Breaking Down the USMNT Roster for the Bosnia Friendly
The United States men’s national team takes on Bosnia in an international friendly on Wednesday. On Monday, U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann released the 23-man roster for the game.
As expected, the roster is comprised mostly of European-based players, as the short international window makes travel to Eastern Europe tough for those U.S. internationals based in the Western Hemisphere.
Here is a breakdown of the roster.
The New Faces
There are four new faces on the team, but most of the focus will be on dual internationals Aron Johannsson and John Anthony Brooks.
Johannsson is an Icelandic-American striker who plays for AZ Alkmaar, Jozy Altidore’s former club, and could challenge for a spot on the World Cup roster. He had 17 goals last season between AZ and his former club Aarhus in the Danish Superliga. This year, he has two starts in the Eredivisie and two goals.
Brooks is a 6’4” center-back with Hertha Berlin who was a regular starter last year for the club as they won promotion from the German second division to the Bundesliga. He scored last weekend in his Bundesliga debut and could help provide much-needed depth to the U.S. at center-back.
Cody Cropper was a star for the U.S. this summer in the U-20 World Cup—one of the few U.S. players that showed well in the tournament. He plays with Southampton in England and has all the tools to become a top-flight keeper in the future.
Bobby Wood is a 20-year-old attacker for 1860 Munich in the Bundesliga 2 who had 11 goals last season. He was also on the provisional roster of the Gold Cup this summer, but left off the final roster to allow him to get in a full preseason with his club.
Something to Prove
Many of the players from the U.S.’ championship run in the Gold Cup are back. While winning the Gold Cup was exciting, it was mainly against CONCACAF minnows and “B” teams. This USMNT camp and the game against Bosnia will give Michael Parkhurst, Edgar Castillo, Alejandro Bedoya, Joe Corona and Mix Diskerud a chance to show their stuff against a higher level of competition.
Parkhurst and Castillo need to show better if they hope to stay in Klinsmann’s World Cup plans. Bedoya, Corona and Diskerud all played well in the Gold Cup, but need to show well again against better competition to fight for spots in a crowded midfield pool.
Brad Evans played very well for the U.S. in June, but still has doubters among the U.S. faithful. This game is an important opportunity for him. If he plays well, he will likely cement himself at the top of the muddled right-back depth chart.
Sacha Kljestan and Terrence Boyd also need to have a good camp. Both had very successful seasons with their respective clubs last year and both are off to good starts again this season. However, both are in tight competitions for spots on the roster and have been underwhelming in their appearances with the U.S.
As usual and as expected, Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, Geoff Cameron, Fabian Johnson, Jermaine Jones and Eddie Johnson are all on the roster.
Cameron may finally get his opportunity to play center-back for the U.S. with Matt Besler, Clarence Goodson and Omar Gonzalez left at home.
Eddie Johnson will have an opportunity to further make his case for a spot among the starting XI of the “A” team.
The following players are injured and were not called up: Steve Cherundolo, Brek Shea, Maurice Edu and Herculez Gomez.
Michael Orozco Fiscal was called up, but withdrew almost immediately with a hamstring injury.
Staying in the Western Hemisphere
Many U.S. and Mexico-based players were not called in, presumably due to the short international window and the difficulty of traveling to Eastern Europe. Among these are Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, DaMarcus Beasley, Jose Torres, Nick Rimando, Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler, Graham Zusi, Kyle Beckerman and Clarence Goodson.
Slights and Surprises
The biggest surprise inclusion on the roster was Tim Ream, who has not played for the USMNT since October 2011. Ream has been used at left-back and as a defensive midfielder with Bolton lately, but has always played with the U.S. as a center-back.
The biggest slight from the roster was Timmy Chandler, who has not appeared for the U.S. since his forgettable cap-tying performance against Honduras in February. Not being included on the roster is a big sign from Klinsmann that Chandler will have to prove his commitment and value to the squad moving forward.
Eric Lichaj and DeAndre Yedlin were also not included in the squad. Many expected one or both to make the team due to the lack of clear-cut depth at right-back. Yedlin has had an impressive rookie campaign in MLS and was a star for the U.S. at the U-20 World Cup. Lichaj, since moving to the English Championship with Nottingham Forest, has been a consistent starter and playing well.
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