With his gaze set firmly, if not exclusively on Olympic Qualification, U.S. MNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann has invited 23 players to the team’s annual January camp in Carson, California.
11 of the 23 players called in by the U.S. coach and Technical Director are eligible to be selected for the two game home and away playoff versus Colombia in March that will determine if this becomes the second straight Olympics that the U.S. men will sit out since Klinsmann took the reins.
Klinsmann has referred to the players who missed out on the London 2012 Games as “a lost generation,” and he is clearly trying to avoid losing a second such group.
But the January camp has often been used to give players previously ignored at the national team level a look in and Klinsmann has honored that tradition.
Leading that group is MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, New York Red Bulls Luis Robles. Robles has been outstanding since assuming the number keeper position for the Red Bulls and this call has been a long time coming.
Robles will be only too familiar with two of his campmates Columbus Crew vets Ethan Finlay and Tony Tchani, who did their part as the Crew eliminated the Red Bulls from the 2015 playoffs one game shy of the MLS Cup.
Also included on this roster are U.S. MNT regulars like Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Gyasi Zardes and the lone veteran among the defenders, Matt Besler.
Some youngish but more established national teamers have been sprinkled in as well, namely Gyasi Zardes, Mix Diskerud and newly minted professional Jordan Morris.
Then there are the players that have been overlooked. It is a bit different this time out with the emphasis on the U23’s, making it a bit harder to quibble.
Still Klinsmann’s continued omission of Benny Feilhaber beggars belief, Matt Hedges had a very good year at the heart of the FC Dallas defense, and many would have like to see Sebastian Lletget get a look, I know I would have.
20-year-old FC Dallas Jesse Gonzalez was widely reported to have accepted an invitation to camp, but the Mexican-American goalkeeper apparently got cold feet, leaving just Robles and Bill Hamid to man the nets throughout the camp which runs from January 11 through February 6 and features games against Iceland on January 31 and Canada on February 5.
Both games will be played at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
GOALKEEPERS (2): Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls)
DEFENDERS (7): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Matt Miazga (New York Red Bulls), Eric Miller (Montreal Impact), Tim Parker (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Marc Pelosi (San Jose Earthquakes), Matt Polster (Chicago Fire)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Fatai Alashe (San Jose Earthquakes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), Jermaine Jones (Unattached), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution), Tony Tchani (Columbus Crew SC), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC)
FORWARDS (6): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Ethan Finlay (Columbus Crew SC), Jerome Kiesewetter (VfB Stuttgart), Jordan Morris (Unattached), Khiry Shelton (New York City FC), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)