[CZECH REPUBLIC-USA] Jurgen Klinsmann
will send out the youngest team of his tenure as U.S. national team coach when the
USA faces the Czech Republic on Wednesday in Prague. Of the 18 field players likely to dress, the average age is 22.8, and just three of them started in the 2014 World Cup. Here are three Czech
Republic-USA storylines. Search for No. 1 in goal. Tim Howard
's decision to sit out the 2014-15 national team season means Jurgen
must find a No. 1 in goal, at least through next summer's Gold Cup.
The obvious choice is Brad Guzan
, the only other keeper
starting for a top-flight club in Europe. But Klinsmann has also brought in Nick Rimando
, the No. 3 keeper at the World Cup and the lone player who has flown in
from MLS for the game. Rimando and Guzan are at 35 and 29, respectively, the oldest players in Prague.
The job is Guzan's to lose, though Rimando should get a chance in at least one of
the two October friendlies that will be played in the United States. Huge opportunity for backups.
This is far from a full-strength squad with few
options in midfield, so this will be a chance for Mix Diskerud
and Joe Corona
to step out of the shadows and take on key
roles in central midfield.
Diskerud, who turns 24 in October, made the World Cup team but did not play in Brazil; Corona, who turned 24 in July, was on the 30-player short list but did
not survive the Stanford camp.
Both are starting for their club teams -- though Cesar Farias
, the coach who put Corona back in the lineup, was
fired by Xolos over the weekend -- so Klinsmann is counting on them for the new cycle.
Both Diskerud and Corona have heretofore been played a variety of midfield roles. With Jermaine Jones
and Kyle Beckerman
both in their 30s, Klinsmann will need to groom successors in central midfield.
Newbies in for a look.
Klinsmann has up until now been very reluctant to look at new players, in part due to his preference to concentrate on the World Cup, but
circumstances dictated that he fill out his roster for the Czech Republic with young players, six of whom are uncapped. The ranks of Americans in Europe has slimmed down considerably as MLS has upped
what it will offer players to stay at or return home.
No. 3 keeper Cody Cropper
plays for Southampton's U-21s, Joe
is with Borussia Dortmund II, its U-23 team, 18-year-olds Emerson Hyndman
(Fulham) and Rubio Rubin
only made their pro debuts in the last month, while Jordan Morris
(Stanford) is still in college. All are long-term prospects. (The sixth uncapped player is
Tijuana left back Greg Garza
, who turned 23 two weeks ago but is already in his fifth pro season.)
Only twice before has Klinsmann brought in
players with as little pro experience: Terrence Boyd
when he was at Borussia Dortmund II in 2012 and Julian Green
played most of last season with Bayern Munich II, for the World Cup.
Several of the newbies could earn their first cap. Besides Jozy Altidore
of the five forwards on the roster has been capped, and he's played only one game. U.S. Roster: GOALKEEPERS (3):
Cody Cropper (Southampton/ENG), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa/ENG), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake). DEFENDERS (7):
John Brooks (Hertha Berlin/GER), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER), Greg Garza (Tijuana), Fabian Johnson (Borussia M'Gladbach/GER),
Michael Orozco (Puebla), Tim Ream (Bolton Wanderers/ENG). MIDFIELDERS (7):
Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes/FRA), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Mix Diskerud
(Rosenborg/NOR), Julian Green (Hamburg/GER), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham/ENG), Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt/GER), Brek Shea (Stoke City/ENG). FORWARDS (5):
Jozy Altidore (Sunderland/ENG), Joe Gyau (Borussia Dortmund II/GER), Jordan Morris (Stanford Univ.), Rubio Rubin (FC Utrecht/NED), Bobby Wood (1860 Munich/GER).