U.S. men’s national coach Jurgen Klinsmann has named his 23-player squad for the upcoming friendlies against Chile and Panama.
The squad contains nine players from last years World Cup in Brazil, where the U.S. was only narrowly defeated 2-1 by Belgium after extra-time in the round of 16.
The U.S. have chosen a young squad for the upcoming friendlies with big names players such as Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan, Stoke City defender Geoff Cameron and Nantes midfielder Alejandro Bedoya all being omitted, as Klinsmann aims to give his young players a chance to shine.
“These guys have put in a lot of work these past two weeks of training for what is essentially their preseason, and now it’s time to focus on getting a result against a difficult opponent in Chile,” said Klinsmann.
Despite the number of new faces in the squad Klinsmann is confident they can do well and believes it will aid their development. “We know it’s going to be a challenging situation, but these are the types of opportunities we need to keep growing.”
The squad first got together on January 12 at the National Training Center in Carson, California, and was initially composed of 28 players. Toronto striker Jozy Altidore and FC Dallas defender Matt Hedges were added to the group, though Seattle Sounders keeper Brad Evans had to depart due to tendinitis.
U-23 players Tesho Akindele (FC Dallas), Alex Bono (Toronto FC), Christian Dean (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Dennis Flores (Club Leon) Julio Morales (Tepic) and Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy) were all released back to their clubs, as the U.S. men’s national team reduced their squad to down 23, and while Klinsmann acknowledges they will be disappointed not to make the final squad, he feels the experience gained will in no doubt benefit them.
“This was a really important experience for these U-23 players,” Klinsmann said. “They got a great introduction into the senior National Team program, and had the opportunity to work with Andi Herzog and our staff as we build toward Olympic qualifying in the fall. They put in a tremendous amount of work and we learned a lot about them. We appreciate the effort and will continue to monitor them in their club situations.”
Brek Shea and Mix Diskerud could make a bit of history by becoming the first Orlando City and New York City players respectively to represent the US since the two sides became part of MLS.
The U.S. kick-off their first match of 2015 by travelling to Rancagua on Wednesday, January 28, to take on Chile with kickoff at Estadio El Teniente is set for 6 p.m. ET.
They then have over a weeks rest before hosting Panama in Carson on Sunday, February 8, with kickoff at StubHub Center is set for 1 p.m. PT.
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (3): Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Jon Kempin (Sporting Kansas City), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (7): Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Jermaine Jones (New England Revolution), Perry Kitchen (D.C. United), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Miguel Ibarra (Minnesota United FC), Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids), Brek Shea (Orlando City), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC)
FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (1860 Munich), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)