KENYA BROWN - Monday, August 29, 2016
US national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has decided to go with a veteran-laden team as he revealed his 26-man roster for the team's September World Cup qualifying games.
Klinsmann has selected 19 players that participated in this summer's Copa America Centenario.
Returning to the team for the pair of qualifiers will be Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore. The 26-year-old, who had to pull out of the Copa America due to a recurring hamstring injury, appears to be fit and has been scoring goals for the MLS side. It is expected that he will lead the attack, with Bobby Wood, Jordan Morris, Rubio Rubin and Chris Wondolowski looking to partner up top.
The US will be missing two of their key attacking players in Clint Dempsey and Gyasi Zardes. The Seattle Sounders front man has been ruled out as he has been diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat, while the LA Galaxy attacker will not play due to injury.
In the midfield, captain Michael Bradley will miss the team's first game against St. Vincent and the Grenadines to serve a suspension due to an accumulation of yellow cards. Colorado Rapids midfielder Jermaine Jones has been called despite not playing for the past few weeks due to a knee injury.
With the pair missing, Darlington Nagbe and Christian Pulisic, who both performed well in the lead up to the Copa, will have ample opportunities to get more playing time.
There were surprise call ups for Paul Arriola and Caleb Stanko.
Stanko, who has been sent out on loan to FC Vaduz in the Swiss Super League by German Bundesliga side SC Freiburg, will be making his return to the team since receiving a call up for their game against Puerto Rico in May.
Geoff Cameron, John Brooks, DeAndre Yedlin, and Fabian Johnson return to the team take up defensive duties. Omar Gonzalez and Kellyn Acosta have also been added to the roster.
Tim Howard, Brad Guzan and Ethan Horvath round out the roster in the goalkeeper position.
The US currently sits in second place in the Group C on seven points, three points behind Trinidad and Tobago, and will need results to go their way if they are to qualify for the Hexagonal. A win over St. Vincent and the Grenadines combined with a win by Trinidad and Tobago over Guatemala will see them advance with a game to spare. If the US win their game and the other ends in a tie, the Americans will be guaranteed a spot in the next round. However, if Guatemala defeat Trinidad and Tobago, it will come down to the last group games to determine which teams advance to the Hex.
These predicaments have not been overlooked by Klinsmann as he prepares the team for the critical qualifiers.
"We are preparing for these two games very seriously with a lot of urgency because we want to finish off our group in first place if possible, and this group of players gets the chance to do that," said Klinsmann on the US Soccer website.
The US will take the long journey to St. Vincent and the Grenadines to face the team on Sept. 2 and then head back to home for their final group game against Trinidad and Tobago four days later.
Guzan, Brad (Middlesbrough)
Horvath, Ethan (Molde FC)
Howard, Tim (Colorado Rapids)
Acosta, Kellyn (FC Dallas),
Besler, Matt (Sporting Kansas City)
Birnbaum, Steve (D.C. United)
Brooks, John (Hertha BSC)
Cameron, Geoff (Stoke City)
Johnson, Fabian (Borussia Monchengladbach)
Orozco, Michael (Club Tijuana)
Yedlin, DeAndre (Newcastle United)
Arriola, Paul (Club Tijuana)
Beckerman, Kyle (Real Salt Lake)
Bedoya, Alejandro (Philadelphia Union)
Bradley, Michael (Toronto FC)
Jones, Jermaine (Colorado Rapids)
Nagbe, Darlington (Portland Timbers)
Pulisic, Christian (Borussia Dortmund)
Stanko, Caleb (FC Vaduz)
Zusi, Graham (Sporting Kansas City)
Altidore, Jozy (Toronto FC)
Morris, Jordan (Seattle Sounders FC)
Rubin, Rubio (FC Utrecht)
Wondolowski, Chris (San Jose Earthquakes)
Wood, Bobby (Hamburg SV)