[USA MEN] A day after naming his squad of players for the upcoming set of five matches -- two friendlies and three World Cup qualifiers -- U.S. national team
head coach Jurgen Klinsmann spoke with reporters on Friday and explained the thinking that went into his selections.
Klinsmann did say Donovan, who has not played in a qualifier since the June 2012 matches against Antigua & Barbuda and Guatemala, was catching up.
"I see him getting in a rhythm, getting more games in and we’ll follow him through that," he said. "I don’t see him ready yet to come back into our group. On the other hand, I see guys in our group that are ahead of him in his position.”
Klinsmann, on the other hand, admitted the camp in Cleveland in advance of the opening match against Belgium on May 29 will allow him and his staff to evaluate some players who have not been playing regularly.
"For example," Klinsmann said, "Brek Shea has played very little so we want to evaluate him and see what the case is. We have Stuart Holden back in the mix, which we are excited about, but we also know he has a way to go. But I think it is important for him to see that we give him this opportunity coming in, catching up and being part of our program again. I think it will give him a huge lift. Then we’ll see what he’s missing still to get back from the old player he was or even better than that. So a couple of players come in that still have some catching up to do, but over the stretch of a month that is doable."
With Danny Williams, who has not played since March 30 for Bundesliga relegation candidate Hoffenheim, Klinsmann also wants to see where he's at and go from there.
“Danny didn’t get much playing time because he was injured," he said. "He always had minor injuries on the way back. He’s back in shape now. He’s been training full speed for two weeks. Obviously with them in that relegation battle -- I spoke to his coach at length -- it was difficult to break in right away and help out there. He’s back in shape, and we’ll see that. He’s another one similar to Brek Shea."
Klinsmann said Williams was brought in because he was an option at right back, where the first two choices, Steve Cherundolo and Timmy Chandler, are unavailable because of injuries.
"Danny gives us a little bit of flexibility if I have some problems at the right back position," he said. "Right now, we have Michael Parkhurst, we have DaMarcus Beasley, who can also play right back, and Geoff Cameron can also play right back if we do it like we did it against Mexico and Costa Rica. Danny can play that position as well, which is good for us to think about."
The choice of Parkhurst -- who has not played for Augsburg since February -- was a surprise. Asked what kind of message it sends players who are getting playing time with their clubs that other players that have not been getting playing time are getting called in instead of them, Klinsmann responded:
“I totally get where you’re coming from, but at the end of the day it all comes down to the positions that we have to fill. Michael Parkhurst is fit and ready to go but is not breaking in there, but he’s playing in a position where Steve Cherundolo and Timmy Chandler both are not available, so you get caught in a situation where you have to make that compromise. You don’t have to make that compromise in the center back position -- and I see Carlos [Bocanegra] only as a center back, I don’t see him as a left back -- and there we are fully loaded. It goes down to position by position, what is your ranking.”
U.S. national team roster:
GOALKEEPERS: 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 Wanderers), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), 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).
Note: Backup goalies will be rotated through the team: Sean Johnson (May 26-30), Hamid (May 30-June 2), Hall (June 2-June 8), Rimando (June 9-19).
May 29: Belgium (friendly) in Cleveland
June 2: Germany (friendly) in Washington, D.C.
June 7: at Jamaica (World Cup qualifying)
June 11: Panama (World Cup qualifying) in Seattle
June 18: Honduras (World Cup qualifying) in Sandy, Utah