On Sunday, Jurgen Klinsmann named a very interesting 26-man roster for the final two World Cup qualifiers in the semifinal round of CONCACAF. In all honesty, no matter what roster was called up, the United States men’s national team should be heavily favored in both of these upcoming qualifiers.
On paper, the U.S. should steamroll St. Vincent and the Grenadines away from home and then should be able to handle Trinidad and Tobago to finish off Group C as the top dogs.
However, as we know, in CONCACAF “on paper” rarely means anything. The improbable usually becomes possible in the wacky land of North and Central America.
Here are a few thoughts on Klinsmann’s selections:
The Deuce is Lost
The most notable thing when you look at the roster is the lack of Clint Dempsey. As you likely know by now, he has been sidelined with an irregular heart. This means that the onus on finding the back of the net when it matters most will fall on the other strikers. Thankfully the U.S. crop of goal scorers are in rare form with Jozy Altidore at the top of his game at the club level. Then you have Bobby Wood scoring a great goal on his Hamburg debut.
Those two will likely be called upon to be the team’s main goal threats. Hopefully they can both translate their recent club success to the national team and continue to bang in the goals. If they do that, there shouldn’t be a problem.
Gyasi Zardes is also out with an injury, giving fringe guys like Paul Arriola and Rubio Rubin a chance. While it’s not expected that they’ll play much, it’s good to see them getting the opportunity to shine in training in front of Klinsmann.
Why Wondo Why?
I mean, I get that there are injuries, but why? Why always him? To be fair, Wondolowski has made his national team resume on facing minnows of CONCACAF. Perhaps he’ll be the guy who can slay the mighty Vinny Heat at their place. Sort of like the Alan Gordon of this cycle.
Have you seen Danny Williams?
Seriously, where the heck is he? Caleb Stanko gets a call-up but not him? Jemaine Jones, who has been injured for a month, get a call-up but not him? Kyle Beckerman gets — you get it. I’m thoroughly confused by his consistent omission from rosters. He seems like the perfect two-way midfielder to add depth to the squad. Why is he completely out of the picture? I guess we’ll just add it to the other mysterious Klinsmann roster decisions over the past six years.
All-in-all I like the mix of veterans and young guys. It should be more than enough to get a spot in the Hex. I’ll refrain from fully judging the roster and philosophy until the Hex is clinched. Once that’s done, I’d really really like to see him get over the veterans like Wondo, Beckerman, and Michael Orozco. It’s time to find some new squad players who can contribute. October’s friendlies are the perfect opportunity to find some new blood.