By IVES GALARCEP
With just one more game to go in the MLS season, and January fast approaching, it is time for U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann to decide what he wants to do with the January national team camp, and whether he wants to hold one. And if he does decide to hold the camp, Klinsmann has to settle on the players he wants to bring in.
If he decides to hold the traditional January camp, and call in a majority of players who are coming off strong MLS seasons, Klinsmann will have several players to choose from at a variety of positions.
Here is a look at our projected squad:
PROJECTED JANUARY USMNT CAMP ROSTER
GOALKEEPERS– Sean Johnson, Bill Hamid, Dan Kennedy, Tally Hall
DEFENDERS– Steven Beitashour, Chance Myers, Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler, A.J. Soares, Matt Hedges, Austin Berry, Justin Morrow, Kevin Alston.
MIDFIELDERS– Graham Zusi, Mix Diskerud, Nick DeLeon, Dax McCarty, Perry Kitchen, Ricardo Clark, Josh Gatt, Eddie Gaven.
FORWARDS– Eddie Johnson, Juan Agudelo, Chris Pontius, Will Bruin, C.J. Sapong
I didn’t have Eddie Johnson on the original list because of the fact he is coming off his busiest year in a long time, and because of the likelihood he is a part of the national team set-up for the February qualifier against Honduras. But if he doesn’t need the rest, or if Klinsmann wants to take an extended look at him, then Johnson would clearly be a part of a January camp.
Young Philadelphia Union standouts Amobi Okugo and Jack McInerney are coming off impressive finishes to their seasons, and were considered, but with other centerbacks and forwards ahead of them they just missed the cut.
You will notice that all the players included are relatively young. Ricardo Clark and Dan Kennedy are the oldest of the bunch, and this camp is a clearly a look toward the future.
Along those lines, veterans like Kyle Beckerman and Chris Wondolowski get a pass. Not because Klinsmann doesn’t rate them, but because of the need to look at young faces. Now Klinsmann could decide he needs a veteran presence in the camp, much like Jermaine Jones offered a year ago.
We all know about the U.S. team’s need for centerbacks, so it’s no surprise there are five on this list. George John is set for a move away from MLS, and should be spending January looking for and joining a new club so it seems unlikely he would be a part of this camp.
Another area of need for the national team is natural wingers. That is why Lee Nguyen gets the nod here (well, he originally got the nod, but readers helped remind me that he is sidelined after major shoulder surgery so he’s out). The U.S. has been playing mostly a 4-3-3, but the lack of wings in the pool makes it tougher for Klinsmann to consider also having a 4-4-2 or 4-1-3-2 in the arsenal of options. This camp can allow him to look at some potential wing options.
We have mostly MLS players listed, but Klinsmann can certainly look at players from Scandinavian leagues, which are out of season like Sweden and Norway (like Mix Diskerud and Josh Gatt). Alejandro Bedoya might seem like a clear choice in that case, but he is poised for a winter transfer move so that’s why he’s not on this list.
Some players who we could also see getting a nod in a national team camp geared toward young players include: Andy Gruenebaum, Steve Clark, Stephen McCarthy, Amobi Okugo, Jalil Anibaba, Connor Lade, Luis Silva, Sal Zizzo, Jack McInerney.
What do you think of the list? Who is missing that you think should be?
Share your thoughts below.