This March camp with three, count em' three, separate team camps is a massive boon to journalists of our ilk. We get paid by the word; extra players mean extra pennies. Thanks Klinsy!
If you enjoyed that quick piece of fiction, then you are going to love this wistful collection of talent Jurgen Klinsmann has put together for the US Men's National team that is preparing for matches against Denmark on Wednesday and Switzerland on Tuesday, March 31st.
Full National Team:
DEFENDERS (8): Ventura Alvarado (Club America), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Greg Garza (Club Tijuana), Michael Orozco (Puebla), Tim Ream (Bolton Wanderers), Brek Shea (Orlando City SC), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Julian Green (Hamburg), Miguel Ibarra (Minnesota United FC), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt), Danny Williams (Reading), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Rubio Rubin (Utrecht)
First, it bears mentioning that Cropper, Brooks, Yedlin, and Green are eligible for the Olympic Tournament. With the exception of Brooks, none of these guys are seeing regular minutes with their club teams. Rubin is another young gun who is actually eligible for all of the 3 camps. Also, Gedion Zelalem is still absent due to rule from FIFA that would prevent him from playing until he's 23 (this is the same rule that kept Tesho Akindele from playing during the January camp). Pending appeal, the earliest we will see him in the full team, U-23's, or U-20's will be April.
The forward group is strong for this camp, and even with several fringe guys in the midfield, the core of Bradley, Bedoya, and Fabian Johnson brings a strong pedigree, but the defense is a pretty serious head scratcher. With the exception of recently-converted left back, Brek Shea, there isn't an MLS guy to be found on the roster. That's no Matt Beseler, no Omar Gonzalez, no Steve Birnbaum, and no Matt Hedges.
And speaking of no Matt Hedges, the biggest glaring snub might be that of Moises Hernandez. Here's a former youth national team player who is enjoying a great season so far, playing on the best defense through 3 games in the MLS season, and he's accepted a call-up to Guatemala's national team. Is left back now, after all of these years, really such a position of strength we are shipping out Homegrown players to Central America? I have to admit that I'm starting to feel like FC Dallas is the Rodney Dangerfield of MLS. I hate to see him do it, but I am sure I speak for many when I offer Mo congratulations.
Also, where in the world is Geoff Cameron? Cameron has been a consistent fixture for Stoke since he transferred in 2012 and has acquitted himself well where ever he's lined up for the Potters, and he's hardly old (29) by defender standards. If you consider that he was replaced by either fringe pool players (Ream and Orozco) or a young upstart (Alvarado), and you realize that Klinsmann is rolling the dice on the defense against the 12th and 28th ranked teams in the FIFA rankings. Cameron's on international break right now, and I really do not understand his omission.
I will say that I have heard a lot of good buzz about the two new guys from Liga MX (Yarbrough and Alvarado). It will be interesting to see if Yarbrough will see any minutes given that Guzan was not called in due to to the birth of his first child. Alvarado has become a fixture with the reigning MX champions, Club America, too, and I will confess I am interested to see what a central defense partnership with Brooks would look like. Once again, Klinsmann keeps us guessing with his seemingly mercurial selections.
U-23's (Olympic Team):
GOALKEEPERS (2): Charlie Horton (Cardiff City; Cleveland, Ohio), Tyler Miller (Zweibrücken; Woodbury, N.J.)
DEFENDERS (5): Christian Dean (Vancouver Whitecaps FC; East Palo Alto, Calif.), Juan Pablo Ocegueda (Alebrijes de Oaxaca; Riverside, Calif.), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids; Boulder, Colo.), William Packwood (Birmingham City; Concord, Mass.), Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Fatai Alashe (San Jose Earthquakes; Northville, Mich.), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), Benji Joya (Chicago Fire; San Jose, Calif.), Ariel Lassiter (LA Galaxy II; Temecula, Calif.), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew; Gahanna, Ohio)
FORWARDS (6): Alonso Hernandez (Monterrey; El Paso, Texas), Jerome Kiesewetter (VfB Stuttgart; Berlin, Germany), Alfred Koroma Shams (Southlake Carol, Texas), Jordan Morris (Stanford; Mercer Island, Wash.), Mario Rodriguez (Borussia Mönchengladbach; North Hollywood, Calif.), Khiry Shelton (New York City FC; Leander, Texas)
Olympic qualifying is still another 7 months away, and it is not an official tournament so clubs do not have to release players for camps or matches. One has to assume that's why some of the Olympics age guys got called into the Senior team. Klinsmann mentioned that some of the players might be shuffling between camps, but I am dubious of that claim due to club concerns.
Aside from that, it's interesting to see Koroma on this list. He recently signed with Austin after bouncing from Akron to SMU, and to Brazil before returning to the Lone Star state. Also, I should add Khiry Shelton to my list that would hypothetically make up FC Dallas if it consisted of all local players. They'll be taking on the Bosnian and Denmark U-23 teams over the next 8 days. You might be able to find a stream on Silk Road.
GOALKEEPERS (2): Jeff Caldwell (Virginia; Todd, N.C.), Thomas Olsen (University of San Diego; Las Vegas, Nev.)
DEFENDERS (6): Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur; Westcliff on Sea, England), Conor Donovan (Orlando City SC; Fuquay-Varina, N.C.), Shaquell Moore (Unattached; Powder Springs, Ga.), Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting Kansas City; Lee’s Summit, Mo.), Desevio Payne (Groningen; Greenwood, S.C.), John Requejo (Club Tijuana; Carpinteria, Calif.).
MIDFIELDERS (6): Russell Canouse (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim; Lancaster, Pa.), Marco Delgado (Toronto FC; Glendora, Calif.), Lynden Gooch (Sunderland; Santa Cruz, Calif.), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham; Dallas, Texas), Ethan Sonis (SC Freiburg; Coral Springs, Fla.), Joel Sonora (Boca Juniors; Buenos Aires, Argentina).
FORWARDS (6): Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana; Chula Vista, Calif.), Bradford Jamieson IV (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.), Andrija Novakovich (Reading; Muskego, Wis.), Maki Tall (Red Star; Washington, D.C.), Tommy Thompson (San Jose Earthquakes; Loomis, Calif.), Dembakwi Yomba (Atlético Madrid; Lithonia, Ga.).
This is a mix some new faces, some of the core that nervously qualified for the World Cup in Jamaica, and a few guys like Yomba and Sonora, who missed out through injury or club issues. Payne is making his debut with the group after recently earning first team minutes with Eredivisie side Groningen.Emerson Hyndman appears to be back after a broken collarbone. Kellyn Acosta misses out, but I am guessing FC Dallas reserved him this week because Atiba Harris, Je-Vaughn Watson, and Moises Hernandez all got called into their respective camps.
The U-20 World Cup kicks off at the end of May, so this will probably be the last chance for players on the fringe to make a case. Spots in the defense and midfield will be hard to come by, but the forward pool is anything but settled. Taking into account all of the missing players that might already have a place in the team, the competition for this group should be intense this week. They take on the England U-21s, and oddly enough, Tottenham Hotspurs U-21's, the current home of Carter-Vickers and DeAndre Yedlin.
On a final note, If anyone's looking for a writer on the cheap to cover the U-20 World Cup in New Zealand, I will work for airfare. Also, thanks to years of deconstructing Flight of the Conchords, I am fluent in Kiwi. You'd be getting caviar on a sardine budget with this intrepid reporter. Enjoy the experimentation with our back line this week and share your outrage below.