Forty of the best in Klinsmann’s eyes were named to the preliminary roster earlier this week. for this summer’s Copa American Centenario. Included in the list were popular veteran picks like Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, Tim Howard and Jermaine Jones. The final 23-man roster has to be turned in by May 20th, so the next few weeks will be key with training camp beginning May 16 in Miami, Florida.
Three tune-up matches will be played in advance, with several players mid-season joining the team. Young players like recent sensation Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund will be competing with veterans for a spot in this historic tournament.
With 23 spots open, that leaves three goalkeeping options in the final roster, with choices in seasoned Brad Guzan, Tim Howard and Nick Rimando, plus San Jose’s David Bingham and 20-year-old Ethan Horvath who plays at Molde.
As for defenders, MLS names like Matt Besler, Steve Birnbaum, Kellyn Acosta and Brad Evans are mixed with a variety of international players John Brooks, Geoff Cameron, Edgar Castillo, Timmy Chandler, former MLS player Omar Gonzalez, Eric Lichaj, Michael Orozco, Tim Ream and youngster Matt Miazga. I would guess seven make the final roster. It’s evident to me that defense is still a bit of a revolving door but we will see what happens.
In the midfield, Michael Bradley and Kyle Beckerman lead the way with several familiar names in Alejandro Bedoya, Fabian Johnson, Jermaine Jones, Mix Diskerud and Graham Zusi. Additional midfielders are Perry Kitchen, Alfredo Morales, Darlington Nagbe, Lee Nguyen and Danny Williams. Nine should make the final roster. If the midfield can play together and well, the main core should do well with so many veterans.
Last but certainly not least is the group of forwards. Klinsmann has called in eight total with four making the final cut. Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey, Chris Wondolowski, Bobby Wood and Gyasi Zardes are all getting another chance to put the ball in the back of the net. Young names like Ethan Finlay (yay, go Crew!), Jordan Morris, who has scored for Seattle as of late, and new star Christian Pulisic, will work to get into the final list.
The USMNT play Puerto Rico on Sunday, May 22 at 12 p.m. ET on FS1, Unimas; Ecuador on May 25 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2, Unimas; Bolivia on May 28 at 8 p.m. ET on FS1, Univision.
The Copa begins against Colombia on June 3 at 6:30 p.m. ET. See the full schedule here.
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION (Club; WCQ Caps/Goals):
GOALKEEPERS (5): David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Ethan Horvath (Molde), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (15): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Ventura Alvarado (Club America), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Monterrey), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest), Matt Miazga (Chelsea FC), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), Tim Ream (Fulham), DeAndre Yedlin (Sunderland)
MIDFIELDERS (12): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (FC Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Jermaine Jones (Colorado Rapids), Perry Kitchen (Heart of Midlothian), Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution), Danny Williams (Reading FC), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (8): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Ethan Finlay (Columbus Crew), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (Union Berlin), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)