5 Unheralded US Players You Should Know Before Friendly vs. Canada
The U.S. Men's National Team are ready to kick-off 2013 with a friendly match against Canada on January 29. Jurgen Klinsmann has made his call-ups for the January training camp before the new year of matches gets underway.
Not all of the men at the training camp will see action against Canada. Many of the veterans of the USMNT are not there, but will no doubt be called in to action against our neighbors to the north.
However, there are some players who may earn their way on to the roster. The USMNT has talent to choose from and the decision will not be easy.
Here are five players you should get to know who are currently in the training camp prior to the friendly.
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Alfredo Morales was called up for friendlies in 2011, but never saw action. The 22-year-old could very well see time in 2013.
Morales is another young German defender Klinsmann has added to the mix. He plays for Hertha Berlin.
With an aging back line it is important to have young players ready to take over when the time comes. Morales has the skills to end up being an important piece for the defense, and with others such as Timmy Chandler entering the fray he could fit right in.
The January training camp will tell Klinsmann a lot about Morales. If he is ready to see some time with the senior squad this is his chance to prove it prior to the World Cup Qualifying.
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The 30-year-old is not a neophyte, but he has never quite gotten the recognition he's deserved.
Kyle Beckerman has been a suitable midfielder for the USMNT during his 23 caps. He has even found the back of the net during his time on the pitch.
Beckerman needs to have a good camp. The talent coming in to the USMNT is growing, and everyone is fighting for a spot. This is a great chance to show Klinsmann he is the right choice to bring along forward in 2013.
The Real Salt Lake midfielder has been a part of the USMNT engine throughout some crucial matches, but he is not assured of a spot on the roster moving forward. He needs to seize the opportunity and make his case.
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Juan Agudelo is only 20 years of age, but he already has 16 caps for the USMNT.
In his limited time on the pitch, Agudelo has put the ball in the back of the net twice. If he can become a more dangerous scoring threat then he could find his way on the roster for more matches in 2013.
Agudelo was the first player of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy to make an appearance for the national team. There is an investment in him.
The youngster may not find a lot of time on the pitch when the regulars return for action, but the camp will be a great way to show Klinsmann he has a talented scorer waiting to come off the bench.
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22-year-old Mix Diskerud made an impact in the last U.S. match of 2012. He scored his first goal with the team in stoppage time against Russia. A goal that made sure the U.S. left with a draw against the ninth-ranked FIFA nation.
The Norwegian-born midfielder made use of his time on the pitch.
Coming up big in a pressure situation against a top-ranked team will go a long way to making sure he moves forward with the team.
Diskerud is more of an attacking midfielder, and Klinsmann will be sure to utilize those skills with his offensive game plan. He knows the U.S. needs to threaten more on the offensive side of the ball, and Diskerud could be seen more under the crest in 2013.
Joshua Gatt has a significant amount of hype around him from USMNT diehard fans, but the casual observer has not had a chance to see what the kid can do.
The 21-year-old forward will be one to watch out for in 2013.
He got his first cap against Russia in late 2012 and performed well enough for the first time. He put a shot on goal early in the second half but could not find the back of the net.
Gatt's presence will put a lot of pressure on the veterans to perform, and that is needed. Everyone needs to feel pressure of potentially losing their job. Gatt showing up on rosters moving forward will make everyone work hard and better.
If he has a good camp we could see him get another start against Canada. If he can be a scoring threat then we will likely see a lot more of him as the U.S. qualifies for the World Cup.