The United States announced their final roster for Copa America Centenario on Saturday and it featured all of the team’s biggest names, but there was one notable omission.
Jordan Morris was not named to the team, leaving one of the Americans’ brightest young talents home from this summer’s mega tournament. Jurgen Klinsmann began calling Morris up in 2014 while the forward was still at Stanford, making him the first college player to get a look with the full national team in well over a decade, and he appeared to be in the manager’s good graces. Morris is in good form too, recently scoring in four consecutive matches for the Seattle Sounders. But that wasn’t enough for Klinsmann to put him on the roster, even with Jozy Altidore ruled out for the tournament with a hamstring injury.
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Klinsmann has opted for Clint Dempsey, Chris Wondolowski, Bobby Wood and Gyasi Zardes at forward in Altidore’s absences. Notably, none of the four are especially strong back-to-goal players capable of serving as a target man like Altidore is. Klinsmann has essentially chosen not to replace Altidore and presumably will have the Americans play differently in the attack, taking advantage of the strengths that his forwards do have instead of trying to force one of them into Altidore’s more physical role.
The midfield choices are as expected, with Darlington Nagbe and Christian Pulisic being the only names that really stand out. Nagbe is relatively new to the national team, but brings a needed bit of skill to the side and is playing well for the Portland Timbers. Pulisic is the latest American hot shot, although he’s earning his plaudits for his play and it would be difficult to argue that the hype surrounding him isn’t well-earned. He cracked Borussia Dortmund’s first team at the start of 2016 and, at 17 years old, became the youngest player in Bundesliga history to score two goals in league play.
The defense is similarly standard. Timmy Chandler is the closest inclusion that could be considered a surprise, but he has always been a favorite of Klinsmann’s and the U.S. are thin at right back.
In goal, Brad Guzan and Tim Howard are still the top two, while Klinsmann has chosen to make Ethan Horvath the third goalkeeper. With the third goalkeeper almost never called upon to play, Klinsmann is looking at Copa America as a valuable opportunity to get the 20-year-old Horvath some experience because he could be the Americans’ goalkeeper of the future.
The U.S. will kickoff Copa America Centenario against Colombia on June 3, before taking on Costa Rica and Paraguay in Group A action. The tournament final is on June 26 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ and the entire competition will be shown live on FOX, FS1 and FX.
Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), Ethan Horvath (Molde IK)
Defenders: Matt Besler (Sporting KC), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur)
Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (FC Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Jermaine Jones (Colorado Rapids), Perry Kitchen (Heart of Midlothian), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Christian Pulisic, Graham Zusi (Sporting KC)
Forwards: Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (Hamburg SV), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)