What do you take away from the roster U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann
named for the World Cup
qualifiers Sept. 6 at Costa Rica and Sept. 10 against Mexico in Columbus, Ohio? He has considerably more players to choose from than he did at the beginning of the year or even for the June
qualifiers. Six September call-ups weren't even in the picture in June.
There were few surprises in Klinsmann's selections -- perhaps Michael
over Clarence Goodson
and Mix Diskerud
over Sacha Kljestan
except to say that by his own admission he had a lot of "50-50 calls" to make.
There were at least seven players who were in the team earlier this year without playing themselves out of
the picture: Michael Parkhurst
, Brad Davis
, Jose Torres
, Joe Corona
, Chris Wondolowski
, Goodson and
"It’s a very tricky and difficult selection," said Klinsmann in a conference call with reporters Thursday afternoon, "because there are a lot of players that deserve to be
on this roster as well. Think about Clarence Goodson, Jose Torres
, Sacha Kljestan, Joe Corona
and many others that deserve to be there. The good part about all of our
work over the last 6-8 months is we deepened our roster, we deepened our possibilities in selecting specific players and all the players not called into Costa Rica are still in the loop going
With eight players in his 23 carrying yellow cards
into the Costa Rica game, Klinsmann said others have been told they are on stand-by in case they need to be called in for the Mexico game as replacements for players who have been suspended.
Short- or long-term injuries would have excluded a half dozen players: Stuart Holden
, Steve Cherundolo
, Terrence Boyd, Herculez Gomez
, Brek Shea
Only a couple of players -- notably German-Americans Timmy Chandler
and Danny Williams
seen their stock fall this year. As Klinsmann noted, the huge change in 2013 from his first two years in charge is how much more competition he has than before. Of the 20 field players he called up a
year ago for the twin qualifiers against Jamaica, only eight will be in Miami for the camp that opens Sunday.
And since the June qualifiers -- when the USA swept the three games -- six
players without any prior appearances in the 2013 Hexagonal have played their way on the first 23: Michael Orozco
, Alejandro Bedoya
, John Brooks
, Aron Johannsson
and, of course, Landon Donovan.
For another way to look at how much the picture has changed since June, every one of
the unused field players from the June 7 game against Jamaica isn't in the 23 for the September qualifiers: Boyd, Corona, Holden, Davis, Parkhurst, Kljestan and Goodson.
Asked who has
looked good since the start of the new European season, Klinsmann said, “I think when you ask that question, it takes us back to John Brooks with Hertha Berlin, Aron Johannsson with [AZ] Alkmaar
and Alejandro Bedoya who had an amazing debut with Nantes against Paris St. German where he almost scored a goal. Michael Bradley
has had an outstanding start
to his season at Roma, Tim Howard
as well [at Everton]."
For all the competition for spots on the 23-player roster, the starting XI for the Costa
Rica game is almost set. The USA won its last three qualifiers to take control of the Hexagonal -- and takes a team record 12-game unbeaten streak into the Costa Rica game -- and Klinsmann hasn't
changed up his lineup much when the USA has been winning.
He came out and said DaMarcus Beasley
, who was suspended for the Honduras, is set at left
back, and Fabian Johnson
, who moved back to left back against the Catrachos, is "set in the left winger role, for right now."
That would leave
the question of where to play Donovan if he starts. The only likely spots would be in place of one of the two starters who currently have fitness issues. Klinsmann said he expected Graham Zusi
, who has played on the right side of midfield, and captain Clint Dempsey
, the second forward, to be fully fit by
next week -- and he even discussed Dempsey's 100th cap, which he'll earn in his next game.
All that leaves is and where to start Donovan -- in Zusi's place? -- the major talking point of
the next week. U.S. Roster: GOALKEEPERS (3):
Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), *Tim Howard (Everton), Nick
Rimando (Real Salt Lake) DEFENDERS (8):
DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting KC) John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), *Geoff Cameron (Stoke City),
Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), *Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Michael Orozco (Puebla) MIDFIELDERS (8):
Kyle Beckerman (Real
Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), *Michael Bradley (Roma), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), *Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), *Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Graham Zusi (Sporting
KC) FORWARDS (4):
*Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), *Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Aron Johannsson (AZ), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders)