USA reveals 23-man roster for CONCACAF Cup playoff against Mexico
United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann omitted injured duo John Brooks and Aron Jóhannsson from his final 23-man roster to face Mexico in the CONCACAF Cup playoff next Saturday.
Brooks has not featured for Hertha Berlin since picking up a thigh injury prior to the Americans’ 4-1 defeat against Brazil last month, while Jóhannsson has missed the past two matches for Werder Bremen after sustaining an adductor injury prior to Bremen’s 3-0 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen on Sept. 26.
Klinsmann opted to leave both injured players off the squad handed into CONCACAF on Thursday. U.S. Soccer revealed the selection exclusively on FOX on Saturday night ahead of the one-off playoff on Oct. 10 (live, 8:00p.m. ET, FS1, FOX Sports GO).
“This roster is obviously full of experience,” Klinsmann said in a statement. “This is about having a group of players who understand exactly now what this is all about. This is about momentum. This is about high energy. This is about representing my country. This is about belief and a high-level of aggressiveness in a one-off game to beat Mexico and to get to the Confederations Cup. It’s a unique opportunity, and you have to embrace it and give everything you have.”
Brooks’ absence and Ventura Alvarado’s recent spell on the sidelines for Club América prompted Klinsmann to reinforce his defensive options ahead of the tie. Brad Evans and Jonathan Spector both retain their places after a call-up for the September friendlies, while DaMarcus Beasley and Fabian Johnson return to the squad after recovering from injury. Omar Gonzalez drops off the roster after a poor performance against Peru and a dip in form for LA Galaxy.
The extra bodies in defense and the inclusion of Real Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman squeezed the number of berths available in midfield. Joe Corona, Mix Diskerud and Alfredo Morales all miss out a place on this roster, though Danny Williams is named in the squad after scoring against Brazil.
Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey lead the efforts up front. Gyasi Zardes is a potential alternative if he does not feature in midfield, while veteran forward Chris Wondolowski is named in the squad ahead of Bobby Wood.
U.S. Soccer is allowed to make changes to the squad in case of injury up to 24 hours before the playoff, according to CONCACAF regulations. Federation officials are required to document the injury in order to receive approval for the switch.
United States roster to face Mexico in CONCACAF Cup
Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
Defenders: Ventura Alvarado (Club América), DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), Tim Ream (Fulham), Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City)
Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Jermaine Jones (New England Revolution), Danny Williams (Reading), DeAndre Yedlin (Sunderland), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)