Philly Sports Live

Klinsmann Calls In 20 For Russia Tilt

US Men’s National Team Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann today announced his selection for the upcoming friendly against Russia.  Twenty players drawn primarily from European leagues were named to a largely experimental roster marked by speed and skill, but also great inexperience.  With the Hex and Gold Cup coming next year, this roster clearly marks Klinsmann’s first steps towards building a true second team to supplement his usual 18.  Despite the match being a friendly, the lack of a full January camp means that this could be a key opportunity for the new faces, especially those drawn from the disastrous Olympic qualifying campaign, to make a statement about their role in 2013.


GOALKEEPERS (3): Tim Howard (Everton), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

Many US fans had been hoping to see Aston Villa keeper Brad Guzan get his first start under Klinsmann in this match, but it appears Tim Howard will once again be manning the pipes for the US.  Sean Johnson is a surprise inclusion given his poor league form as the Fire were bounced from the playoffs in short order, but it is doubtful he will see the field.  Nick Rimando continues to accrue frequent flyer miles on his US Soccer credit card, but should watch the match from the press box.

DEFENDERS (6): Carlos Bocanegra (Racing Santander), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Nuremberg), Maurice Edu (Stoke City), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim)

With Hannover 96 captain Steve Cherundolo, the expected 21st player on the US roster, injured, Timmy Chandler goes from a year of rejecting US call-ups to the projected starter at rightback.  Long considered to be the Mayor’s heir apparent, Chandler should give the Yanks a potent matching bookend with Fabian Johnson.  The two German-Americans both have explosive speed and excellent crossing ability that should allow the US defense to play a high line against the Russian attack.  Carlos Boncanegra and Geoff Cameron should continue their largely successful partnership in the center of the backline.  This will be the pair’s first test against an elite opponent, as Cameron did not play in the win against Italy, while Boca was absent for Cameron’s coming out party against Mexico.  The inclusion of “Clearance” Clarence Goodson is a bit of a puzzle, especially considering the recent play of Hertha Berlin’s John Anthony Brooks, which earned the uncapped dual-national an invitation to Germany’s U-20 team.

MIDFIELDERS (7): Michael Bradley (Roma), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Joshua Gatt (Molde), Joe Gyau (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim)

Klinsmann’s midfield is perhaps the most exciting aspect of this roster for fans of the USMNT.  Michael Bradley and Danny Williams are almost certain to start at the 8 and 6, respectively, as they did to great success against Guatemala last month, with Jermaine Jones able to back up either position.  As reported first anywhere by PSL, Josh Gatt and Mix Diskerud were both called in, Gatt for his first cap, Mix his second.  Gatt joins fellow debutant Joe Gyau in providing blazing speed on either wing, while Mix should play a similar role to Graham Zusi in recent qualifiers, either providing service from the outside or playing as a true 10 in the center of the pitch.  Sacha Kjlestan will provide Mix’s safety net.

FORWARDS (4): Juan Agudelo (Chivas USA), Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Herculez Gomez (Santos Laguna)

After being left off the roster for the final two World Cup qualifiers of 2012, Jozy Altidore will return for the final US match of the year.  Terrence Boyd, who had been lighting up the scoreboard for Rapid Vienna, joins him along with Santos Laguna man Hercules Gomez, the only player called in from an active western hemisphere team.  That Santos would release Gomez may add fuel to the rumors that he is soon to be moves to C.D Guadalajara.  The selection of Juan Aguedelo comes as a complete surprise, as the Chivas USA striker had a poor season on a poor side, and had seen no national team time since an injury in the first game of Olympic qualifying.  An interesting note, however is that Aguedelo’s first cap and first goal came in a November friendly two years ago in South Africa.  It was assisted by Mix Diskerud.

Stick with Philly Sports Live tomorrow for a pre-game look at what to expect from the upcoming USA / Russia clash.