People have a lot of opinions about Jurgen Klinsmann, most of which are tied to how well (or not) the USMNT is doing at any given moment. If I have any personal pet peeve it is that he continues to call up some players who continue to put up middling performances. On this squad that would be Castillo (though his last few call-ups have been a little better) and Bedoya (who is “solid” on a regular basis, but that seems an underwhelming endorsement when you’re talking about a national team).
All of this, however, is more than made up for by the fact that no national team manager in my memory has looked as far and wide for players as Klinsmann has. This goes not only for new players (Cropper, Brooks, Johannsson, Wood, etc.) and for players that previous regimes (cough-Bradley-cough) either never bothered with, or gave only a cursory look to (Parkhurst and, to a lesser extent, Kljestan).
Below is the roster and my comments on a few of the players…
It’s unlikely that U21 player Cropper will ever get off the bench, but this is a nice way of introducing him to the atmosphere and expectations of the “big boy” team and it will do him good in the long run. Beyond that my only question is whether Tim Howard will play the whole match or if both he and Guzan will get a half on their own.
The new guy here is John Anthony Brooks, a German-born defender currently playing for HSC Berlin. Brooks brings size (6′ 4″), a year of top flight experience, and a desire to play for the U.S.A. instead of Germany to the mix and those are all good things. Another call-up for Michael Parkhurst, which makes me very happy. Never thought I’d see Tim Ream put on the shirt again, but there you go.
Not much to say here other than it seems like Klinsmann has created a pretty deep pool at this position. Bradley is a given, as I’m sure Donovan will be when the time comes, but everyone else on the list (as well as Zusi, Edu, etc. ) seems to be in a pretty intense competition for the 2014 World Cup squad. There will be some tough choice about who stays home, but having something like 15 people competing for 8 spots for the next year can only be good.
Jozy Altidore has been on fire for a long time now. Eddie Johnson has been playing his way into my heart. Boyd has yet to score for the USMNT, but he’s become a goal every other game scorer for his club team. Which brings us to the new guys. Wood, who is still only 20, made the Gold Cup preliminary roster and apparently showed enough that Klinsmann wants the 1860 Munich forward to see a little more time with the senior team. Johannsson, the Mobile, Alabama-born Icelandic-American (how’s that for culture shock?) has opted to play for the good ol’ U.S.A.. He’s looked good since getting out from behind a certain Josmer Altidore at AZ with 5 goals in 7 matches thus far this year.
Can’t wait for Wednesday!!