[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)