It Seems To Me. . .
Klinsmann assembles young, inexperienced roster for upcoming friendlies.
By Robert Wagman
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Monday, March 23, 2015) -- United States men's coach Jürgen Klinsmann has selected a somewhat young and inexperienced squad for a pair of upcoming friendly matches -- Wednesday at Denmark in Aarhus and at Switzerland in Zurich on March 25.
The Denmark game will be broadcast at 3 p.m. (ET) by ESPN2 and the Switzerland contest will be aired by Fox Sports 1 at 12 noon.
Most of the players he selected play either in Europe or Mexico, though several compete in Major League Soccer.
At first glance, the absence of two England-based players seems glaring. First-choice goalkeeper Brad Guzan of Aston Villa, and Stoke defender Geoff Cameron are absent. For Guzan there is a simple excuse -- his wife is expecting any day now.
Keeper Nick Rimando of MLS's Real Salt Lake has been called in to replace Guzan. Cameron's situation, though, is a bit more complicated.
"Geoff is obviously in a good swing with Stoke City and the Premier League," Klinsmann said on the U.S. Soccer Federation web site. "But I had long conversations with him and explained that just now I would love to see other players coming in and proving to us how good they are."
That is clearly what Klinsmann is doing. Only one of the eight defenders summoned has more than 20 international appearances. Defender John Brooks, 22, has played well this season for relegation-threatened Hertha Berlin in the German Bundesliga. Likewise, Defender DeAndre Yedlin, 21, will also likely start despite his lack of first-team experience with Tottenham Hotspur after moving to the England in January.
Also a possible starter on the back-line Ventura Alvarado, 22, of Mexico's Club America. He has looked strong in 10 matches in the first-division Liga MX Clausura.
A pair of Europe-based 19-year-olds, midfielder Julian Green and striker Rubio Rubin, will also likely be starters for at least one of the two upcoming matches. Green, a 2014 World Cup goal scorer and Bayern Munich (Germany) prospect, has seen scarce playing time on loan to Hamburg in Germany.
Klinsmann is bringing in some of his veteran starters from MLS. In addition to Rimando, the roster includes a pair of veteran leaders: forward Clint Dempsey and midfielder Michael Bradley, as well as midfielder-defender Brek Shea, striker Jozy Altidore and as well as 23-year-old forward Gyasi Zardes, Also added was midfielder Miguel Ibarra, who plays for Minnesota United of the second-tier North American Soccer League..
This is an odd time for the Americans on the international scene. In addition to getting the senior team ready for this summer's CONCACAF Gold Cup, the under-23 men are preparing for Olympic qualifying, the under-20 men are going to the FIFA Youth World Cup in New Zealand and the under-17s are pointing to a world championship in Chile.
There is a great deal of cross pollination going on. It is expected that many of the young players in the U.S. camp will be on the U-23 squad that will hopefully go to the Summer Olympics next year in Brazil. Likewise, some of the stars from the U-20s could make that team.
"There are certain younger players that can gain the most right now if they're with me," Klinsmann said. "I'm talking about a Julian Green, a John Brooks, a DeAndre Yedlin, a Rubio Rubin, but also knowing that if they're not breaking in right away with me, here's the next group where he could show what he has.
"I'll bring some youngsters with me first and then we move them on to the Olympic team and Tab Ramos') U-20s, but it's important for our players to see that we have a plan for them, that we're looking at their club situation and that we understand the up-and-downs and their struggles, and they know we are here to help them."
This week, the under-23s will train in Bosnia and Herzegovina, playing Bosnia Friday and Denmark on March 31.
The under-23s will be in England where they will play the Tottenham Hotspur U-21s Friday and England's U-21s on March 29.
Goalkeepers (3): Cody Cropper (Southampton, England), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake, MLS), William Yarbrough (Leon, Mexico).
Defenders (8): Ventura Alvarado (Club America, Mexico), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin, Germany), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt, Germany), Greg Garza (Club Tijuana, Mexico), Michael Orozco (Puebla, Mexico), Tim Ream (Bolton Wanderers, England), Brek Shea (Orlando City, MLS), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur, England).
Midfielders (8): Alejandro Bedoya (FC Nantes, France), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC, MLS), Julian Green (Hamburger SV, Germany), Miguel Ibarra (Minnesota United, NASL), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach, Germany), Alfredo Morales (FC Ingolstadt, Germany), Danny Williams (Reading, England), Gyasi Zardes (Los Angeles Galaxy, MLS).
Forwards (4): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC, MLS), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders, MLS), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar, Netherland), Rubio Rubin (FC Utrecht, Netherlands).
Goalkeepers (2): Charlie Horton (Cardiff City, England, Tyler Miller (SVN Zweibrücken).
Defenders (5): Christian Dean (Vancouver Whitecaps, MLS), Juan Pablo Ocegueda (Alebrijes de Oaxaca, Mexico), Shane O'Neill (Colorado Rapids, MLS), William Packwood (Birmingham City; England), Oscar Sorto (Los Angeles Galaxy, MLS).
Midfielders (5): Fatai Alashe (San Jose Earthquakes, MLS), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake, MLS), Benji Joya (unattached), Ariel Lassiter (Los Angeles Galaxy II, USL Pro), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew, MLS).
Forwards (6): Alonso Hernandez (CF Monterrey, Mexico), Jerome Kiesewetter (VfB Stuttgart, Germany), Alfred Koroma Shams (Austin Aztex, USL Pro), Jordan Morris (Stanford University), Mario Rodriguez (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Khiry Shelton (New York City FC, MLS).
Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.
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