Jurgen Klinsmann names USMNT’s World Cup qualifying roster, rewards Copa America squad
Coach Jurgen Klinsmann called up 26 players for two World Cup qualifiers starting next week and though it’s packed with many familiar faces from the Copa America Centenario, a few youngsters are getting a shot, too.
The U.S. men’s national team roster, announced on Sunday, recalls 19 of the 23 players who competed in Copa America, where the U.S. placed fourth. Two key players who will not return are striker Clint Dempsey, who is dealing with a medical situation, and injured forward Gyasi Zardes.
"We definitely think that the group that got fourth in the Copa America deserves a certain priority going on to the next World Cup qualifiers because they did tremendously well in the Copa America," Klinsmann said. “This is a big stage, and they deserve to come back and confirm what they did in the tournament in these upcoming, very important World Cup qualifiers.”
That means the inclusion of a couple players that may raise some eyebrows among fans eager to see a transition, like 34-year-old midfielder Kyle Beckerman and 33-year-old striker Chris Wondowlowski. Neither had good showings at this summer’s Copa America in largely off-the-bench roles and Wondolowski even said after the tournament, that it “could be it” for his international career.
But a batch of youngsters made the roster too, with 21-year-old Jordan Morris, 21-year-old Kellyn Acosta and 20-year-old Rubio Rubin joining the likes of 17-year-old Christian Pulisic, who featured at Copa America. There are also a couple of newer faces joining the group. Defensive midfielder Caleb Stanko, who is on loan in Switzerland for FC Valduz, earned his first call-up to the senior national team in May and has yet to feature. Tijuana winger Paul Arriola has just one cap for the senior team, coming in a May friendly against Puerto Rico.
The USMNT is heavily favored to win on the road against St. Vincent & the Grenadines on Sept. 2 and four days later against Trinidad & Tobago in Jacksonville to close out the fourth round of World Cup qualifying. The USMNT sits second in Group C behind Trinidad & Tobago but one point above Guatemala and, if they win both games, they will advance to the fifth and final hexagonal round of qualifying.
USMNT roster for World Cup qualifiers:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Middlesbrough), Ethan Horvath (Molde FC),Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids)
DEFENDERS (9): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City),Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), John Brooks (Hertha BSC), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City),Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Monchengladbach), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake),Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Jermaine Jones (Colorado Rapids), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Caleb Stanko (FC Vaduz), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Rubio Rubin (FC Utrecht), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (Hamburg SV)
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