardes had 6 and 4 last year after 16 and 2 the year before, he has 4 and 2 already this season.

        Lletget had 7 goals and 2 assists last year and just 2 assists this year. So I am not sure where you are getting the Lletget is so better than them.

        Bedoya, who knows hard to compare Ligue 1 to MLS, pretty sure most people would say France is better. Bedoya has played 9 season in Europe, granted half of that in Sweden, but he still broke in, Lletget didn’t.

  8. Really thought we might see Fafa on the 40 man list, I guess he was just a motivator for Gyasi and Jordan. Still wouldn’t mind seeing him in PR. Wonder if Haiti tried to call him in?

    • The only thing I can see is what I’ve suggested before is that Villafana needs a rest after being in season for the last 15 months going straight from MLS Cup to start of Liga Mx season. Or there is a character issue that hasn’t ever come to light, but that seems unlikely in the internet age.

      • “Villafana needs a rest after being in season for the last 15 months”

        yeah but i really wanted to see him in the copa america. i mean, what about what *i* need?

  9. If Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore start and are the midfield / Striker tandem for the USMNT, for the COPA AMERICA…..WE ARE IN TROUBLE. Wow…..Their lazy play even burnt out Giovinco today versus Portland Timbers!!!!
    No impact
    No spark
    No dynamic creativity
    Two NATIONAL TEAM PLAYERS in areas with a direct impact on goals for the team – looked flat footed. To compete against Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, Columbia, Paraguay or Costa Rica you have to AT LEAST be EFFECTIVE (just effective!!!) against Portland.


    • I hope Klinsmann doesn’t think Acosta is a left back, He was was targeted by Colombia’s U23 side over and over. Rather he made it as a DM.

      • At age 20 no one thought Shea was a left back either, in fact I think he was still playing forward at that age. Now we’ll see three or four comments about how its a travesty that he wasn’t called in to be the LB.

      • Shea wasn’t getting called into the senior national team at 20 either. Sure maybe Acosta could move to left back, play the position week in and out and become the best left back the US has ever had. However right now he’s not very good there.

      • Did some research Shea’s first call up was at age 18 against Barbados, but he didn’t play in any USMNT games until age 20. Although he did play some Center back early on for Dallas I found out, I guess if your 6’3 why not.

      • Fair enough then, at least it’s some young blood in the player pool, I do think he is talented

      • Something to be said also for a lot of young DMs, with Trapp, Canouse, Acosta, and Kitchen all under 25, and with DM being a spot were players tend to play later into their careers might be a good career move for him anyway. If he can move to LB he’ll be in the conversation at LB for 10 years and probably start in MLS for twelve.

      • Philip Lahm is not a right back, wait no he’s not a dm, or I forget was it cam? I don’t know anymore I give up.

      • philipp lahm was good/versatile enough at his peak (and possibly still) to play any outfield position with some success. jack’s whole point was that acosta was not good enough at left back for the u-23s, so he’d like to see him at his strongest position with the senior team.

      • I understood his point but, great left backs can be formed. One of the greats, Bixente Lizarazu, was transformed from wide midfielder to left back around the same age, by the national team coach. A lot of this position is tactical and better to start young.

        I disagree, therefore. You all seem to be against the principle of experimentation, which is an impoverished way to go about getting better at something.

      • “You all seem to be against the principle of experimentation”

        how much experimentation? again, jack’s viewpoint came from acosta underperforming as a left back at the u-23 level, which some might call an experiment. what if he underperforms as a left back at the copa america as well? would it then be okay to decide that maybe he shouldn’t play there, or is that still “against the principle of experimentation”?

        acosta might or might not become a great left back, but for now, it’s just as easy to say that you seem to be against the principle of extrapolation.

    • ooh, consider my curiosity piqued. brb, playing portland vs. colombia, paraguay, and costa rica in fifa2016.

    • You say your speechless, but come on how could you not have anticipated that our captain and 3rd all time scorer were going to be on the 40 man roster.

      As far as today goes, it was Jozy’s worst game of the season, but really the entire team looked flat footed except on free kicks. Perhaps inserting Endoh or playing yet another different formation had something to do with that.

      Bradley was the fourth highest rated player in the entire game, but since he was playing DM it was harder to notice. Perhaps you didn’t notice that Nagbe was even playing in part because of MBs work. One of Gleeson’s incredible saves stopped a sure goal from the captain as well.

    • In trouble… because of those two guys? I thought we’d be in trouble b/c of:
      1. Lack of depth
      2. Lack of consistency
      3. Lack of players overseas
      4. Lack of youth in key positions
      5. Lack of coach

  10. so for the first friendly with no mls players or probably no CP22 available




    • I think we might see some other guys not on the 40 called in for that week as if you look there’s plenty of Defenders and GKs, but only 6 forwards/midfielders.

      • so do u think they might bring in a few of the younger guys like Hyndman, Rubin, arriola and zelalem for that first one

      • Lichaj once at LB this season and Chandler none, not sure those are who you want at left back on a regular basis, especially Timmy he has enough trouble on his good side.

      • lichaj used to play pretty regularly at left back, and he’s pretty consistently good-not-great on either side. timmy’s also played left back quite a few times for us as well (not sure how much at club level), with varying degrees of success–but then, i’d argue that his performances at right back have been all over the place as well, so maybe that’s just his form of consistency.

      • Ream and probably Acosta will get most of the game time at LB until Castillo joins the fray but I agree that Castillo just doesnt do it for me period! I think we’ll see Ream come out as the number 1 LB for Copa and although he doesn’t get forward like a Castillo would he’s great a defending and his positioning is good plus his passing out of the back is probably best in the pool. I really hope Lichaj makes some noise this time around but he’ll have a battle on his hands for game time if JK decides to play Yedlin at his club position

    • A lot of people have been screaming for his addition. Let’s hope he makes the most of it (unlike the other popular name Kljestian who lays an egg nearly every call up).

      • Would it surprise you to learn that the last time Kljestan got called up Jurgen played him out of position out on the left wing?

      • I don’t profess to be an expert on Kljestan but the one time I saw his slow a&# play against PSG in champions league he was out on the left wing.

    • It could be that he turned down the call for one of two reasons or both. The guy has not had a break since two winters ago. That could lead to injury and needs a rest. He could also be waiting for a Mexico call up. JK could have made the call but was told not this time.


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