USMNT Report: MLS Call-ups Get Their Chance

USMNT manager Jurgen Klinsmann names a MLS-heavy roster for January camp
by Herb Scribner   |   Monday, January 06, 2014

USMNT Report - coverage of the United States Men's National Team

United States Men’s National Team manager Jurgen Klinsmann wasted little time in preparing for a World Cup year.

Last Friday, Klinsmann announced a 26-man training camp roster that will spend time in both California and Brazil ahead of the 2014 World Cup later this year. The roster will mainly be in preparation for a duel with South Korea set for the start of February.

Here’s a look at the announced call-ups:

GK: Tally Hall, Bill Hamid, Sean Johnson, Nick Rimando

DEF: Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez, Clarence Goodson, Michael Harrington, Chris Klute, Chance Myers, Shane O'Neill, Seth Sinovic, DeAndre Yedlin

MID: Eric Alexander, Kyle Beckerman, Brad Davis, Mix Diskerud, Brad Evans, Benny Feilhaber, Luis Gil, Mike Magee, Dax McCarty, Graham Zusi

FWD: Landon Donovan, Eddie Johnson, Chris Wondolowski

Klinsmann’s latest call-ups show a good mix of MLS players, youth standouts and established stars. Other than Mix Diskerud, every player in Klinsmann’s 26-man call sheet plays in MLS.

Notable MLS players like Seth Sinovic, Benny Feilhaber and Chris Klute were mostly chosen due to the success they had in the league this year, especially Feilhaber and Sinovic, who were a part of the MLS Cup-winning Sporting KC side. All 4 goalkeepers called up by Klinsmann had tremendous years in MLS, too, and were easy choices for the former German international as he looks to fill in the depth chart.

Two of the standout selections this time around were Mike Magee and DeAndre Yedlin. Magee’s call-up is a longtime coming for the 29 year-old, and something many MLS fans and analysts were calling for after his MVP 2013 season in MLS. Yedlin, a true right wingback who consistently added a weapon to the Seattle Sounders lineup all year, will be a player to watch during this training camp. He’s young, but he’s extremely talented and can be a difference maker out of the back. It’s surprising the 20-year-old defender didn’t decide to travel abroad for these winter months. Playing time under a European or South American coach would have raised Yedlin to the next level, especially given his young age. Yedlin surely could be a contender for the unclaimed rightback spot, and Magee could easily sneak his way into a midfielder slot if he continues his outstanding play at the international level.

Players like Landon Donovan, Kyle Beckerman, Eddie Johnson and Graham Zusi are veteran players in both MLS and the USMNT, but they aren’t planning to play abroad during the MLS break, so it makes sense for Klinsmann to include them in this lineup. It’s also a good opportunity for Klinsmann to get another look at Brad Davis, Brad Evans and Chris Wondolowski, who are on the shortlist for Brazil, but not necessarily booking their tickets just yet.

The established Yanks, like Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey, are actively competing in Europe, which means they’re getting the touches, minutes and games that’ll fine-tune them before this summer. These players weren’t chosen by Klinsmann in order to breathe new life into the USA roster and try out a few last niggling depth questions for a few positions still up for grabs.

While Klinsmann could be using this camp to iron out the wrinkles in the USA’s oftentimes-problematic lineup, it’s a good sign that he’s bringing in new blood. Calling up the likes of Magee, Yedlin and the U-20 standouts like Shane O’Neill and Luis Gil, not only shows the cohesiveness of the USSF soccer system – something that U-20 coach Tab Ramos has been calling for, which will surely help grow the skill and ability for Americans – but also is a sign that Klinsmann wants to assure he’s bringing all the right players with him to Brazil, where a daunting group awaits.

Some of these January camp members – other than the likes of Donovan, Beckerman, Johnson and Zusi, who are more than likely guaranteed a spot to Brazil – have a last shot at finding a way to the world tournament. Players like Magee, Yedlin and Klute could do enough to squeeze into the red and white striped shirts and change the very dynamic of the United States and their individual futures next summer.

But this lineup says more about those who weren’t selected than those who were. Klinsmann’s choice to leave out the likes of Aron Johannson, Alejandro Bedoya and all the other bubble players for the USA in 2013, shows that the USMNT manager has likely made up his mind on those players. Whether he approves of them or not, Klinsmann has made up his mind on many Americans, which means his overall plan, though it can’t be seen clearly by this lineup, may have finally started to take shape.

NEXT UP: February 1 – Friendly: United States vs. Korea Republic, StubHub Center, Carson, Calif. 5 p.m. EST, TBD.


UMass Amherst
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SN managing editor and award-winning journalist, Herb has always been known as "The Soccer Guy" wherever he goes. He's a leftback in most outdoor and indoor leagues. He also writes for Deseret News National.