Photo by ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
Every U.S. Men’s National Team roster unveiling comes with extensive discussion. Who was brought in, left off and why are always the main topics dissected ad nauseam.
Jurgen Klinsmann’s released roster for Wednesday’s World Cup qualifier against Honduras was no different.
A much-anticipated 24-player squad was released by Klinsmann on Monday morning and shortly after the U.S. head coach addressed where several of the players stand in the pecking order. Klinsmann revealed why players like midfielder Jose Torres and Benny Feilhaber were included or omitted, and he also explained what he wants to see from some of them going forward.
For Torres, who is making his return to the United States for the first time since September, his inclusion was partially due to him moving from Pachuca to Tigres UANL this past winter.
“It helps him get to a higher level and also move out of his comfort zone and move out of the place where he kind of grew up and played for eight years there or something like that,” said Klinsmann. “Now, in a new environment, prove yourself, become a starter and he started the season really well. He’s a player who has so much more to reach and we help him in that process.”
Klinsmann also spoke on Sacha Kljestan being summoned for the road match against Los Catrachos. He said Kljestan’s steady performances with RSC Anderlecht over the past two years have led to him finding a spot in a crowded and competitive U.S midfield.
“He’s becoming a consistent player in his club,” said Klinsmann. “We watch his club games. We have people there that scout him and that go to Anderlecht and see his games and he’s done very well.
“He won the championship and (played in) European competition and he also becomes a more consistent element overseas and we want him to bring that kind of quality back into the national team environment. He’s been in and out because of the depth we have in midfield … but he’s always been in our plans. We are pleased with his development over the last couple of years, absolutely.”
Another player whose development in recent months has pleased Klinsmann is Joe Corona, who was left off the roster for the Honduras game. Klinsmann said the young Tijuana midfielder is absent simply due to the number of other options he had available for this upcoming qualifier.
“If you look at the roster, there are so many guys fighting for those roles and it’s difficult,” said Klinsmann. “We have a very, very close eye on him because I think he’s a very special talent. But if you look at all these role players on the side of midfield or the No. 10 role that we have here, it’s just a question of who do you select now for one specific game. Joe will be back with us, definitely.
While Klinsmann touched on several players, he spoke most about Feilhaber. Klinsmann said the veteran midfielder showed well during the recent January camp and friendly against Canada, but wants Feilhaber to demonstrate more consistency with Sporting Kansas City and the U.S.
“We want him to become more a pusher in terms of being involved in the game on a consistent basis, every couple minutes, every two, three minutes,” said Klinsmann. “Here and there it seems like he’s fading out and coming back in and it’s a bit inconsistent. He’s working on that and that has to do obviously with the technical approach but also the physicality of it, the rhythm, the pace of a game.
“We are thrilled that he’s moved to Kansas now and he will get pushed by Peter Vermes doing that. I have spoken to Peter about that already and we think he absolutely has the qualities, the technical capabilities to be part of the inner circle of the national team. Not being called in now for these games does not mean he’s out, not at all. … With World Cup qualifiers, friendlies and a Gold Cup coming up, there will be opportunities as well.”