The roster for the USMNT's October friendlies came out today and there's a lot of stuff that was expected and a lot that wasn't. But first, a quick refresher. Here's who got called up, just in case you missed it.
David Bingham, Ethan Horvath, William Yarbrough
Steve Birnbaum, John Brooks, Geoff Cameron, Timmy Chandler, Omar Gonzalez, Fabian Johnson, DeAndre Yedlin
Paul Arriola, Alejandro Bedoya, Michael Bradley, Lynden Gooch, Perry Kitchen, Sacha Kljestan, Christian Pulisic, Danny Williams
Jozy Altidore, Julian Green, Jordan Morris, Chris Wondolowski, Bobby Wood
So, let's start up at the top. The biggest omission for the forwards is, of course, Clint Dempsey. But that was expected with him out for the season due to a heart condition. After that, you've got Altidore, Wood, and Morris, all of whom really were expected to make the roster. Altidore's been on fire since coming back from injury, while Bobby Wood's managed 2 goals in the Bundesliga with a flailing team (Hamburg's only two goals). Morris has had a solid season and appears to have grown considerably since he signed with the Sounders, adding more movement and flexibility to his game as a speedster.
After that, we get Wondo and Green. Wondo's been one of Klinsmann's players. It looked like he would be edged out with Altidore, Morris, and Wood being in such great form, but with Dempsey out, he gets to slip in. (Besides, he's just managed his seventh consecutive MLS season with double digit goals. He might not be as hot as Morris or Altidore, but he's in decent form.) That leaves Julian Green who, after impressing in preseason as a striker, has not made it on the field for Bayern Munich. It looks like Klinsmann wants to keep Green exposed to the squad and international play. It's not a big deal that he gets called up as a reserve striker for matches against Cuba and New Zealand. Missing out are Agudelo, Johannsson, and Rubin. The former has legitimately been doing very well as the MLS season closes out, while the latter two have been anonymous at best with their European clubs so far this season.
In midfield, Klinsmann appears to be doing quite a bit of tinkering. Four names from the last round of World Cup Qualifying are out: Kyle Beckerman, Caleb Stanko, Graham Zusi, and, most notably, Darlington Nagbe. In come Gooch, Kitchen, and Williams. Stanko's a new comer to the national team, so his exclusion is not a big deal. Beckerman and Zusi are the old guard that Klinsmann is slowly (and finally) moving on from. The surprise here is Nagbe. Klinsmann's clearly not been so hot on the Portland Timbers player, limiting his appearances. Nagbe's been tough to fit into the lineup and with Pulisic and Kljestan performing so well, Klinsmann may have felt he was redundant. (-Ed. Note: Brian Sciaretta reports that Nagbe missed this camp due to personal/family reasons)
It's a bit of a shame for everyone hoping for more technical ability in the side, but, again, the inclusion of Pulisic and Kljestan mitigates the pain. Williams and Kitchen seem pretty standard replacements. Both are fairly young and performing well in Europe, Williams with Reading and Kitchen with Hearts in Scotland (where he was named the captain after joining just this past winter). Joining them is Lynden Gooch, the Sunderland youth player who's broken into the lineup and excelled in Premier League play. All three of these players will be looking to make an impression and find a way to break into the core group from their places in the fringes with the Hex coming up. And of course, we can all breath a collective sigh of relief that the excellent duo of Kljestan and Pulisic are back with the team.
Defense is pretty by the numbers with no surprises. John Brooks returns from injury, displacing Michael Orozco. Timothy Chandler returns, to the chagrin of some, including this writer.
In contrast, the call ups for goalkeeper have been shocking. Previously, Klnsmann had been rotating Guzan and Howard. However, both have missed out on this match.Interestingly, Bill Hamid, long considered the next heir for the American legacy of goalkeepers is also missing. Now, all of this could mean nothing, considering that we're playing Cuba and New Zealand. But, then again, with Mexico and the Hex just around the corner, maybe this trio of Yarbrough, Horvath, and Bingham could be Klinsmann's vision of the future.
What do you think? Have I missed something? Were you shocked by someone who got left out? Does Julian Green have you more puzzled than me? Go ahead and react in the comments below!