The most inexperienced squad of players in a January camp since the strike camp of 2005 will get down to action when the USA hosts Iceland Sunday in the first of two men's friendlies it will play at
StubHub Center (TV: ESPN2, UniMas, UDN, 3:45 p.m. ET). Ten uncapped players -- David Bingham
, Ethan Finlay
and Tony Tchani
, plus seven under-23 players -- are joined by six
players who earned their first caps in 2015 in Jurgen Klinsmann
's squad of 26 players. 1. Auditioning a replacement for Jermaine Jones.
starters from the Trinidad & Tobago game in November are in camp, and one of them -- Jermaine Jones
-- is possibly suspended for the two-game series against Guatemala in March, so
finding a midfield partner for Michael Bradley
will be the top priority. Jones is in camp while he tries to find a new team -- he'l need to find a new club that is playing soon to
complete his six-game suspension before the March qualifiers -- but Klinsmann must consider auditioning a possible replacement for March, if not the rest of the year.
wasn't used centrally in his two brief appearances in November, but his deployment there for the Portland Timbers may have turned his career around and certainly helped them win their first
Nagbe's work on the ball is something the USA needs desperately to complement Bradley. It remains to be see, though, what exactly Klinsmann has in mind for Nagbe whom he
clearly wants to groom for a bigger role.
Klinsmann could also give playing time in central midfield to one of the Columbus Crew SC midfielders, Will Trapp
, the U-23
captain, or Tchani, or Perry Kitchen
, who has been looking for a new team.
2. New focus on goalkeeping situation.
The U.S. goalkeeping situation has been
straightforward in recent years. Tim Howard
, Brad Guzan
and Nick Rimando
During Howard's sabbatical, Guzan was No. 1 and Rimando No. 2.
Howard is contemplating a return to MLS after 13 seasons in England, Guzan is on the bench at Aston Villa and Rimando is seemingly out of the picture.
With Bill Hamid
out with a
knee injury, three keepers who didn't even rank in the top 5 at the end of last year are vying to start against Iceland: Sean Johnson, Luis Robles
and Bingham, who have six caps between
Does Johnson, Robles or Bingham have a future in the U.S. goal? Probably not. The group of U-23 keepers -- not in camp -- is one of the deepest the USA has had in years:
, Zack Steffen
, Cody Cropper
and (if he changes his mind again) Jesse Gonzalez.
3. Last chance for the U-23 reinforcements.
The USA faces Colombia in a two-game playoff series in March with a berth in the Olympics on the line. Several fixtures in Andi Herzog
's U-23 lineup -- Jordan Morris
and Trapp -- are in camp.
But this is the first serious look for Kellyn Acosta
, Tim Parker
and Brandon Vincent
and the games against Iceland and
Canada next Friday will be their one chance to impress Klinsmann and Herzog. OPPONENT.
Iceland, which has qualified for Euro 2016, is
without most of its first-line players, who play in major European leagues. The squad it took to Abu Dhabi for matches against the Finland and UAE and has brought to California includes only three
players -- defenders Birkir Mar Saevarsson
and Ari Freyr Skulason
and forward Kjartan Finnbogason
-- who started in the 2-2 tie with Latvia in October that clinched Iceland's
first-ever berth in a major championship. U.S. Roster: GOALKEEPERS:
David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Sean Johnson
(Chicago Fire), Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls) DEFENDERS:
Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), Eric Miller (Montreal Impact),
Michael Orozco (Tijuana/MEX), Tim Parker (Vancouver Whitecaps), Matt Polster (Chicago Fire), Brandon Vincent (Chicago Fire), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders) MIDFIELDERS:
(Toronto FC), Mix Diskerud (New York City), Jermaine Jones (unattached), Perry Kitchen (unattached), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution), Tony Tchani (Columbus
Crew SC), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC) FORWARDS:
Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Ethan Finlay (Columbus Crew SC), Jerome Kiesewetter (VfB Stuttgart/GER), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders),
Khiry Shelton (New York City), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy Iceland Roster: GOALKEEPERS:
Gunnleifur Gunnleifsson (Breioablik),
Ogmundur Kristinsson (Hammarby/SWE). DEFENDERS:
Birkir Mar Saevarsson (Hammarby/SWE), Ari Freyr Skulason (OB/DEN),
Hallgrimur Jonasson (OB/DEN), Jon Guoni Fjoluson (Sundsvall/SWE),
Hjortur Hermannsson (PSV/NED), Diego Johannesson (Real Oviedo/SPA). MIDFIELDERS:
Arnor Smarason (Hammarby/SWE), Runar Mar Sigurjonsson (Sundsvall/SWE), Guomundur Porarinsson
(Nordsjaelland/DEN), Kristinn Steindorsson (Sundsvall/SWE), Aron Elis Prandarson (Aalesunds/NOR), Aron Siguroarson (Fjolnir), Aevar Ingi Johannesson (KA). FORWARDS:
(Shijiazhuang Ever Bright/CHN), Kjartan Finnbogason (Horsens/DEN), Garoar Gunnlaugsson (IA).