Jurgen Klinsmann has chosen his 20-man roster for the United States' final two World Cup qualifiers and, as promised, he has picked the best players available to him. There was speculation that the U.S. might use a young and experimental squad for the matches against Jamaica and Panama because they have already qualified for the World Cup, but Klinsmann insisted that it is important to keep building towards Brazil and this roster is indicative of that.
The only obvious first choice players who have been left off the roster are Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey and Fabian Johnson, but all three have been sidelined in recent weeks with injuries so they were not available for selection. John Anthony Brooks has also been left off the team with an injured elbow, which means the U.S. will not be able to cap-tie him until the World Cup or 2015 Gold Cup.
With Dempsey out, Klinsmann will have to pick a new captain, and he can chose from a slew of experienced players like Tim Howard, DaMarcus Beasley, Jermaine Jones or Landon Donovan.
There is little to be read into this roster, with all of it just about as expected, but the one thing it does do is just about confirm Brad Evans' spot as the Americans' first choice right back because Klinsmann hasn't even bothered to call in a challenger at the position. Nobody would have guessed this would be the case earlier this year, but a strong summer and the injury, form and/or attitude problems of everyone ahead of him gave him an opportunity that he has taken advantage of.
The U.S. will play Jamaica on Friday, October 11 in Kansas City, KS before wrapping up World Cup qualifying four days later in Panama. Because the Americans have already clinched a spot in Brazil and a seed at the World Cup is near impossible after FIFA announced that the world rankings will determine who is in Pot 1, there is little for the U.S. to play for, but they could finish atop the Hex, which is good for bragging rights.
Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan, Tim Howard, Nick Rimando
Defenders: DaMarcus Beasley, Matt Besler, Geoff Cameron, Edgar Castillo, Brad Evans, Omar Gonzalez
Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman, Aleandro Bedoya, Mix Diskerud, Jermaine Jones, Sacha Kljestan, Graham Zusi
Forwards: Jozy Altidore, Terrence Boyd, Landon Donovan, Aron Johannsson, Eddie Johnson