Top Stories

Altidore, Morris, Pulisic headline USMNT roster for World Cup qualifiers


Heading into a pair of crucial World Cup qualifiers, the U.S. Men’s National Team will rely on a roster full of familiar faces.

Jurgen Klinsmann has called upon a 26-player roster for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers as the U.S. looks to clinch a spot in the Hexagonal round. The USMNT kicks off the final two matches of group play on Friday at St. Vincent & the Grenadines before hosting Trinidad & Tobago in Jacksonville for Group C’s final match. The USMNT can clinch a spot in the Hexagonal with two wins, while a win over St. Vincent & the Grenadines paired with a T&T win over Honduras could see the U.S. seal advancement as soon as Friday night.

In total, Klinsmann has selected 19 of the 23 players from the Copa America roster, and the numbers would have been higher if not for the absence of Clint Dempsey and Gyasi Zardes. Dempsey misses out as he continues to undergo treatment for an irregular heartbeat, while Zardes is sidelined after picking up an injury with the LA Galaxy in Saturday’s 0-0 draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Michael Bradley and Michael Orozco will both be suspended for the trip to St. Vincent & the Grenadines but will join up with the team ahead of the T&T clash.

While the roster is headlined by familiar faces like Jozy Altidore, Fabian Johnson and Brad Guzan, several younger options are also included, headlined by Christian Pulisic and Jordan Morris. In addition to the attacking duo, Kellyn Acosta, Paul Arriola, Caleb Stanko and Rubio Rubin headline the younger players included onthe roster.

Here’s a closer look at the USMNT roster:

GOALKEEPERS: Brad Guzan (Middlesbrough), Ethan Horvath (Molde FC), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids)

DEFENDERS: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), John Brooks (Hertha BSC), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Monchengladbach), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle)

MIDFIELDERS: Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Jermaine Jones (Colorado Rapids), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Caleb Stanko (FC Vaduz), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

FORWARDS: Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Rubio Rubin (FC Utrecht), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (Hamburg SV)

What do you think of the roster? Any notable exclusions? Which player stand out?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Has anyone considered that Wondo sets a great example in training that might come in useful with a youthful roster? This is what I have heard. And he is the only forward that actually pressures defense without the ball. I respect that. Take is easy on the ol’ gum chewer!

  2. I like Wondo, but he is starting to slow his scoring pace in MLS. Kinda surprised Aron Johannsson did not get called in.

    Beckerman is needed with Bradley out for the first game and Jones likely not to see many minutes. Whatever you want to say about old and slow regarding Beckerman is probably right, but he does such a good job of reading the game and defusing the other team’s attacks without the need for speed that he is still useful and at DM. he seldom needs to get into foot races since he tends to keep the game in front of him quite well so the speed thing is not too often that important.

  3. I agree about Wondo and Beckerman–Enough already! I hope he calls in Villafana in January. He keeps playing well in Mexico at LB, a position of need and it’s about time he gets a look see. I can understand not getting called in without international experience, but his time and performance in Mexico merits a call in.

    • I think you were asking about Haji Wright? Check out Baby Nats Abroad on twitter they have video of his two assists last week.

  4. No Chandler. I’m not complaining, of course, but it’s interesting how he never plays in away CONCACAF games. I guess must have some kind of an agreement with JK — Timothy doesn’t like the inconvenience of flying and playing in Central America and the Caribbeans.

    • An interesting conspiracy theory, Chandler at first declined call ups in the opening rounds(home and away) of the last WC qualifiers out of questions “over his international identity”, he fell out of favor following his cap tying event at Honduras in 2013 and wasn’t called for any matches home, away, or neutral until over a year later. The only other opportunities for him to play on the road in CONCACAF came at TnT where he had been injured much of the fall playing only four matches from August to the November 17 match and at Guatemala where he had played one match in the previous two months. He was also involved in the relegation playoff and then injured before the PR match this Spring.

      • Terribly convenient how he “keeps falling out of favor” or gets injured when it’s time for away CONCACAF games. So, what is it now: out of favor? injured? tired?

        And by the way, he didn’t just fall out of favor in 2013 following the Honduras games; he wasn’t sure if he wanted to play for the USMNT. But when qualifiers were over and the team made it to Brazil, he was sure again.

      • I just provide the information you are welcome to whatever opinion you want (there were 24 matches he wasn’t called in for from @Honduras and his next call up against Azerbijan and only 3 were road games in CONCACAF). And as you said I don’t think you or anyone ever really complain when he isn’t called in anyway. Its not the craziest JK doesn’t call them in conspiracy theory I’ve ever heard.

  5. Wondo is actually extra pointless against bunkering teams. Might as well put Birmbaum at FW. He is the best header of the ball in the entire pool. Fast wingers to win lots of corners.

    Wait….I forget we literally have wasted 100% of our set piece opportunities for years now. Nevermind….pass the ball endlessly with no purpose instead.

    • as much as i dislike wondo, a player like him has a place in Friday’s game. he is certainly not the wondo of 2012 any more tho… you make a good point about wingers, Zusi is good at providing this but I was hoping to see Finlay in this group.

  6. Regarding wondo, I wish it said 25 players and Wondo will participate in training, possibly get some garbage minutes in SVG if a hurricane hits the island and we send Bobby Wood home early.
    There is another group of callups like Beckerman, Altidore, etc that have proved to be worthless against higher competition and I wish their time was going to better younger options but in this ‘win now’ situation against Caribbean opponents why not go with the vets in good form.
    Jones, is injured and has not played in a month and a idea what JK needs to see there.
    Looking past all of that..we have some great players in good form especially along the backline. Let’s get 6 points and start talking about the HEX!

    • Beto often you are spot on, but this time not so much

      Notable Jozy Goals in the last 3 years
      Germany 2013 (hmm I think Germany was ok in Brazil the next year)
      Bosnia 2013(hat trick on the road against WC qualifier)
      Nigeria 2014(brace against WC qualified team)
      Colombia 2014 (Colombia did ok in Brazil too)
      Chile 2015 (back to back Copa America winners)
      Peru 2015 (finished 3rd in that Summer’s Copa America and won there group this Summer)

      He also has twelve goals in World Cup qualifying, his 2 in 6 gold cup games is underwhelming, and no WC goals in 4 matches plus 20 minutes is disappointing I’ll admit that. Let’s not forget he scored the game winner in the US’s biggest victory in the modern era in the 2009 Confed Cup against Spain which ended their big unbeaten streak (you know the Euro Champs in 2008 and 2012 and WC champs in 2010).

      To mention Jozy (age 26) in the same breath as Beckerman(34) Wondo (33) is ridiculous or to insinuate there are better younger options who deserved a call up over him, name some names that have had actual success at the professional level or international level? In case someone wants to complain that the Dutch league doesn’t count because there is no defense played Rubin would have to average 1.3 goals a game in his next 26 matches just to tie Jozy’s scoring in the Eredivisie over the 67 matches Jozy played. AJ scored 29 (J37) in 60 matches which is pretty similar, but he is only one year younger and has not been near as prolific as Jozy for the Nats. I get it he’s beeen around for nine years at the Nat level, but that’s because no one can beat him out.

      Again the anti-Jozy crowd (any of you doesn’t have to be Beto) name me a forward that is fit and has a resume that is better than Jozy’s over the last three years that isn’t on this roster. Just one name, that’s all I want to hear one name.

      • a bit harsh, yes and sure there have been some moments (like vs. Spain, a lot of your other examples were friendlies vs. good teams, not great teams). but I stand by my summary of Jozy. In baseball they call them 4A players; dominate at the AAA level but inconsistent at the MLB level.

        either way these next two games should be his kinds of games, and some of the other guys on this list (of different ages but also fit this category). so ya run wild in concacaf, but I am just saying that by 2018 we better be looking at other options.

      • He’s way more than the journeyman you describe, think Jason Heyward, rookie of the year, some gold gloves, and then some really average years thrown in.

        I still would like someone to name a forward who deserved a call up over Jozy and defend with something other than he’s young. Despite his ups and downs Jozy still has better pro stats than anyone out there right now.

    • Two guesses and they are guesses
      1) Panicked when Dempsey became unavailable late this week
      2) Wondo is the kind of poacher that can get goals against a bunkering defense like St VG. He’s not going to be pretty, but with 9 or 10 defenders in the box he might be able to tap one home.

  7. Orozco has been starting for Tijuana who is leading liga mx, and been at LB so maybe Fabian gets pushed to LW against St Vincent and the Grenadines and then back to LB. Didn’t he start on the wing last fall

  8. obviously I liked the new players : acosta, Arriola,
    Stanko, but I disagree with most of the call, I
    would choose: Goalkeepers: Guzan, Howard,
    horvath. defense: Yedlin, acosta, Fabian
    Johnson, Brooks, Cameron, Birnbaum,
    González and Rosenberry. midfield: Bradley,
    Stanko, Nagbe, bedoya, gooch, Arriola,
    Kitchen. attack: Pulisic, Morris, wood,
    altidore and Rubin. players like orozco and
    Wondo are no longer needed and beckerman,
    Zusi, Jones, besler can still serve but I think
    they should not be on the list

    • Keep in mind JK and most managers don’t like to bring in brand new guys in qualifiers even if its St VG.

      Without Bradley for the first match if not for Zusi and Jones, your roster would only have Bedoya with more than 10 caps, Nagbe (10) Pulisic (6) Gooch (0), Arriola (1) Kitchen (4) Stanko (0). Also there is a chance we might need a result against TnT so still good to have a couple vets who can handle Concacaf competition but not Argentina and Colombia.

      • they have fewer games and more technical, if
        they have no chance to gain experience now,
        when will? in the World Cup?

      • The first goal is to get to the Hex, which means winning on a crummy field in hot and muggy St. Vincent. The US has struggled at these tiny island minnows in the past, winning but only by a goal sometimes late (’06 Grenada 3-2, ’08 Barbados 1-0, ’08 Cuba 1-0, Antigua and Barbuda 2-1 90th minute goal) you put out a youth squad who panics on Friday and it could all be over. Win this game test the young guys against Cuba and N.Zealand, in January and at next Summers Gold Cup.

  9. Ummm what about Villafana or Kitchen? This roster is way too stagnant. Wondolowski and Beckerman shouldn’t be there, and neither should Zusi. Same old same old from JK.

    • He was not named for Ireland’s friendlies this week nor England. He has played 257 minutes over the last week, probably just giving him a rest.

  10. For those of you who are complaining about Wondo’s inclusion, remember how “Wondowlowski” got a hat trick against Belize, and recall that this round’s opponents aren’t that much better. (Well, maybe T&T is, but trust me–Bobby Wood will play in that one, and we KNOW what he did yesterday!)

    • That hat trick came over 3 yrs ago. What has he done for the national team since that Gold Cup Tournament?….Answer….NOTHING. Wondo has been a waste of a roster spot since before the 2014 WC and has no place on this team when other options could benefit from being with the team (Johannsson, Green, Gooch, etc….).

  11. I have to say Wondo and Beckerman feels like JK is just giving people the finger. I thought Zusi played well enough with the nats this year that he is good enough for Concacaf opponents. Not sure about Jones he hasn’t played for Colorado since beginning of July, when he played one match after returning from Copa. We could still see different players for TnT if qualification is assured. Remember CP flew in for Guatemala home, but not the away leg as did Zusi.

  12. I would’ve thought that Gooch instead of Wondo was a forgone conclusion. I don’t care that they aren’t in the same position. I just don’t get it. Is Klinsmann just toying with our emotions when he continues to bring Wondo in? Did he not witness the Argentina game?

    • Gooch played 257 minutes over the last seven days, disappointed, but it probably makes sense to let him stay at Sunderland this time. Green over Wondo would make more sense or even Finlay who is on a hot streak over the last few weeks. Wondo has been pretty cold since the Copa just two goals in 10 matches.

    • JK’s feelings on MLS are pretty well known. I wonder if his assistants even bring up guys like Kljestan or Hedges anymore.

      • I know stats aren’t everything but both are 30
        Kljestan last 2 years 13 goals, 29 assists
        Zusi last 4 years 14 goals 25 assists
        So Kljestans put up better numbers in the last 2 then what Zusis done the last 4

      • Hedges and Zimmerman are the best CB pair in MLS right now. Not sure if either are better than Brooks, but having the two CB on the Nats that work together day in day out would be pretty amazing. I think Zim will work his way into the Nats but not sure why Klinsman does not favor Hedges.

      • DLOA is kidding, because people tend to throw in anyone whose hot since Mullins hit a hat trick last night but had only 2 goals all season before then. Hedges and Zimmerman are a good tandem in MLS, but are not anywhere near the way Cameron and Brooks were playing together this Summer. There are 13 MLS players on the roster and could have been as many as three more if not for injuries to Dempsey, Zardes, and Birnbaum this weekend.

  13. With Zardes and Bradley out for first game, will we see Nagbe or Pulisic or both start? I kind of figure Bedoya could move inside. But isnt Jones coming off an injury? my first thought without much thought: Guzan(i prefer Howard)
    Yedlin Cameron. Brooks. Besler

    Fabian. Jones. Bedoya

    Pulisic. Jozy. Wood

    • You really believe that Jones, who hasn’t played a minute in 4 weeks due to a knee injury, is the best option to start as the central midfielder?
      With Bradley suspended for the first game JK should have brought a more in form and accomplished, but younger CM than Jones & Beckerman. This would have been a prime opportunity to give Kitchen a start or bring either Williams/Morales back into the fold.

  14. I would be curious to see what it would take for JK to move on from guys like Beckerman, Zusi, and Wondo. All three have shown in the past year or so that they are not particularly great for the National Team anymore. A guy like Kljestan is clearly in better club form than Zusi. It would be interesting to hear an analyst who has managed a national team before comment on some of these selections.

    • Different types of players, kljestan is a 10, which klinsi doesnt really play with, which you can see with the lack of inclusion of someone like nguyen. Also kljestan hasnt done much with the nats, while zusi at times can put in a solid performance.

  15. Other than wondo and beckerman not to bad. Thought JK could have cap tied some of the younger players in the first game like gooch and ccv after they got out to a nice lead in second half like they did with miazga last fall

    • The inclusion Wondo, Beckerman, & Orozco are beyond explanation. These players should have been dropped from the player pool after poor performances against Guatemala the Copa America. I just don’t understand why these player continue to get called in.
      Additionally the inclusion of Jones is odd. Jones has been sidelined for 4 weeks due to a knee injury. There is no way that he’s match fit not having played for so long.

      • beckerman is a nice specialist to have available in specific situations, and orozco provides flexibility and cover as he can play across the back line. jones seems like a “security blanket” call.

        i have no explanation for wondo.

Leave a Comment