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Klinsmann's final choices: predicting the lucky 13
by Ridge Mahoney, May 17th, 2012 2:37AM

TAGS:  americans abroad, men's national team, mls


The second round of “Survivor: Kamp Klinsmann” is expected Sunday with the announcement of 13 more players summoned to the U.S. national team training camp in Florida.

Sixteen have already reported to camp this week, with one of them -- Danny Williams of Hoffenheim -- attending to be evaluated by the team’s medical staff. He suffered a torn shoulder muscle several weeks ago and unless he can prove his fitness won’t be included in the final squad of 23.

U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann has used Williams as a wide player though he plays holding mid and outside back for his German club. His versatility will be missed as the Americans play five games in 17 days, starting a week from Saturday against Scotland in Jacksonville.

Klinsmann is expected to name 13 players after weekend matches conclude Sunday. Since he’s declared the time for new faces and experimentation has passed, here’s a look at who might get the nod:

FORWARDS. Jozy Altidore, Terrence Boyd, Herculez Gomez, Chris Wondolowski.

Altidore is coming off a fine season for AZ in the Netherlands and will have his best opportunity ever to prove himself a reliable contributor at the national team level. His touch will likely be a work-in-progress for a while yet, but his size and strength are prized assets. Klinsmann wants attackers who are tactically aware and Altidore in the ideal environment for on-the-job training.

Boyd could be leaving Borussia Dortmund in a search for regular playing time in the German second division, yet as Edson Buddle proved by moving to Ingolstadt and then right back to the Los Angeles Galaxy, such moves don’t always work out. Boyd, though, is young enough that steady competition is more important than hanging on with a big club’s reserve team.

Gomez has proven his scoring prowess in the Mexican league the past few seasons playing for several different teams and brings a good mix of pace and power. Wondolowski is uncanny at shedding defenders and finding space in the goalmouth, and is simply scoring too consistently to ignore, his past national-team struggles notwithstanding.

If Clint Dempsey, who’s been bothered by a groin strain, is struggling, another forward -- Juan Agudelo? -- might slip onto the team, but since Landon Donovan is adept up front, the coach can stick to these players. Freddy Adu performed well for the U-23s but his fizzles in Philly continue.

MIDFIELDERS. Alejandro Bedoya, Landon Donovan, Brek Shea.

Though he’s been laboring in MLS, Shea is one of Klinsmann’s projects. The coach obviously likes the strength and energy Shea brings to the left flank. He still needs to learn about beating and evading international defenders, and that can only come with experience.

Some of the best USA attack sequences in the Klinsmann Era have come from the wide play of Shea and Robbie Rogers, but Rogers managed only four games for Leeds United and ended the season sidelined by an ankle injury. Bedoya is on the bubble yet has the vision and skill that might be valuable as a backup and second-half sub and he can also play wide. There are other possibilities, such as Mix Diskerud and Benny Feilhaber.

In his initial selection of 16 players Klinsmann included eight midfielders and even if not all of them make the cut the coach will have plenty of options out wide as well as in the middle. Jermaine Jones’ disciplinary problems could result in him being cut from the final 23 if Klinsmann wants more cover in other areas.

DEFENDERS. Geoff Cameron, Clarence Goodson, Eric Lichaj, Oguchi Onyewu, Michael Parkhurst, Tim Ream.

Goodson, Parkhurst, Onyewu and Ream give Klinsmann plenty of options at center back along with Carlos Bocanegra, and there’s enough size that the coach might exclude Cameron from the final 23. Klinsmann’s preference for European-based players is going to work against a few MLS players unless they really stand out in his mind, as do Shea and Beckerman.

  1. Barry Thomas
    commented on: May 17, 2012 at 10:53 a.m.
    Why is Todd Dunivant never given a tryout at these camps?
  1. Kerry Ogden
    commented on: May 17, 2012 at 12:40 p.m.
    I'm happy to see E. Lichaj & T. Reams be given a chance again. I've seen them both play in the EPL and they have done very well, now if everybody clicks together well on the pitch we should have some good games down the road.
  1. Carlos Thys
    commented on: May 17, 2012 at 2:41 p.m.
    As we near the first match, the test match against Scotland, I have to ask: Is this the "Mexico strategy" in reverse? There are those who think it perhaps wise to place the venue when we host against Mexico, to have that stadium in a more northern city. For exmample, NYC, Chicago, or Boston. Obviously this has to make sense in the months of the year like from October through April when it is indeed usually colder there, especially when the kickoff is at something like 8 p.m. So -- is the idea against Scotland to shock them into a lesser performance due to the combination of Florida heat and humidity? (This would work; Scotland and most of the venues these players know in the EPL are nothing like Jacksonville, Florida.) Just curious how others see this. I am sorry to insert this (athough I think it germane to how we'll rate the US vs. Scotland player performances). So I apologize; I know it is related but still "off topic." I'm just wondering if this had anything to do with the stadium/opponent selection. (bear in mind that some Euro based U.S. players will not do so well in this significant climate change, both in the match and in the preceeding USMNT trials.)
  1. Michael Adams
    commented on: May 18, 2012 at 12:49 a.m.
    How about Brad Davis, give the man a chance, he's deadly on set pieces, he has proven it time and again

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