The U.S. men's national team returns to action in ten days with a pair of international friendlies, meaning Jurgen Klinsmann will soon be calling his first full camp since taking over as national team manager.
Klinsmann stated after the recent 1-1 draw with Mexico that he would call in the best squad possible, all hands on deck, meaning no healthy top players left behind and no MLS standouts left with their clubs. In other words, the team that converges on Carson, California for a one-week training camp before friendlies against Costa Rica and Belgium will be as good a group as the United States can put together.
A look at the pool reveals that Klinsmann will have some tough decisions to make on who to call in, even if he goes with a larger than normal group. While forward remains an area where there are few established options, the defensive call-ups could bring some new names to the mix. The midfield is where Klinsmann is going to have to do some serious trimming as he boasts a plethora of options, both with veterans and a host of young prospects.
Here is a projected 26-man roster that we think could resemble the group Klinsmann calls in for next week's camp:
Projected USMNT Camp Roster for September Friendlies
GK- Tim Howard, David Yelldell, Brad Guzan
D- Carlos Bocanegra, Clarence Goodson, Steve Cherundolo, Timmy Chandler, Eric Lichaj, Michael Orozco, Edgar Castillo, Zak Whitbread, George John
M- Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Maurice Edu, Jermaine Jones, Michael Bradley, Jose Torres, Alejandro Bedoya, Brek Shea, Kyle Beckerman, DaMarcus Beasley, Robbie Rogers
F- Jozy Altidore, Herculez Gomez, Juan Agudelo
This was one of the tougher rosters to put together that I can remember. The list of players who could have made this squad but didn't is a long one. Here are just some of the missing names to consider:
Marcus Hahnemann, Sean Johnson, Oguchi Onyewu, Omar Gonzalez, Tim Ream, Heath Pearce, Drew Moor, Sean Franklin, Fabian Johnson, Josh Gatt, Sacha Kljestan, Benny Feilhaber, Brad Davis, Chris Pontius, Joe Corona, Freddy Adu, Mikkel Diskerud, Edson Buddle, Teal Bunbury.
Klinsmann can go in any number of directions. He could choose to leave Jones and Bradley in Germany as they sort out their club situations. He could choose to wait on calling George John as his completes his Blackburn move. He could choose to call in Diskerud, Fabian Johnson and Corona to start the process of getting them cap tied (which the September friendlies can't do). Then there is a promising young talent like Josh Gatt, who is enjoying a stellar run in Europe, or MLS rookie of the year frontrunner C.J. Sapong, who could bring some youthful energy and strength to the forward pool, but who may still be a January camp option.
One of the big issues with trying to read which direction Klinsmann might go is that he's so positive when talking about all his players, even ones who looked to have struggled. Edgar Castillo struggled badly vs. Mexico but Klinsmann praised him. Edson Buddle wasn't particularly effective but Klinsmann raved about his effort.
We'll find out for sure just who Klinsmann really liked against Mexico, and who else he truly has his eye on when he announces his September friendlies squad.
What do you think of the squad? Who is missing that you would like to see added to the list? Who is on the squad that you are surprised to see included?
Share your thoughts below.