BRIAN SCIARETTA - Monday, February 4, 2013
Jurgen Klinsmann today announced the roster for the upcoming game against Honduras and here are my thoughts.
No major surprises
The roster is pretty much as expected on the most important players.
The inclusion of Jose Torres and Maurice Edu who are fresh off joining new clubs could be considered mildly surprising but both have played important minutes in World Cup qualifying in the past and their experience is important. Torres and Edu will need to have strong seasons, however, to warrant future callups.
This US national team roster also does not contain many snubs either. Yes, some players can have a minor quibble but nothing major.
Terrence Boyd has showed that he is a promising young player but he is in the middle of a long winter break in the Austrian league. Josh Gatt and Alejandro Bedoya were both part of the January camp but Klinsmann is probably looking for another strong half season out of both to earn another callup.
Chandler's inclusion is significant
At long last, Chandler is on the roster for an important game that could cap-tie him to the United States. The 22 year old is now committed to the U.S team and this is important because he could be the team's starting right back for a decade. His arrival comes at the right time too with Steve Cherundolo injured with knee pain.
For Klinsmann, the ability to replace one Bundesliga right back with another is important.
Seven players from January get the call
In total, seven players from January camp are on this current roster. Matt Besler, Brad Davis, Brad Evans, Omar Gonzalez, Eddie Johnson, Sean Johnson, Graham Zusi all received a callup from Klinsmann.
This is somewhat interesting given that the US team played very poorly but the inclusion of these players could signify that perhaps the game against Canada was an outlier and not indicative of the team's quality.
Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez are the players to watch in 2013
In 2012, Geoff Cameron and Graham Zusi were the surprise breakout players to come out of January camp. Both players later emerged and had significant minutes in World Cup qualifying games.
This year Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez are the most important players to watch because the U.S team' situation in central defense is dire. At the present moment, Carlos Bocanegra, Oguchi Onyewu, Clarence Goodson, and Tim Ream are all having poor seasons in Europe. Klinsmann will now have to try to groom Besler and Gonzalez into international caliber central defenders after being standout in MLS in recent years.
With yellow card accumulation carrying over from the previous round, Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Maurice Edu, Eddie Johnson and Graham Zusi all have to watch themselves against Honduras. All five players are playing with a yellow card and will be suspended when they acquire their next bookable offense.
The US team has a tough set of opening games in the Hex and missing Bradley, Dempsey, or possibly even both could be a devastating blow in a later game.