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USA roster for Mexico clash takes shape
by Ridge Mahoney, January 30th, 2009 7AM



[HEXAGONAL COUNTDOWN] A squad of 20 has been selected as the preliminary U.S. squad to prepare for the Concacaf Hexagonal opener against Mexico Feb. 11 in Columbus.

Crew defender Frankie Hedjuk is the only addition to the players who began training Jan. 4 at Home Depot Center and comprised the match-day squad that beat Sweden, 3-2, on a Sacha Kljestan hat trick Jan. 24.

Not retained were goalkeeper Troy Perkins, who gave up both goals and has returned to his Norwegian club Valerenga IF, and defenders Danny Califf and Michael Parkhurst, who also play in Scandinavia.

Coming back into camp are Jonathan Bornstein, Ugo Ihemelu, Chris Wingert and Marvell Wynne, though it's possible none of them will make the 18-man game roster, with Oguchi Onyewu, Carlos Bocanegra, Heath Pearce and Steve Cherundolo all expected to be called in.

Striker Charlie Davies, whose club Hammarby IF is training in Southern California in preparation for the Swedish season, is on the squad. MLS players Kenny Cooper, Brian Ching and Chris Rolfe all played against Sweden and round out the group of forwards. Ching set up Kljestan's third goal with a great assist and won the free kick from which Kljestan nailed the first goal, a spectacular strike from more than 30 yards.

The players will train at HDC until departing for Columbus Feb. 7, where they will be joined by whichever European-based players, which includes Landon Donovan on loan with Bayern Munich, are chosen by Coach Bob Bradley.

The most notable omission is Rapids midfielder Pablo Mastroeni, who has been bothered by knee problems since last October and is not yet fully recovered.

With Perkins not available, the domestic keeper list is Jon Busch (Columbus), Will Hesmer (Chicago) and Matt Pickens (Colorado). It's not yet known if Bradley will pick one of them or another keeper - with Brad Guzan the obvious candidate -- to back up likely starter Tim Howard.

Though the Hexagonal openers fall on a FIFA international date, it is a date designated for friendlies - there are no South American qualifiers scheduled until late March and most of the European teams will be playing friendlies instead of qualifiers - and so teams are not obligated to release players until they have fulfilled their weekend club commitments. That will mean Sunday and Monday arrivals for the Euro-based players, which means Bradley and his staff will be closely tracking the weekend matches for reports of injuries and other possible complications, such as severe weather conditions.

U.S. Soccer announced earlier this week the Columbus match is a sellout. The remaining tickets sold out 90 minutes - how appropriate - after going on sale to the general public. The public sale followed a private pre-sale through U.S. Soccer channels.

Mexico lost its final preparation match, 1-0, to Sweden Wednesday in Oakland before a crowd of more than 46,000.

USA Training Camp Roster (Jan. 29-Feb. 7)
GOALKEEPERS: Jon Busch (Chicago Fire), Will Hesmer (Columbus Crew), Matt Pickens (Colorado Rapids).
DEFENDERS: Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew), Ugo Ihemelu (Colorado Rapids), Chris Wingert (Real Salt Lake), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC).
MIDFIELDERS: Brian Carroll (Columbus Crew), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo), Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo), Jack Jewsbury (Kansas City Wizards), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew), John Thorrington (Chicago Fire).
FORWARDS: Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Kenny Cooper (FC Dallas), Charlie Davies (Hammarby IF), Chris Rolfe (Chicago Fire).

Click HERE for roster with ages, caps and goals

Join your friends in watching USA-Mexico Wednesday Feb. 11 at your favorite soccer viewing establishment.

Connect on FACEBOOK at the
USA-Mexico Viewing Party.

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