The United States' April 2 friendly against Mexico is far more important than one would think at first glance. No, it's not that it's against Mexico, what makes it vital to Jurgen Klinsmann and the U.S. is that it marks the final time the team will be together before convening for World Cup training camp in May. This is the last chance for players to impress Klinsmann, and the U.S. manager has chosen his 22-man roster who will get that opportunity.
The roster is headlined by Julian Green, who will be making his U.S. debut after filing for a one-time switch from Germany. FIFA approved his switch, making the 18-year-old Bayern Munich academy stars immediately eligible for the Americans, and tying him to the U.S. for good.
Klinsmann's options for this match were limited because it does not fall on a FIFA date so clubs do not have to let players join the U.S. for it. Green will be able to play in this match because Bayern agreed to let him leave the club for it, but besides him, Klinsmann only had MLS and Liga MX players available to him (Edgar Castillo and Joe Corona excluded because TIjuana has a CONCACAF Champions League match).
The roster is still strong despite it not falling on a FIFA date because the team has come to rely more and more on domestic players. The entire defense expected to start at the World Cup is on the team, with Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler, DaMarcus Beasley and Brad Evans in the squad. Michael Bradley, Landon Donovan, Graham Zusi and Clint Dempsey are all on the team too.
But while those players have to maintain their place and develop chemistry, other players are looking to earn a spot on the plane to Brazil. Chris Wondolowski, Eddie Johnson, Maurice Edu and Green are notable players in that camp, while young players DeAndre Yedlin and Luis Gil will get a chance to prove they can hack it at this level.
The U.S. and Mexico square off on April 2 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ. Kickoff is set for 11 p.m. ET and it will be televised live on ESPN.
Goalkeepers: Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
Defenders: DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Michael Orozco (Puebla), Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)
Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Maurice Edu (Philadelphia Union), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Forwards: Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Eddie Johnson (D.C. United), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)