Five USMNT players to watch against Iceland and Canada
January camp is winding to a close for the United States national team. Click through for five players to watch in the upcoming friendlies against Iceland (Jan. 31) and Canada (Feb. 5, 10:15p.m. ET, FS1). -- Text by Kyle McCarthy
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D.C. United defender Steven Birnbaum
Birnbaum impressed during January camp, but he needed a late call-up to make this roster. The departure of Matt Miazga -- there are some pressing demands for the soon-to-be Chelsea player in England, after all -- offers a chance for playing time in the heart of defense. Birnbaum must emerge from the pack -- a group including Brad Evans and Perry Kitchen -- to offer a reminder of his promising debut a year ago and provide a reliable partner to Matt Besler.
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Columbus Crew SC midfielder Tony Tchani
Tchani forced his way into U.S. camp after missing out on a Cameroon call-up through injury in November. He faces a tussle for playing time with first-choice options Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones in camp, but his combination of application and presence makes him an intriguing option if Jurgen Klinsmann opts to experiment.
Getty ImagesAlex Menendez
Portland Timbers midfielder Darlington Nagbe
The debut is out of the way. His berth in the squad is relatively secure. Now it is time for Nagbe to state his claims for a regular place in the starting XI. An experiment with three in the center of the park would offer a timely boost to the cause.
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Columbus Crew SC winger Ethan Finlay
Finaly procured his first call-up after a stellar season with Crew SC. His approach to wing play -- particularly the willingness to slice inside more often than not -- presents an alternative for Klinsmann. He must prove himself capable of wielding influence in these sorts of matches to earn a spot down the line.
Getty ImagesJamie Sabau
Seattle Sounders forward Jordan Morris
Morris is the ideal intersection between the two purposes of this camp: cultivating players for regular first-team minutes and forging a foundation for the Olympic playoff against Colombia next month. It is likely he will play with the Olympic team in March given his club (MLS teams are more willing to release players) and his importance to those efforts (he is the primary source of goals for the under-23s). His displays in these two friendlies must underscore his ability to contribute at the top level and shoulder the burden for the Olympic side.