Breaking Down the MLS Contingent in USMNT Squad for Mexico Friendly

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Breaking Down the MLS Contingent in USMNT Squad for Mexico Friendly
Eduardo Verdugo/Associated Press

On Wednesday, United States men's national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann named a 22-man roster for next week's friendly against Mexico with 19 of those players coming from Major League Soccer.

Here's a breakdown of the players he selected and those he didn't.

 

The Givens

Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

As one would fully expect, Klinsmann named the bulk of North American regulars to the squad, many of whom are expected to compete for starting spots on the team the Americans will take to Brazil this summer. This group includes Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez and Graham Zusi (DaMarcus Beasley also made the team but plays club in Mexico, not in MLS).

Also included on the roster for the Mexico friendly are a number of MLS players who are likely to make the World Cup roster, albeit as role players, including Nick Rimando, Kyle Beckerman, Clarence Goodson and Eddie Johnson.

 

The Fringe Players

Kyle Rivas/Getty Images

With limited World Cup roster spots still up for grabs, Klinsmann did call in a number of MLS players expected to be in position battles. At right-back, he called in Brad Evans, Michael Parkhurst and DeAndre Yedlin (Liga MX defender Michael Orozco was also called in and can play any position along the backline).

Evans, Parkhurst and Yedlin all saw minutes in February's friendly against South Korea and Evans, in particular, is widely considered to be in a battle to start at right-back. But his struggles in a number of recent appearances for the USMNT and the fact that Klinsmann called in three other players capable of playing his position says a lot.

Brad Davis was also called in again and this will be his last chance before the World Cup camp convenes to prove to Klinsmann that he belongs on the roster headed to Brazil.

Davis did well against Panama in the final game of World Cup qualifying, providing two nice assists, but he is fighting for a spot in a relatively deep midfield for a place on the left—likely against Brek Shea and newcomer Julian Green (Green is also part of the squad for the game against Mexico).

Miguel Tovar/Getty Images

Maurice Edu received a call-up but hasn't seen the field for the Nats since last March against Mexico in a performance that was widely criticized. He would also likely have to knock Kyle Beckerman off the roster in order to go to Brazil himself.

Finally, at forward, Chris Wondolowski will get another chance to impress after scoring twice against South Korea in February. Wondo will have to battle Jozy Altidore, Aron Johannsson, Johnson and potentially even a few others for a World Cup roster spot and will need another very strong performance to stay in the mix.

 

The Others

With Tim Howard and Brad Guzan in Europe and unavailable for selection, Klinsmann called up normal fourth and fifth choices at goalkeeper, Bill Hamid and Sean Johnson. However, both are long shots to make the World Cup roster.

Luis Gil also received a call-up this time around after playing a cameo role against South Korea in February. Gil is unlikely to make the 2014 roster, but he has U.S. fans excited for what he might be able to do heading into the 2018 cycle.

 

Who Missed Out?

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

There weren't too many surprises in terms of players left out this time around, but some fans were hoping that Benny Feilhaber or Mike Magee would have been included. Feilhaber has been a fringe player with the USMNT since the Bob Bradley era and even though he played 30 minutes off the bench against South Korea in February, he apparently didn't do enough in Klinsmann's eyes to deserve another call-up.

Magee, unfortunately, got food poisoning before the match in February and was unable to play. Now, he has apparently missed his window.

Although they're not MLS players, the U.S.'s Tijuana contingent was not included due to Xolos advancement in the CONCACAF Champions League. That means Greg Garza, Herculez Gomez, Edgar Castillo and Joe Corona were all unavailable for selection. All four are considered fringe players for World Cup roster spots and missing this camp certainly won't help their chances.

 

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