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Big chance for Brooks and Wood
by Paul Kennedy, August 12th, 2013 3:02PM
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[USA MEN] Of the four uncapped players -- John Brooks, Cody Cropper, Aron Johannsson and Bobby Wood -- included in Jurgen Klinsmann's largely European-based team for the USA's friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina, only the 6-foot-4 Brooks is expected to start Wednesday in Sarajevo (TV:  ESPN2, WatchESPN and UniMas, live, 2:30 p.m. ET), though Wood, another German-based youngster, could see action off the bench.

Brooks is considered one of the top young central defenders in the Bundesliga, where he scored in his debut on Saturday in promoted Hertha Berlin's 6-1 demolition of Eintracht Frankfurt.

At only 20, Brooks has a huge upside and could challenge for a starting position even though Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler and Clarence Goodson have established themselves as Klinsmann's top three choices in the middle.

Geoff Cameron will likely start alongside Brooks on Wednesday, but he has also started at right back and at holding midfielder in World Cup 2014 qualifying.

Puebla defender Michael Orozco Fiscal was a late scratch due to a hamstring injury -- which leaves Tim Ream -- recalled for the first time in 2013 -- as the only other option at center back against Bosnia.

Lots of Americans have tried to rise through the German youth ranks, but the 20-year-old Wood is one of the few who have succeeded. Joe Gyau is back at Hoffenheim, playing on its fourth division team, Jared Jeffrey is now with D.C. United in MLS after four seasons on Mainz's reserve team, and Charles Renken, who moved to Hoffenheim with Gyau, had his career cut short by injuries.

Wood joined 1860 Munich at the age of 15, three years after moving from Hawaii to play for Strikers SC in Southern California. A knee injury hindered his development such that he was dropped down to 1860 Munich's reserve team for the start of the 2012-13 season, but he played so well he was brought back to the first team by November and was rewarded with his first pro contract a month later.

Wood has prospered under the tutelage of Alex Schmidt, who was his coach on 1860 Munich's reserve team and took charge of the first team shortly before Wood's recall. Wood has started in back-to-back 1860 Munich wins and had an assist in its 2-1 win at Fortuna Duesseldorf on Friday.

Johannsson is ineligible to play for the USA until his affiliation switch from Iceland to the USA is approved by FIFA, and Cropper, who started for the USA at the Under-20 World Cup, comes in to serve as the No. 3 keeper from Southampton, where he has yet to play for the first team.

U.S. Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Cody Cropper (Southampton), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton).
DEFENDERS (6): John Anthony Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Tijuana), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Michael Parkhurst (Augsburg), Tim Ream (Bolton Wanderers).
MIDFIELDERS (8): Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Roma), Joe Corona (Tijuana), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Danny Williams (Reading).
FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders), Aron Johannsson (AZ), Bobby Wood (1860 Munich).



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