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Thursday, May 16, 2013

U.S. Men Get Ready For A Busy Couple Weeks, Calling 26 Players Into Training Camp

I have been slacking lately with this blog but things should be picking up in the next month. The U.S. men's national team has a pair of top-notch friendlies stateside (vs. Belgium and Germany) before they get back to 2014 World Cup qualifying against Jamaica, Panama and Honduras. In anticipation of those matches, U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann today named his 26-man roster that's coming to training camp in Cleveland starting on May 26.

GOALKEEPERS (6) : Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tally Hall (Houston Dynamo), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Tim Howard (Everton), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (8) : DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Michael Parkhurst (Augsburg)
MIDFIELDERS (10) : Michael Bradley (Roma), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Maurice Edu (Bursaspor), Stuart Holden (Bolton), Jermaine Jones (Schalke), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Brek Shea (Stoke City), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (5) : Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur), Herculez Gomez (Santos), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC)

For me, the most notable parts of the roster are Holden who hasn't played for the U.S. since October 2010 because of various injuries. Also, Howard and Johnson are back after they missed the last qualifiers-in March. Of course the biggest name not to be on here is Landon Donovan although reports earlier in the week indicated this would be the case. Defenders Steve Cherundolo and Timmy Chandler are both still out like in March as they rehab from knee injuries.

The friendlies start on May 29 as the Americans host Belgium at First Energy Stadium. After that, they'll play Germany on June 2 at RFK Stadium in Washington DC. Things get real on June 7 as the U.S. visits Jamaica in Kingston then they return home to face Panama on June 11 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. This very busy stretch wraps up on June 18 with the U.S. taking a trip to Rio Tinto Stadium in Honduras.

“We are very excited about the group we have put together,” said Klinsmann in a press release. “The players understand more how we’re working, what we’re looking for, the way we want to play and the way we want to challenge big nations eye-to-eye. As we go into this stretch of two friendly games against Belgium and Germany and three big World Cup Qualifiers, we want to see more consistent performances. There is a huge opportunity to pick up a lot of points and put ourselves in a good position to qualify for Brazil.”

Michael Bradley will compete in the Coppa Italia Final on May 26 in Rome against Lazio.

Edgar Castillo and Joe Corona have continued the historic run with Club Tijuana in the 2013 Copa Libertadores, advancing to the quarterfinals to face Atletico Mineiro on May 22 and May 29.

Sean Johnson (May 26-30), Bill Hamid (May 30-June 2), Tally Hall (June 2-June 8) and Nick Rimando (June 9-19) will all rotate through camp at different stages and serve as the third goalkeeper.

Eight players are carrying yellow cards into the next World Cup qualifiers: DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Bradley, Matt Besler, Brad Davis, Clint Dempsey, Maurice Edu, Fabian Johnson and Graham Zusi. Their next caution will result in a one-match suspension.

I'm looking forward to all these matches since it's rare that they get to play such quality European squads. The World Cup qualifiers are their own animal and it will be exciting to get back into that emotional grind.

UPDATE 5/21: Midfielder Brad Davis was added to the training camp roster.

UPDATE 5/23: Houston Dynamo defender Corey Ashe was added to the training camp roster for the U.S.

UPDATE 5/28: Edu, Shea and Ashe are all out with injuries that will force them to miss this week's friendlies and the World Cup qualifiers in June.