Jurgen Klinsmann has called 24 players for the final two matches of the CONCACAF Qualifying semifinal round. Photo courtesy of U.S. Soccer
U.S. Soccer News: Klinsmann Calls 24 Players to Miami to Prepare for Critical FIFA World Cup Qualifiers
U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jürgen Klinsmann has called 24 players into training camp to prepare for its final two matches in the Semifinal Round of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup against Antigua & Barbuda and Guatemala.
The U.S. first faces the Benna Boyz on October 12 in North Sound, Antigua. Kickoff for the USA’s first visit to the island is set for 7:00 p.m. ET and the match will be broadcast live on beIN SPORT. Four days later, the U.S. will close out the Semifinal Round at sold-out LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. That match will be broadcast live at 6:00 p.m. CT on ESPN2, WatchESPN and the Univision family. Fans can follow the match live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and via Twitter @ussoccer.
The U.S. team began reporting to Miami on Monday and will depart for Antigua three days later.
“The mentality we are bringing into these two games is to get six points,” said Klinsmann. “It’s important that the players arriving into Miami prepare themselves for two ‘finals.’ We must have urgency within the group and a clear understanding that we need to deliver, which means each player has to bring a 100 percent effort. All our focus and energy for the next few days will be on getting the right preparation for the team so we can win the next two games.”
The U.S. is currently even with Guatemala at the top of Group A with seven points and matching totals in both goal differential and goals scored. Jamaica also has seven points but sits in third place due to a lower goal differential. With the three nations tied on points and jockeying for the top two spots, no team will be able to secure a place in the Final Round until the last group matches are played on October 16.
U.S. Roster by Position
GOALKEEPERS (3) : Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (8) : Carlos Bocanegra (Racing Santander), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Maurice Edu (Stoke City), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Michael Parkhurst (Nordsjaelland)
MIDFIELDERS (8) : Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Roma), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (5): Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Herculez Gomez (Santos), Alan Gordon (San Jose Earthquakes), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders)
ADDITIONAL ROSTER NOTES
- Clint Dempsey has scored in three of four World Cup Qualifiers in this round, with two of the goals coming on the road. Herculez Gomez has collected a pair, including the game-winner against Jamaica on September 11 in Columbus.
- Michael Bradley returns to the fold after recovering from a muscle injury that sidelined him for four weeks and forced him to miss the previous two qualifiers against Jamaica.
- Five players have appeared in all four World Cup Qualifiers in this round: Dempsey, Maurice Edu, Gomez, Tim Howard and Jermaine Jones.
- Jones leads all U.S. players in games played (10) and minutes (877) in 2012.
- Howard sits in second place all-time for victories among U.S. goalkeepers (33) and third in shutouts (29). He has nine clean sheets in 20 World Cup Qualifying appearances.
- Brad Guzan brings an additional three shutouts in five matches played.
- Dempsey now has eight career goals in World Cup Qualifying, good for a tie for fourth place all-time on the U.S. list.
- Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi is in first place in assists (15) in Major League Soccer this season, along with Landon Donovan.
- The U.S. and Antigua met for the first time in international competition when they opened Group A play on June 8 in Tampa. The lineup from the USA’s 3-1 win: Howard; Cherundolo, Goodson, Bocanegra (capt.), Torres (Onyewu, 57); Edu, Bradley, Jones (Boyd, 81); Donovan, Dempsey, Gomez (Altidore, 80).
- Carlos Bocanegra scored his 13th career goal that day, tying Marcelo Balboa for the most all-time by a U.S. defender.
- Leagues from eight different countries are represented; MLS contributes the most with seven players called into Miami.
- Seattle Sounders forward Eddie Johnson and Anderlecht midfielder Sacha Kljestan are no strangers to the U.S. Men’s National Team. Johnson, who has 14 goals in MLS this season, has eight career goals in World Cup Qualifying. Kljestan has 34 career caps and has earned two under Klinsmann against Costa Rica on September 2, 2011, and against Italy on Feb. 29 earlier this year.
- Five players are carrying yellow cards: Bradley, Edu, Fabian Johnson, Jones and Zusi. Their next caution will result in a one-match suspension.
There were many questions as to why Klinsmann decided not to include such players as Jozy Altidore, Chris Wondolowski and Terrence Boyd, or whether injuries to Jermaine Jones and Landon Donovan will impact their performance.
“I communicated to Jozy I was not happy about his latest performances with us, maybe even over the last 14 months,” Klinsmann explained. “I think Jozy can do much, much better. The reason he’s not coming in is mainly because of his performances in Jamaica and at home, also in training, and also certain things that went on through the May-June camp.”
On the question of leaving Boyd and Wondolowski off the roster, Klinsmann said, “That is more tactical. I spoke to both Wondo (Wondolowski) and to Terrence. We wanted to bring in Eddie (Johnson) and Alan (Gordon) because both are really strong in the air. We expect two difficult games where the opponent will probably play more defensively. They will probably get a lot of numbers in their box or in front of their box to play more defensive against us, so we need to have [the forwards] force things with crosses coming over the wings and be really strong in the air.”
When asked about Jones and Donovan, Klinsman replied, “Both are looking really good. Jermaine should be totally fine coming in today. We texted Landon over the last two days and he was actually supposed to have an MRI this morning but he skipped it because he improved a lot yesterday during the day. We spoke last night and he said if things were better this morning, he would skip the MRI and come straight to Miami. Both look very positive.”
As part of the continuing effort to connect with the fans, the U.S. Men’s National Team will host a public training session on Sunday, October 14, at 10:30 a.m. CT at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. Admission and parking for the event are free.
Fans who pre-register on ussoccer.com will be entered to have a chance to meet U.S. head coach Jürgen Klinsmann at the stadium prior to the training session.
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