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Klinsmann explains his October surprise
by Paul Kennedy, October 8th, 2012 3:21PM

TAGS:  men's national team, world cup 2014


[USA MEN] U.S. national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann called 24 players into training camp in Miami to prepare for its final two games in the semifinal round of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup against Antigua & Barbuda and Guatemala. He did not call up Jozy Altidore, the leading scorer in the Dutch Eredivisie, or Chris Wondolowski, whose hat trick for the San Jose Earthquakes put him within two goals of the MLS single-season scoring record. But Klinsmann did recall strikers Eddie Johnson and Alan Gordon, saying he had "more trust" in them. For more on what went into the moves ...

-- In a teleconference on Monday afternoon, Klinsmann said the decision to drop Altidore was based on his recent outings with the national team.

“I communicated with Jozy that I was not happy about his latest performances with us, I mean maybe even over the last 14 months,” Klinsmann said. “I think Jozy can do much, much better, and the reason why he's not coming in is mainly about the performances in Jamaica and at home and also in training.”

Klinsmann added that "certain things went on during the May-June camp” without going into details. Altidore started in both qualifiers in June after missing the first part of the long camp. His streak of 17 straight starts -- the longest on the national team by a wide margin -- was snapped when he did not start in the 1-0 win over Jamaica in September.

“It's important [the players] have their starting spot [at club level], but it doesn't mean that coming to national team that things are for granted," Klinsmann added. "That's as simple as it is. The decision not to call Jozy in is based on our experience with him. The door remains open with Jozy, but we need to make sure we take care of these two games.”

-- Wondolowski and Terrence Boyd were dropped in favor of Wondolowski's Quakes teammate Gordon and Johnson for tactical reasons, according to Klinsmann.

“We want to bring in Eddie and Alan because both are really strong in the air,” explained Klinsmann. “We expect two difficult games where the opponent will probably play more defensive and kind of get a lot of numbers in the box, or in front of their box, to play more defensively against us. So we need here and there to force things with crosses from the wings. I had more trust in Eddie Johnson and Alan Gordon.”

-- Landon Donovan, Jermaine Jones and Brek Shea were all called in despite recent injury concerns. Donovan will be evaluated by the national team medical staff after he arrives in Miami.

“As [Donovan] said to us," Klinsmann said, "the reason why he's on the plane: It looks very good."

Jones has not played the last three games for Schalke 04 but Klinsmann said his ankle injury was minor.

-- Sacha Kljestan got his first call-up since the Italy friendly in February. Also back is Edgar Castillo of Mexican leader Tijuana. He was injured and missed the September qualifiers.

-- Three other players called up for the September qualifiers aren't back: Sean Johnson, Michael Orozco Fiscal and Jose Torres.

Because of MLS scheduling, Sean Johnson and Nick Rimando each got one game as the No. 3 keeper in September. Torres is unavailable because he is injured (bruised foot), while Orozco Fiscal's club start on Sunday was his first in six league games.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (8): Carlos Bocanegra (Racing Santander), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Tijuana), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Maurice Edu (Stoke City), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Michael Parkhurst (FC Nordsjaelland).
MIDFIELDERS (8): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Roma), Joe Corona (Tijuana), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City).
FORWARDS (5): Clint Dempsey (Tottenham, Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Herculez Gomez (Santos), Alan Gordon (San Jose Earthquakes), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders).

Friday: Antigua & Barbuda-USA in North Sound, Antigua (beIN SPORT, 7 pm ET).
Tuesday: USA-Guatemala at sold-out Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. (ESPN2, WatchESPN and the Univision family, 7 pm ET)

  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: October 9, 2012 at 9:50 a.m.
    Jozy needed to be sent a message. He plays lifeless and lazy at the national team level. Alan Gordon is a pretty big surprise though. Wondo must be perplexed about why his teammate goes and not him; although Wondo just doesn't have the goal scoring touch at the international level. If Beckerman can be kept off the field, like in Columbus, we have a chance to win both games comfortably.

    commented on: October 9, 2012 at 10:12 a.m.
    About time Jozy gets a jolt....surprising 04 & Dallas let players in Nationals that haven't been playing club...

  1. Walt Pericciuoli
    commented on: October 9, 2012 at 10:22 a.m.
    Can't argue the selections.Things need to be shaken up.No one has an automatic place.With that said,Beckerman really???I guess Edu is now slotted as a central defender.As long as he and Jones aren't both in the MF at the same time we'll be OK.Besides guys,its Antigua and Guatemala.

  1. David Mozeshtam
    commented on: October 9, 2012 at 10:53 a.m.
    Yeah, things need to be shaken up. The shaking should start with Klinsmann.

  1. Jake Lammi
    commented on: October 9, 2012 at 11:48 a.m.
    Alan Gordon? Really? Jozy rarely does anything for the national team, so dropping him is not a problem. Same with Jose Torres, rarely gives anything to offer. I'm not high on Wondolowski but he is scoring every match it seems like. Granted it is the MLS, but he should be included. And if you want a big man to win the ball in the air, Boyd can do that. But Alan Gordon? Seriously? That is the best option Klinsmann has? The U.S. has zero potent options at striker and it is simply sad. And Kyle Beckerman sucks something fierce, he should NEVER EVER be on the national team

  1. Manuel Trejo-von Angst
    commented on: October 9, 2012 at 1:55 p.m.
    This just illustrates more and more how impotent the Nats are at the forward position once you get beyond Dempsey and Donovan. I don't disagree with dropping Jozy, he has been mediocre the last 2 years with the Nats but bringing back Eddie Johnson is not the way forward. There MUST be a better option than that.

  1. Mike Gaire
    commented on: October 9, 2012 at 1:56 p.m.
    Alan Gordon is a good strong Centre Forward somewhat in the Brian McBride mold so I can understand why Klinsmann likes him over Wondo for that role. But if Landon is not fit to play then Wondo would be the most suitable replacement in an attacking midfield role

  1. Mike Gaire
    commented on: October 9, 2012 at 1:57 p.m.
    Also the quality goal that Johnson scored against Portland for Seattle lends weight to the argument that he is getting back to his best form and might just be a suitable replacement for Jozy while Jozy gets his " stuff" together!

  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: October 9, 2012 at 3:40 p.m.
    I think there is an opportunity to put out a pretty attractive side from this pool. The defense should be solid. Cherundolo, Boca, Cameron, Castillo (the weak link). Putting Castillo in on the left would then allow Fabian Johnson to play L mid where he can more easily get forward without opening up the L flank for counters. Danny Williams was a capable holding mid. Bradley at center mid. Donovan at R mid. Gomez and Dempsey up top. Pretty positive group and probably tough to handle.

  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: October 9, 2012 at 3:59 p.m.
    Regardless. The Antigua game is actually meaningless. I know you're shaking your head saying, "What's this guy smokin'?" There is no result combination in Friday's games that clinches it for the US. WIn, lose, or draw, we still need a result against Guatemala in order to advance. Now that result could be a simple draw (which I consider to be more scary since we might play for a draw and get sniped by Carlos Ruiz for a 0-1 loss). Go ahead work the scenarios for your self. No matter what happens in Antigua, we still have to show up in KC and not lose. That should take the pressure down a bit for the road game. Allow Klinsi to work out his lineups and the guys to play a bit together before the real game on Tuesday.

  1. David Huff
    commented on: October 9, 2012 at 5:30 p.m.
    I never thought I'd see the day that Alan "Snowshoes" Gordon would receive a USMNT callup, don't expect to see any challenging speed out of him, his use must be as a target man it appears.

  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: October 9, 2012 at 5:54 p.m.
    Snowshoes will be riding the pine, unless there's an injury or blow-out scoreline.

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