Jermaine Jones Recalled to USMNT as Squad to Face Mexico Revealed
LOS ANGELES – Jurgen Klinsmann has announced his 26-man squad for the United States men’s national team’s pair of tough upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Mexico and Costa Rica. It’s a strong squad and the starting lineup arguably picks itself to some degree. Although there are a few questions to be answered in terms of who actually lines up against Mexico on Friday.
In defense Fabian Johnson and DeAndre Yedlin are the obvious choices for starting in the outside back positions. But the absence of Geoff Cameron – the Stoke City man is nursing a knee injury – raises the question of who will partner with John Brooks in the center of defense. Brooks, a starter for high-flying Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga, is a shoe-in, but without Cameron, Klinsmann will have to opt for either Omar Gonzalez or Steve Birnbaum.
Goalkeeper Tim Howard is in the midst of a game-changing playoff campaign for Colorado Rapids. The former Everton man’s form, experience and history against Mexico, makes him the obvious choice to start between the posts.
Hard-tackling midfielder Jermaine Jones is back after missing the last round of qualifiers due to injury. Based on his showing over the two legs of Colorado’s MLS playoff win over LA Galaxy, the German-born midfielder will likely start alongside Michael Bradley in the center of midfield; although he could come off the bench against Mexico and start against Costa Rica.
If Jones doesn’t get the start, Klinsmann could opt for Sacha Kljestan who had a good season for New York Red Bulls, despite a poor showing in the playoffs. Alejandro Bedoya is likely to resume his role on the wing as the “glue guy,” helping to add fluency to the transition from attack to defense.
Christian Pulisic, the 18-year-old whose been lighting it up for Borussia Dortmund this season, should get the start on the other wing, adding attacking menace from midfield. Graham Zusi and Julian Green add further depth to Klinsmann’s options in midfield.
Based on his current form for Toronto FC, Jozy Altidore has a lock on starting at forward. Assuming Klinsmann goes with a 4-4-2, Altidore is likely to be partnered with Bobby Wood, another American who’s been making some waves in the German Bundesliga. Jordan Morris’ strong form for Seattle Sounders this season could also put him in contention for a spot alongside Altidore.
GOALKEEPERS: Brad Guzan (Middlesbrough), Ethan Horvath (Molde), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), William Yarbrough (Club Leon)
DEFENDERS: Matt Besler (Sporting KC), Steve Birnbaum (DC United), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United)
MIDFIELDERS: Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Lynden Gooch (Sunderland), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Jermaine Jones (Colorado Rapids), Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Caleb Stanko (FC Vaduz), Graham Zusi (Sporting KC)
FORWARDS: Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Aron Johannson (Werder Bremen), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Bobby Wood (Hamburger SV)
Written by Alex Baker. Photos by ISI.