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Klinsmann announces training camp roster for crucial five-game stretch

By Kim Tate



KINGSTON, JAMAICA - SEPTEMBER 07: Clint Dempsey #8 of the United States battles for the ball with Ryan Johnson #9 of Jamaica during the United States and Jamaica World Cup Qualifier at National Stadium on September 7, 2012 in Kingston, Jamaica
KINGSTON, JAMAICA - SEPTEMBER 07: Clint Dempsey #8 of the United States battles for the ball with Ryan Johnson #9 of Jamaica during the United States and Jamaica World Cup Qualifier at National Stadium on September 7, 2012 in Kingston, Jamaica

Team USA will prepare for a five - game stretch which will call for two friendlies against Belgium and Germany, ahead of three crucial World Cup qualifiers.

U.S. Men's National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has called in 26 players for training camp in Cleveland, which is set to commence on May 26. Per a U.S. Soccer press release, a total of 29 players will participate, including four MLS goalkeepers that will rotate through camp. Players will start to file into camp at various times as they finish up existing club commitments.

The US will play its first game on May 29 against Belgium at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, followed by the Centennial Celebration Match against Germany on June 2 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. Second behind top-place Spain in FIFA Rankings, the Germans will provide an excellent elevated standard for the U.S going into qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.

The US kicks off game one of three with their third road match in four games at Jamaica on June 7 in Kingston. They return home to host Panama on June 11 at Century Link Field in Seattle - the USA's first home qualifier in the Emerald City since 1976.  The team concludes the three-match set at sold-out Rio Tinto Stadium when it welcomes Honduras on June 18 to kick off the second half of the final round.

Longtime national team staples Landon Donovan, Carlos Bocanegra, and Steve Cherundolo have been left off this roster. Klinsmann continues to evaluate Donovan,  who recorded two assists in last night's LA Galaxy game against the Philadelphia Union, and is coming off a recent sabbatical from playing after last season. Both Klinsmann and Donovan have publicly expressed the desire for him to return to the team eventually.

Bocanegra's club situation in Europe has impacted his career with the national team, which is why we've been without the longtime captain in previous matches. He wasn't seeing much playing time with his Spanish second division team, Racing Santander, and Klinsmann has indictaed that a return to Rangers in the Scottish Premier League wouldn't be sufficient enough to earn a spot back on the USA roster. With a move to the right club, we could most certainly be seeing him anchoring the backline again. One omission that has puzzled some is Cherundolo, who recently set a record for Hannover 96 for most appearances in the Bundesliga. A member of the last three U.S. World Cup teams, the 34 year old appeared in his 299th Bundesliga game Saturday against Bayer Leverkusen, one more than Juergen Bandura set from 1964-74.

U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION - DETAILED ROSTER:

GOALKEEPERS (6) :Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tally Hall (Houston Dynamo), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Tim Howard (Everton), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

DEFENDERS (8) : DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Michael Parkhurst (Augsburg)

MIDFIELDERS (10) : Michael Bradley (Roma), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Maurice Edu (Bursaspor), Stuart Holden (Bolton), Jermaine Jones (Schalke), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Brek Shea (Stoke City), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

FORWARDS (5) : Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur), Herculez Gomez (Santos), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC)

Klinsmann is enthusiastic about this particular group, noting a better grasp by the players of his intentions. "The players understand more how we're working, what we're looking for, the way we want to play and the way we want to challenge big nations eye-to-eye. As we go into this stretch of two friendly games against Belgium and Germany and three big World Cup Qualifiers, we want to see more consistent performances. There is a huge opportunity to pick up a lot of points and put ourselves in a good position to qualify for Brazil."

Additional notes courtesy of U.S. Soccer:

Currently in second place in the Final Round of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the U.S. could earn as many as nine points in the trio of qualifiers ahead. The team is riding a 21-0-2 unbeaten streak at home in World Cup qualifying and is coming off a pair of impressive results, having collected a 1-0 win against Costa Rica before earning a point in qualifying in Mexico for only the second time in team history.

The roster is stacked with nearly the complete group from those matches, including the game-winning goal scorer against Costa Rica, Clint Dempsey, and Budweiser Man of the Match DaMarcus Beasley. In addition, both Tim Howard and Fabian Johnson return to the fold after missing the March games through injury.

With eight players carrying yellow cards into World Cup qualifying, having 26 players in camp gives Klinsmann flexibility in selections. Additionally, players who have completed their seasons in Europe and Mexico and are candidates for the Gold Cup will be able to continue to train and be evaluated.

As in March, both Steve Cherundolo (knee) and Timmy Chandler (knee) will be unavailable. Cherundolo has not fully recovered from the injury that kept him out for four months, while Chandler suffered ligament damage May 6 in training.

The U.S. strikeforce is loaded with players scoring goals for both club and country: Clint Dempsey has seven goals in World Cup qualifying in this cycle and 12 overall, and is now tied for first place on the USA's all-time list.

Jozy Altidore tallied 31 goals in all competitions for AZ Alkmaar, breaking the single-season record for an American in Europe that was set by Dempsey (23) last year. Altidore became the first U.S. player to be named to the Dutch Eredivisie Team of the Year.

Eddie Johnson has 10 career goals in qualifying to his credit, tied for second all-time with Brian McBride.

Herculez Gomez has 11 goals in all competitions and is playing for Santos in the Liga MX semifinals after having reached the CONCACAF Champions League final earlier this year. Gomez potted a pair of goals during the Semifinal Round, including the game-winner against Jamaica on Sept. 11, 2012, in Columbus.

Terrence Boyd finished his first season at Rapid Vienna with 15 goals in all competitions.
After two outstanding performances at left back, DaMarcus Beasley is one appearance shy of becoming the 13th player in MNT history to earn 100 caps. He has 28 career caps in World Cup qualifying, good for fifth-most on the USA's all-time list.

Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler return after the pair impressed in the 0-0 draw against Mexico. In that game, Besler became only the second U.S. player in history to start a World Cup qualifier with fewer than two caps.

Besler replaced Clarence Goodson, who stood firm in the 1-0 win against Costa Rica and was subsequently sidelined with a hamstring injury.

With two straight clean sheets in March, Brad Guzan now has five shutouts in seven matches played in qualifying in his career, posting a 4-1-2 record. Guzan was voted the Aston Villa Player of the Year by both players and supporters.

Between UEFA Champions League, Europa League, Copa Libertadores and CONCACAF Champions League, a total of 11 U.S. players competed in regional cup competitions this season.

Stuart Holden returns to the U.S. fold for the first time since October of 2010. Klinsmann has already indicated that Holden will be a part of this roster as well as the Gold Cup.

Michael Bradley will compete in the Coppa Italia Final on May 26 in Rome against Lazio.

Edgar Castillo and Joe Corona have continued the historic run with Club Tijuana in the 2013 Copa Libertadores, advancing to the quarterfinals to face Atletico Mineiro on May 22 and May 29.

Sean Johnson (May 26-30), Bill Hamid (May 30-June 2), Tally Hall (June 2-June 8) and Nick Rimando (June 9-19) will all rotate through camp at different stages and serve as the third goalkeeper.

Eight players are carrying yellow cards into the next World Cup qualifiers: DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Bradley, Matt Besler, Brad Davis, Clint Dempsey, Maurice Edu, Fabian Johnson and Graham Zusi. Their next caution will result in a one-match suspension.

- ussoccer.com -