DAVID SMITH - Saturday, November 7, 2015
US National team head coach Jürgen Klinsmann has named the 23-man roster which will begin the team's qualification campaign for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The team will face off against minnows St. Vincent and the Grenadines in St. Louis on November 13, then travel to Port of Spain to play Trinidad and Tobago four days later.
These two are the first of six games the Stars & Stripes will play in the fourth round of qualification, with the top two teams in Group C, which is rounded out by Guatemala, advancing to the final Hexagonal round.
The team has come off a string of results which can be described as disappointing at best, failing to even make the final of this past summer's Gold Cup, then falling to Mexico in the CONCACAF Cup in October to miss out on a spot in the 2017 Confederations Cup.
This had led to widespread calls for Klinsmann's ouster from his position in the driver's seat, however there has been no indication that US Soccer ringmaster Sunil Gulati is willing to call curtains on his favorite act even if he is increasingly looking unaware that he is left all alone in a very small car.
To his credit, the German World Cup winner has made some choices for his latest roster which will please even the most hardened fans.
Defensive stalwart Fabian Johnson returns to the fold after what had looked to be a potentially divisive spat related to his request for removal from the loss against Mexico. Perhaps equally as important is the inclusion of young, immensely promising New York defender Matt Miazga, whose services are also rumored to be sought by Polish national team coach Adam Nawałka.
Also notable is the long-awaited inclusion of Liberian-born Portland midfielder Darlington Nagbe, who finally became eligible to represent the United States in September after receiving his citizenship.
One noticeable absence is that of Clint Dempsey, who has been left off the roster to, as stated by Klinsmann, "to give the younger strikers a chance to prove themselves." Taking his place up front are the less experience Bobby Wood, Gyasi Zardes and Jordan Morris, as well as veterans Jozy Altidore and Alan Gordan.
Guzan, Brad: Aston Villa (England)
Hamid, Bill: DC United (MLS)
Howard, Tim: Everton (England)
Alvarado, Ventura: Club America (Mexico)
Besler, Matt: Sporting KC (MLS)
Cameron, Geoff: Stoke City (England)
Johnson, Fabian: Borussia Mönchengladbach (Germany)
Miazga, Matt: New York Red Bulls (MLS)
Orozco, Michael: Club Tijuana (Mexico)
Ream, Tim: Fulham FC (England)
Shea, Brek: Orlando City SC (MLS)
Beckerman, Kyle: Real Salt Lake (MLS)
Bradley, Michael: Toronto FC (MLS)
Diskerud, Mikkel: New York City FC (MLS)
Ibarra, Miguel: Club Leon (Mexico)
Jones, Jermaine: New England Revolution (MLS)
Nagbe, Darlington: Portland Timbers (MLS)
Yedlin, DeAndre: Sunderland (England)
Altidore, Jozy: Toronto FC (MLS)
Gordon, Alan: LA Galaxy (MLS)
Morris, Jordan: Stanford
Wood, Bobby: Union Berlin (Germany)
Zardes, Gyasi: LA Galaxy (MLS)