Klinsmann Unveils His First USMNT Roster

The U.S. v. Mexico rematch friendly is less than a week away, and today Jurgen Klinsmann unveiled his first list of call-ups as the head coach for the national team.  The Mexico friendly comes at a tricky time for the U.S., as the bigger European leagues are kicking off this month and Klinsmann might have hesitated to call-up players overseas in these leagues.  Mexico will also be missing key players, and with their national team having played in both the Gold Cup and Copa America this summer, they may use the opportunity to rotate eligible players.

Nevertheless, the roster has been described as a window into Klinsmann’s thinking about the future of the national team.  Would it be all new faces or very young players?  Would we see more players with Hispanic heritage?  What about the German-Americans?  Or would it be same old, same old for at least one more game?

The roster, released today, is a mixture of all of these.  Six of the players play professionally in Germany, four play in Mexico, and seven are from MLS.  Below are the players, listed by position (as listed by US Soccer) and alphabetically with some thoughts on the selections.  What do you think, are there glaring omissions in this list?  Sound off in the comments section.

Keeper: Bill Hamid (DC United/MLS), Tim Howard (Everton/BPL)

While Howard is a no-brainer and well rested with his time off in July, the inclusion of Hamid is a welcome one and may signal that Klinsmann is looking to MLS for the keeper of the future.  As anyone who knows my writing knows, I am a big Bill Hamid fan.  He has shown good progress over the course of the MLS season (which coincides with DCU’s defensive improvement) and the time spent with Howard will help him become a better keeper for the U-23 team.

Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra (Saint-Etienne/Ligue 1), Edgar Castillo (Club America/Primera Division), Timothy Chandler (FC Nurnberg/Bundesliga), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96/Bundesliga), Clarence Goodson (Brondby/Danish Superliga), Michael Orozco-Fiscal (San Luis/Primera Division), Heath Pearce (Chivas USA/MLS), Tim Ream (NY Red Bull/MLS)

Many of the names on this list are familiar - the usual starters are well represented here, as well as future starter Tim Ream.  Chandler, who many expect to be a future (or current) starter is included as well.  But you can see the boss’ desire to include more Hispanic players on the roster in this category.  Orozco-Fiscal has been a key member of the U-23 team but has played all but one year of his professional career in Mexico.  Castillo was a dual-national who picked the U.S. and made one appearance on the national team in 2009 in a friendly.  I was glad to see that Heath Pearce is getting a call-up, as he definitely deserves a second shot at playing time for the USMNT.

Absent from this list are Oguchi Onyewu, some of the younger MLS defenders, and a few USMNT and MLS fringe players.  Gooch may have been left off to allow himself time to further integrate with his new European club, so his exclusion was not unexpected.  However, the Galaxy got the shaft (or maybe the benefit) of no call-up for Omar Gonzalez.  Players like Chad Marshall or Jay DeMerit were also not included, leaving me to wonder if their international playing time window is closed.

Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake/MLS), Michael Bradley (Borussia Moenchen./Bundesliga), Ricardo Clark (Eintracht Frankfurt/Bundesliga), Maurice Edu (Rangers/SPL), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04/Bundesliga), Brek Shea (FC Dallas/MLS), Jose Torres (Pachuca/Primera Division)

Thankfully Brek Shea made the roster so there would not be a rending of garments by some national soccer correspondents.  That said, this group has a distinctly German flavor.  Potential “on the outs” players like Jones, Torres, and Edu were all included, either signaling a lack of depth in the U.S. system at this position or that these players haven’t been used to their full potential (in Klinsmann’s mind).  Kyle Beckerman also gets another shot at the national team after some time away, again showing the head coach has watched some MLS and knows the players.

Forwards: Freddy Adu (Benfica/Primeira Liga), Juan Agudelo (NY Red Bull/MLS), DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla/Primera Division), Edson Buddle (FC Ingolstadt/2. Bundesliga), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy/MLS)

Some of these “forwards” are more midfielders, so we may subtly be seeing a shift from a 4-4-2ish formation to a 4-3-3 or 4-2-2-2.  As expected, Freddy Adu gets another call-up likely based on his Gold Cup performance while the team welcomes back Edson Buddle, who should have a good chance to secure a roster spot.

But while the included are not surprising, the excluded are interesting.  Young guns Teal Bunbury, Jozy Altidore, and Mikel Diskerud were all left off the roster, and while Jozy’s absence can again be explained by the new club reason, the other two are curious absences.  Hamid’s teammate Charlie Davies also seemingly missed the cut, which causes me to wonder how close he actually is to making the team.  And of course the biggest name missing from this list is Clint Dempsey, but we all know what he can do and his professional season starts August 13.

46 Responses to Klinsmann Unveils His First USMNT Roster

  1. Jonathan says:

    I bet anything… 4-4-2 with Buddle and Landon upfront.

  2. Alan says:

    There were some people left off for sure, but you can’t include everyone. Davies probably just wasn’t needed yet. I bet that he wanted to work with some established players while giving others a chance to audition. I wouldn’t be surprised to see changes as time goes on.

    What is that? Landon up front? I have been saying that for a long time.

  3. Robert says:

    So glad to see a few fresh faces and some names returning. I’m also glad to see Altidore OFF the LIST!

  4. Charles says:

    Interesting selections.

    I don’t know the age of everyone, but it seems VERY young.

  5. mateo says:

    So glad not to see… Bornstien… Gooch (just lost it mentally with the injury afraid to leave his feet)… Sacha Kljestan… That alone makes me much more sane going into any match… why Bradley kept giving them chances is beyond me. Very Glad to see Altidore gone, Have to explain more here obviously… he has all of the physical athletic traits and all of the opportunity to be an incredible forward… but he does not have the mentality/drive… if you put Dempsey’s head on his body he would be awesome. I just don’t think he’ll ever be much better than his is now. I know he’s a top scorer… but he also has been the starter everytime and he has definitely not been improving over the last several years.

    Glad Donovan is up front… we have plenty of midfielders to choose from and we need his speed and creativity up front. I am concerned about his mentality to because he seems to think he is not a goal scorer and a forward anymore, more of a playmaker. He needs to get that out of his head because the only reason he was such and effective playmaker is because he was so dangerous as a goal scorer… spliting and running at defenses. Hopefully some good coaching straightens that thinking out and he’ll quickly be back to his former ways… he is streaky so competition will be good for his position. Wish Dempsey was here…NEED him. Excited about Chandler. Overall much more pleased with the roster choice than Bradley’s

  6. danny says:

    the only good news about this is that bradley is out as head coach. but with that said, crappy selection… getting used to it though. no duece, gooch, jozy, spector, benny, or jay or davies. well atleast bornstein is out. Well guess we love losing to mexico dont we:) pathetic

    • Mateo says:

      Agree with duece, and benny, jay demerit not being there… but do you seriously want gooch? he is so slow and flat footed now. Maybe at some point he’ll get his confidence back… but he is flat now. I want to see Davies too, but he is injured and needs to build back up this year.

  7. Earl Reed says:

    The bottom line is that these dates will establish the player pool heading into qualification, so it’s not a big deal if we don’t see the gamut of players one could expect. Klinsmann acknowledged that there may be a need to draw more from the Latino community, and he’s done that in this group. It can’t hurt having three of the players have a strong knowledge of the Mexican style from playing in their league.

    At this point, eyes should be on the younger stars who will need to begin to assert themselves on the bigger stage. Thinking especially of Shea, Agudelo, Adu, Chandler, and Ream. The last two are going to be of particular importance, because our back four continues to age. Bocanegra and Cherundolo are each 32. I’d imagine in the next friendly that Onyewu would get a run-out, he’s still well into the mix of things if he can put it back together. Perhaps Gooch should be purely considered as a left back option from hereon out, and allow Goodson, Omar Gonzalez, and Ream to grow into the center back roles.

  8. Clampdown says:

    I love how everyone kills Jozy. He’s 21 for f*ck’s sake. You fickle, impatient people. 12 goals in 39 appearances. That’s a pretty good return. “But he looks lazy.” So does Berbatov. So what? The US is short on people who can put the ball in the net. He’s one that can.

    Rant over.

    I like the roster for the most part. Not a fan of Beckerman or Pearce, but given some of the names missing I guess it’s just filling out the roster.

    • mateo says:

      See my comments above… I love Berbatov… he is awesome…. to me he is just cool on the ball. Jozy is totally different… has very little mental strength. Get’s frustrated easy does not have the mental drive that it takes to become a top player… So much of being an athlete is about mentality. I’d be up for him being on the bench as a backup. But a gauranteed starter has done nothing to help him.

      • Clampdown says:

        Just curious, how do you know what Jozy’s mental strength is?

        Who in the US pool has shown the ability to find the net more often from the forward position (other than Donovan and Dempsey, who are both midfielders)?

        Again, he is 21 years old. Project his scoring ratio out over 100 caps, then compare to McBride and Wynalda, both known for “mental strength”, “passion”, etc. Will Jozy get there? I have no idea. And I do recognize the flaws in his game, just like I recognize flaws in Dempsey’s game (how dare I?), Holden’s game, etc.

        • mateo says:

          I know as much about his mentality as you do… just observation. If you look at where those goals came from and when and you observe how he has been doing in Europe and MNT over the last few years. Just watching his play overall in games. He does not seem to be improving. His physical strength and athletic ability took him a long way… he seems to have hit a wall. Sure he is young… and he may mature… but my point is in the meantime we need to quit relying on him as a starting forward. He will improve best if he has to work into that position. He is not there by a good bit now. Bradley pretty much had him as a shoe in nearly every game as a starter and one of the only options up front.

        • Dave C says:

          Just curious, how do you know what Jozy’s mental strength is?
          I’ve heard various sources (both in the media and word-of-mouth) that suggest he’s not the sharpest tool in the box. I know that’s not exactly the same as mental strength, but it’s related.

        • DC Fan says:

          I would agree Altidore’s issues are not mental. However, while having athletic attributes, it is clear to most observers Altidore’s biggest deficiency is technical skill related. Although only 21, given the short arch of a soccer player’s career, if Altidore hasn’t developed a decent first touch at this stage, he probably never will.

    • mateo says:

      See my comments above… I love Berbatov… he is awesome…. to me he is just cool on the ball. Jozy is totally different… Get’s frustrated easy does not have the mental drive that it takes to become a top player… So much of being an athlete is about mentality. I’d be up for him being on the bench as a backup. But a gauranteed starter has done nothing to help him.

    • Dave C says:

      Much as I’m actually a defender of Altidore (I think he’s still a decent prospect), I’ve gotta say, he’s no Dimitar Berbatov, not by a long way.

      Berba can afford to look lazy because he has incredible technique, vision, and a proven track record. By comparison, Altidore is just a big oaf who couldn’t trap a sandbag.

      • Clampdown says:

        Dave, I wasn’t comparing the skill level. Sure, it’s not even close. Berba is an amazing talent. Just a comparison on the perceived laziness.

        • Dave C says:

          Ok fair enough… I just mean he doesn’t have even anything like the ability to be able to get away with being seen as lazy.

    • casualfan says:

      The problem with Jozy is that he hasn’t developed his style yet. I never know if he’s going to post up and muscle his way past someone (probably his biggest strength), or if he’s going to try to go all twinkle-toes and blow by someone (definitely not his strength). He has had some surprisingly good play on the flanks. But, until he figures out what kind of player he wants to be, I don’t think he’s going to shine. I do think he has a lot of potential though, and I agree with you that people don’t give him enough credit.

      • Dave C says:

        From what I’ve seen of him (mostly at Hull City), it seems like he doesn’t actually know where his strengths lie…

        Half the time he gets the ball, he tries to pull off some clumsy school-yard Ronaldinho stuff that might work in the MLS or against St Vincent and the Grenadines, but at the highest level he just loses the ball. On the other hand, despite his physique, he seemed like a bit of a bottler when it came to the physical side of the game. I think these issues were getting ironed out of him during his time in the EPL, and hopefully with some good coaching (which he wasn’t really getting in England), this will continue and he’ll find his niche.

        • Clampdown says:


          I think his time at Hull was the worst thing for him. Initially, I thought it would be good, but that Hull squad was awful. It was full of selfish, shoot-first, pass-second midfielders (looking at you, Jimmie Bullard!). He was surrounded by a lot of bad players, which is not good for a 19 year old with a lot of learning still to do. And I don’t think perma-tan, soundbite-machine Brown was the man to teach him.

          I’m really happy he’s at AZ now. This next spell should help determine what kind of player he is how could he could be.

          Also, as casualfan has pointed out, he actually looks better when pushed out to the wing. I don’t think ultimately that’s a good spot for him as i don’t think he’ll ever have the stamina for the wing, but I do believe his passing is a very underrated part of his game.

          • Clampdown says:

            *…and how good he could be.

          • Dave C says:

            Jimmy Bullard only played about four games in the whole time Jozy was there, so I don’t think he was much of a factor. To describe any of the rest of them as “Shoot first, pass second” implies that any of them could actually pass or shoot, which isn’t the case ;)

            I think the more accurate description was that they were just garbage.

            And the other thing is, he may have been surrounded by bad players, but you have to earn the right to play alongside good players. Much as I like Jozy, it wasn’t like he head-and-shoulders above the rest of the team (he was far inferior in all ways to big Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, who was like 100 yrs old, but regularly kept Jozy out of the team). He was playing with guys who are at his level. His problem was that he was playing against guys above that level.

            He could do a job on the wing at some levels of the game, but he’s neither fast enough nor skilful enough to be much use out there.

  9. Rafael says:

    I don’t know why is everyone is surprised that Dempsey was left off. It was reported a couple of days ago on Yahoo he wouldn’t be called because of Fulham’s preparation:

    The only issue I have is that Herculez Gomez wasn’t called in and I’m not liking Clark’s inclusion. Hoping Clark has improved and since he is playing CB at Frankfurt, that might be a better position and situation for him.

  10. Alan says:

    We do realize this is a friendly and a chance for him to see what these guys can do or not do, right? You’d think we were going to the World Cup or something tomorrow from some of the comments.

  11. Andre says:

    You guys also have to remember we have another game about 2 weeks after this one in LA. I am fairly sure, he’ll bring in ALOT more of the MLS players/Mexican that aren’t on this roster so the Euro based players don’t need to fly back to LA, then Fly Back to Europe for the following game.

    But like most people have said, as long as Bornstien never dons the USMNT kit again, ill be happy.

  12. Michael says:

    “showing the head coach has watched some MLS and knows the players.”

    I should hope so, as Toronto FC is paying him to help them succeed in MLS.

    In fact, I was worried Klinsmann would maybe be TOO MLS-centric, but I don’t think that’s a problem with this roster either.

  13. n r says:

    If you can’t admit that leaving Bornstein off his a huge win for the USMNT then you are being nothing but politically correct. How can you not see the huge changing of the guard here?

  14. Abram says:

    Lots of defensive minded midfielders. Curious as to if he tried to call on Joe Corona, who I know has expressed interest in playing for Mexico. Wish he had called on Diskerud. Overall, I’m not putting to much into his first roster, which he made less than a week after receiving the job.

    Also, I wouldn’t take Jozy not being included as a sign of him being on the outs with Klinsmann. Now if he’s not called up in September that’ll be a different story.

  15. Dave C says:

    we may subtly be seeing a shift from a 4-4-2ish formation to a 4-3-3 or 4-2-2-2

    Wasn’t Bradley’s formation of choice generally a 4-2-2-2 ish shape anyway?

  16. casualfan says:

    Dempsey is a lazy player. I wouldn’t care if he never played again. I think the biggest surprise of this whole roster is DeMarcus Beasley. He was one of my favorite players during the early 2000′s, but sort of fell off the radar. I haven’t seen him play for a few years, but I hope he’s back in form. He is lightning fast and has really keen eye for putting in nice crosses behind the defense.

  17. casualfan says:

    And while I believe Jay DeMerit is a very athletic player, he was also guilty of over-committing way, way too much. He was single handedly responsible for several goals against us in WC10. I’d much rather have Boca and Goodsen in the middle. Hell, I’d take Marshall over him. Dolo, Boca, Goodsen and Pearce make a solid back line for us.

  18. Dave C says:

    I never understand the identity-politics aspect to USMNT fandom. What does it matter how many “hispanic” players are picked for the USMNT? As for “German American” players, I’ve never really heard that one discussed before. You really think Klinsmann would favor someone just because their great-great-grandad immigrated from Germany in the 1890s?

    I couldn’t care less if the whole team were Apache, Mohawk, Hungarian or Chinese, as long as they were the best team available.

    • Tuttle says:

      In regards to Hispanics I think it’s more a case of the US system being perceived as not fully exploiting its available resources due to, for the most part, economic reasons rather than patent bigotry. That is, by pricing out the less affluent we’re missing out on a deep talent pool that, like recent immigrants throughout our history, is rather less well off than most Americans.

      As for German Americans, I have to assume the author means those with dual citizenship like Jermaine Jones and Tim Chandler. Klinsman may well favor those who came up in the German system and/or have Bundesliga experience, especially at first because they could fit into his system better with less development. There are a fair number of German Americans of this sort, largely due to all the American servicemen stationed in Germany.

      • Dave C says:

        You might have a point about the hispanics in general being priced out of American soccer. But whatever Klinsmann can do (if anything) to address that, it isn’t going to have any impact on the makeup of USMNT squads for at least the next 7-8 years.

  19. Roger says:

    No Convey? The game’s going to be in Philadelphia, his hometown. Plus a good right wingback is what the USMNT needs. Also, I hope Klinsmann eventually notices Ike Opara once he comes back from rehabing his foot.

  20. DC Fan says:

    “future starter Tim Ream”

    Definitely putting the cart before the horse with this declaration. As someone who follows MLS and USMNT close, I have not been impressed on any occasions in which Ream has stepped on the field. As much as I appreciate the gradual growth in MLS fan interest and player ability, I really think all USMNT players in World Cup related play should have some European league experience. Most of the 2002 WC quarterfinals squad had Euro experience. We need more of that if the USMNT is going to improve, not more high promotion of, as yet, unproved state-side players.

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