What with the injuries, late call-ups, ineligibility, players slated to play in the first match only, others in just the second, the U.S. national soccer team roster has been difficult to follow ahead of Tuesday’s friendly against Belgium in Brussels (2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, ESPN3.com).
Barring a last-minute change, Juergen Klinsmann will have 20 players available for selection.
Clint Dempsey, Steve Cherundolo and Kyle Beckerman have joined the delegation after being allowed to miss the 1-0 loss to Costa Rica on Friday night. Beckerman scored from distance in Real Salt Lake’s 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union Saturday in an MLS match.
Chris Pontius, Teal Bunbury, Landon Donovan and Fabian Johnson are out. Pontius and Bunbury were not included on the 18-man game-day roster Friday, and Johnson is ineligible to play while awaiting FIFA approval to switch his allegiance from Germany. Donovan, who started against Costa Rica, will play for the Galaxy on Monday night against Sporting Kansas City.
It’s very early in Klinsmann’s tenure, and we’re a long way from rendering judgment, but consider: The USA is 0-1-1 in its first two matches with, under an attack-minded coach, one goal scored. Bob Bradley, who also took over during a transitional period (early 2007), began his stint with 10 victories and a draw in 11 matches (25 goals for, six against).
Klinsmann is already being criticized by the manager of a club employing one of his key players. Alkmaar’s Gertjan Verbeek didn’t want his new striker, Jozy Altidore, called up for these two friendlies.
“I tried to stop it, but he was adamant,” Verbeek was quoted in this story. “It’s pure self-interest of a man who only one year has been a club coach [Bayern Munich] and immediately fired. That says it all.”
Good relations between a national team coach and club leader are important when requesting releases for non-FIFA fixture dates and other events.
For the updated USA roster.....
GOALKEEPERS: Bill Hamid (D.C.United), Tim Howard (Everton).
DEFENDERS: Carlos Bocanegra (Rangers), Edgar Castillo (Club America), Timmy Chandler (Nuremberg), Steve Cherundolo (Hanover), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Michael Orozco Fiscal (San Luis), Tim Ream (New York Red Bulls), Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City).
MIDFIELDERS: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Jeff Larentowicz (Colorado Rapids), Jose Torres (Pachuca).
FORWARDS: Juan Agudelo (Red Bulls), Jozy Altidore (Alkmaar), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew), Brek Shea (FC Dallas).