The United States is just five months away from their World Cup opener against Ghana, making every chance for the team to get together of the utmost importance. That includes this month, when the U.S. will hold a training camp in Carson, CA and spend two weeks in Sao Paulo, Brazil before taking on South Korea in a February 1 friendly, a stretch Jurgen Klinsmann has named his roster for.
Klinsmann won't have his full team available to him this month because neither the camp nor the match falls on a FIFA international date, leaving him to choose from players who play in MLS and in Scandinavian leagues. That does lessen the importance of things somewhat, but with so many players in contention for a World Cup roster spot called into this camp, as well as the FIFA calendar that leaves the Americans with just one other friendly before May, this January camp matters more than most.
The camp will provide a nice chance for Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler to play together and gain experience, a valuable opportunity for the Americans' presumed central defense pairing in Brazil. Besler is one of three Sporting KC defenders to make the roster, with Chance Myers and Seth Sinovic joining him. Chris Klute and DeAndre Yedlin also made the team, giving two of MLS's best young defenders a chance at their first caps in positions the U.S. could use help. With the Americans thin at fullback, it's not out of the question for the two to play their way onto the World Cup roster, Klute in particular.
The midfielder is made up of five players who have been a regular part of the U.S. team, while Benny Feilhaber makes his return to the team after a couple years away. Mike Magee, the reigning MLS MVP will get a chance at his first cap, while the young, promising Luis Gil will get a chance to impress. Maybe the biggest surprise on the roster is Eric Alexander, who has just one cap to his name.
Up top, Juan Agudelo was originally on the roster, but has since been removed, possibly hinting that his rumored move to Valencia has been finalized. That leaves just three forwards on the roster in Landon Donovan, Eddie Johnson and Chris Wondolowski, all of whom were part of last year's Gold Cup-winning team and are expected to make the trip to Brazil.
Klinsmann has said that anyone who wants to make the World Cup team has to either be playing for a club this January or in this U.S. team. For some MLS players, like Clint Dempsey, that meant a loan to a European club, but for most, the U.S. camp was their way to go. Now they have to impress. After all, the World Cup is just five months away.
Goalkeepers: Tally Hall, Bill Hamid, Sean Johnson, Nick Rimando.
Defenders: Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez, Clarence Goodson, Michael Harrington, Chris Klute, Chance Myers, Shane O'Neill, Seth Sinovic, DeAndre Yedlin.
Midfielders: Eric Alexander, Kyle Beckerman, Brad Davis, Mix Diskerud, Brad Evans, Benny Feilhaber, Luis Gil, Mike Magee, Dax McCarty, Graham Zusi.
Forwards: Landon Donovan, Eddie Johnson, Chris Wondolowski.
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