[USA MEN] So now we know the initial contestants for "Survivor: Kamp Klinsmann" that will convene this week in Florida.
Already the canny Jurgen Klinsmann has served up a curler: Expected to name as many as 20 members of a 29-man squad, he instead chose only 16, with additional selections to be announced Sunday. By doing the math, that means a lucky 13 will be named, and by logic, it can be assumed at all or most of the 13 will also survive the final cut down to 23.
Otherwise, why wouldn’t they be named in the first group?
Ergo, if the numbers hold up, 16 players in Florida are probably vying for 10-12 spots. The figures could change, say, if one or two of the so-called "Sweet 16" are too banged up to train or suffer injuries in the first few days of training.
It’s also possible that those additional 13 have yet to be finalized, with further changes pending if matches to be played Wednesday through Sunday yield injuries or illnesses that bump a player from the roster. Defender Oguchi Onyewu is playing for Sporting Lisbon in the Portuguese Cup final Sunday, and two other defenders, Clarence Goodson and Michael Parkhurst, are playing in Denmark.
The roster didn’t include defender/midfielder Tim Chandler, and all manner of speculation can spring from Klinsmann's references to “commitment to playing international football” and “opportunities we have given him,” but until Chandler comes back to the U.S. or, as some still suspect, declares his playing allegiance to Germany, he’s off the radar screen.
Does that open a slot for Edgar Castillo to play left back, despite the scorch marks left on him in his last U.S. experience at that position? His inclusion in the squad follows some impressive showings for Club Tijuana as a left-sided mid, which is another position the U.S. can use some help. Another option is Fabian Johnson, who played left back in the 1-0 win over Italy in February. One would think that if Klinsmann had DaMarcus Beasley in mind at left mid, he’d have been called in with the initial 16. But Klinsmann does have 13 more names to play with, and a squad of 23 to fill out.
The RSL pair of Nick Rimando and Kyle Beckerman don’t play a league match until May 26, the same day the USA plays Scotland, and then are off until June 16, which is five days after the second qualifier in Guatemala. Given that schedule, the need for three keepers, and Klinsmann’s fondness for the dreadlocked destroyer, it’s not hard to conclude that both RSL players will be on the 23-man squad.
As for the rest of the 16, well, we all know who the locks are. The bubble boys include one based in Germany and two in Mexico: Alfredo Morales, perhaps called to vie for a spot that Chandler would have filled, Jose Torres and Joe Corona. Of the three, Torres has the most experience and is more seasoned than Corona, who fared well with the U-23s during the ill-fated Concacaf Olympic qualifying campaign but faces a logjam of midfield competition.
It’s quite possible that because the U.S. plays five games in 17 days Klinsmann keeps Michael Bradley, Maurice Edu, Jermaine Jones, Danny Williams, Beckerman and Johnson from the initial squad of 16. But if he does load by early in midfield, that could also squeeze out Sacha Kljestan, fresh off helping Anderlecht win the league title in Belgium.
The coach has stated that this long run of camp and games isn’t for experimentation, so while players may still be moved around it’s not likely to see them tested in new positions, which makes the absence of Chandler all the more troublesome.
Much has changed since Klinsmann took over for Bob Bradley last summer, but the issues at left back persist.
INITIAL U.S. ROSTER:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake).
DEFENDERS (4): Carlos Bocanegra (Rangers), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Alfredo Morales (Hertha Berlin).
MIDFIELDERS (8): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Chievo Verona), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Jose Torres (Pachuca), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim).
FORWARDS (1): Clint Dempsey (Fulham).