By Paul Kennedy
At first blush, there is nothing startling about the 40-player list
from which Jurgen Klinsmann
will pick 23 players to take to the Copa
Centenario in June. They're the same old suspects, you might say.
All but four players he took to the World Cup are still around two years later. And that doesn't include players like
and Edgar Castillo
who didn't go to Brazil but have been with him dating back to his first game against Mexico in August 2011.
The paradox to Klinsmann's
selections, though, is that he is extremely loyal to players whom he's used in the past but he has a long history of rolling the dice with young players.
The USA will likely still lean on
veterans like Tim Howard
, 37, or Brad Guzan
, 31, in goal, Jermaine Jones
, 34, in midfield and Clint Dempsey
, 33, up front against Colombia, Costa Rica and Paraguay at the
But Klinsmann has been giving signs that he's ready to make a move and bring in youngsters like Christian Pulisic
, Jordan Morris
, Ethan Horvath
and Matt Miazga
to go along with John Brooks
, DeAndre Yedlin
and Bobby Wood
, who have been with the national team for several years.
gave Brooks or Yedlin a chance to make the cut from 30 players to 23 on the 2014 U.S. World Cup roster, but Klinsmann took both of them to Brazil and used them in key situations. There's a good chance
that Brooks, Yedlin, Pulisic and Wood could all start at the Copa Centenario.
Brooks would have likely started in the World Cup 2018 qualifiers against Guatemala in March but was injured
when he came into camp from Hertha Berlin. Yedlin won the starting job at right back at Sunderland and has kept it as the Black Cats fight to avoid relegation. With each call-up, Klinsmann seems more
at ease with the idea of employing Yedlin at right back. (After all, it isn't like he has a lot of other alternatives.)
Dortmund has used Pulisic in key situations throughout the winter
and spring, and the 17-year-old Pennsylvanian has not once looked out of place. If he can do that for Dortmund, he can do that for the USA. Wood, the oldest player in the group at the age of 23,
started both World Cup 2018 qualifiers against Guatemala ahead of Jozy Altidore
, who was just returning from a hamstring injury, and has enjoyed one of the longest hot streaks an American
striker has ever had.
Horvath plays for Norwegian club Molde, which will be off in June. If he is called up, he'll miss two league matches in May. Klinsmann said recently that Acosta, who
started the winter friendlies against Iceland and Canada, would have likely been called up for the Guatemala series if he wasn't with the U-23s for the Olympic qualifying playoffs against Colombia.
Miazga might the longest shot of the bunch as the USA is the deepest at center back with Geoff Cameron
, Matt Besler
and Brooks likely to go to the Copa Centenario and Steven
and Omar Gonzalez
(plus Ventura Alvarado and
Orozco and Tim Ream
, who can play in the middle) also in the mix.