Jugen Klinsmann released his final roster for the Hexagonal qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Although there wasn’t too much of a mystery with the roster selection perhaps a couple of players stand out for their selections.
Brad Evans and Brad Davis are the most notable selections from the MLS players invited into the previous camp and Matt Besler receives his first official call up. Evans was curiously played out of position, so to speak, during the friendly against Canada while Davis put in a workman like shift patrolling the left side of the park. Neither player seemed to make a significant impact but Klinsmann must have saw enough to include the MLS standouts and Besler is the reigning defender of the year in MLS.
Timmy Chandler receives a call which seemed in doubt when he was wavering on whether he wanted to represent the US internationally. I guess the doubts will be put to rest when he receives his first cup tie game, making him ineligible to play for any other country. Although, it is curious that his selection seemed almost automatic over a player like Eric Lichaj who has received significant minutes with Aston Villa, all be it in a losing cause, but he’s no more responsible for that than Brad Guzan is.
Of course, Omar Gonzalez’s selection was a foregone conclusion with his spectacular season domestically along with his speedy recovery, the tall center back left no doubt after his performance against Canada last week.
Lastly, Eddie Johnson’s selection does not seem the most convincing. Although his season with Seattle was a resurgence in his career he left little to be impressed when facing the likes of a Canadian national squad made up of mostly youngsters. I don’t suppose we have another forward who is performing well enough to warrant a selection, or at least better than Johnson did this past season.
World Cup Qualifying for Brazil 2014 begins Feb. 6 in San Pedro Sula at 3 p.m. CT, and the match will be broadcast live on beIN SPORT.
The U.S. team trains today in Miami before departing for Honduras later in the afternoon. “We want to have a sense of urgency right from the start of the Final Round,” said Klinsmann. “We have a lot of respect for Honduras, but our message to the team is that we are going there to get three points. One thing we learned from the Semifinal Round is that you have to bring the right mentality to play in the tough games on the road, and I’m confident we are ready to do that.”
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION (World Cup qualifying Caps/Goals)
GOALKEEPERS (3) : Brad Guzan (Aston Villa – 5/3 SO), Tim Howard (Everton – 22/9 SO), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire – 0/0)
DEFENDERS (9) : Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City – 0/0), Carlos Bocanegra (Racing Santander – 31/5), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City – 5/0), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana – 0/0), Timmy Chandler (Nuremberg – 0/0), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders – 0/0), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy – 0/0), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim – 3/0), Michael Parkhurst (Augsburg – 3/0)
MIDFIELDERS (8) : Michael Bradley (Roma – 19/5), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo – 0/0), Maurice Edu (Bursaspor – 9/0), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04 – 5/0), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht – 12/0), Jose Torres (Tigres – 9/0), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim – 4/0), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City – 3/0)
FORWARDS (4 ): Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar – 17/6), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur – 26/10), Herculez Gomez (Santos – 6/2), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders – 11/10)
With the match falling on a FIFA international fixture date, Klinsmann is able to call upon a full squad that includes a total of 17 players based in Europe and Mexico. The roster is loaded with experience, including five players with 50 caps or more.
The United States holds a 12-3-3 lifetime record against Honduras in a series dating back to 1965. Both the United States and Honduras earned a place in the Final Round by virtue of winning their respective Semifinal Round groups. The Catrachos qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup after only losing once at home in nine qualifiers throughout the cycle. That lone loss came against the United States.
The U.S. and Honduras are part of the six-team Hexagonal along with Costa Rica, Jamaica, Mexico and Panama. The 10-game, round-robin format will be contested from Feb. 6-Oct.10. The top three teams will automatically advance to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, while the fourth-place team will compete in a two-leg playoff against the champion from the Oceania Confederation.