With the all-important Confederations Cup playoff match against Mexico approaching rapidly, it appears that Jurgen Klinsmann is opting for experience over youth. Tim Howard and DaMarcus Beasley will be named to the United States roster for the two September friendlies in preparation for the huge match, U.S. Soccer confirmed on Thursday.
After the Gold Cup failure that saw a veteran roster struggle to make an impact, some wondered if we'd see a revamped roster full of youth be ushered in. That does not appear to be the strategy Klinsmann and his staff has chosen to go with.
After a year away from international soccer, Howard returns to the mix to begin as Brad Guzan's backup. It's a role that he's accepted according to Klinsmann.
"He knew it was not going to be easy to come back because obviously Brad Guzan established himself as the number one and played a very good tournament and the whole year he really did a good job. Tim has accepted for the time being to be the number two, and then down the road there will be a fight for the number one spot like in every position. He accepted that, and we are really happy to have him back on board because of who he is and what he has done for us."
-Jurgen Klinsmann; Source: ussoccer.com
This is a smart move by the U.S. manager to try and keep both goalkeepers happy. Guzan has done very little to warrant losing his starting spot, but you have to treat the veteran Howard with the respect he deserves. In these two friendlies against Brazil and Peru, expect to see both play minutes in a true competition to see who will man the net against Mexico.
DaMarcus Beasley is also being named to the roster. After retiring from international play in 2014, he was talked into coming back for the Gold Cup by Klinsmann. Even after coming back, he was only granted one brief substitute appearance in the third place match. In which he missed the last penalty in a shootout to lose the match for his team.
That's just not how anyone wants to end their international career. So, both player and manager agreed that there's still some left in the 33-year-old's tank. Klinsmann sees Beasley playing a very large role with the USMNT in the immediate future and possibly beyond.
"He makes sure that the energy level is high, so to have him back in our group for the future is huge for us. Hopefully it will be a long future still with DaMarcus Beasley with the National Team."
His availability is a stroke of luck as far as the USMNT is concerned. The left back pool has been hit with the injury bug recently. Fabian Johnson picked up a hamstring injury in the opening Bundesliga game of the season, while Brek Shea is just coming back from hernia surgery.
With the huge Mexico match coming up in October, Klinsmann is opting for experience and lots of it. It's a bit of a gamble with the way the Gold Cup played out, but it's one that he obviously feels comfortable with heading in to arguably the most important match of his tenure. The full roster for the two friendlies will be released on August 30.