Jurgen Klinsmann has called in 23 players for the United States Men’s National Team friendlies against Cuba in Havana on Friday October 7th and against New Zealand in Washington, D.C. four dates later.
Noteworthy inclusions include Sunderland midfielder and Santa Cruz, California native Lynden Gooch, Bayern Munich forward Julian Green, teen sensation Christian Pulisic, and Chula Vista, California native Paul Arriola. Recently christened Hearts of Midlothian captain Perry Kitchen also makes the cut along with goalkeepers David Bingham, Ethan Horvath and William Yarbrough.
Several veteran players were excluded from these friendlies including Jermaine Jones, Tim Howard, Brad Guzan and Matt Besler. Those exclusions, and the overall youthful leaning to this squad may come as a surprise to many with 2018 World Cup qualifiers looming large in November, but head coach Jurgen Klinsmann intends these games as an opportunity for some of these fringe players to force their way into that 23-man roster for games in the Hex against Mexico and Costa Rica.
“These two games are very important for us because it’s the last time we can see certain players before making the decision on the 23 going in to represent us for the Mexico and Costa Rica clashes,” said Klinsmann. “There’s a lot at stake for the players to make their case, to show where they are right now. We have the opportunity to bring some players back that haven’t been with us for a little bit, and we want to see if they can put a stamp on this camp and have a chance for being on the roster next month. The bigger picture behind this is definitely Mexico and Costa Rica, and these two games will show us a lot about individual players.”
San Jose Earthquakes’ 26 year old David Bingham and Club León’s William Yarbrough will contest for the starting goalkeeper’s spot with the young Ethan Horvath likely looking to soak up as much experience from a senior national team camp as he can. At the sharp end of the team, forwards Bobby Wood and Jozy Altidore will look to continue their fine goal scoring form for both club and country in recent weeks, feeding off service from midfield creators like Sacha Kljestan and captain Michael Bradley.
The match against Cuba kicks off at 1p.m. PT at Estadio Pedro Marrero in Havana and will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and UniMas.
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION:
GOALKEEPERS (3): David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Ethan Horvath (Molde FK), William Yarbrough (Club Leon)
DEFENDERS (7): Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin),Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Moenchengladbach), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Lynden Gooch (Sunderland), Perry Kitchen (Hearts), Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Danny Williams (Reading)
FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (Hamburg SV)