U.S. Soccer released the 26-man squad for the United States Men’s National Team‘s annual January camp on Friday. The camp has become a great evaluation period for manager Jurgen Klinsmann during the MLS offseason — the 2012 camp is where he first paired the current center-back duo of Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez together. This year’s camp will be split between the usual venue of the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. and the Sao Paulo training facility which the United States will call home during the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Klinsmann has picked a nice mix of veterans and youth for this year’s camp where the biggest battles will be on the defensive side. DaMarcus Beasley looks like a lock at the left back position and Brad Evans seems like a good bet to get the nod at right back if he continues to play well. The depth at those spots is almost non-existent which bodes well for young players like left-back Chris Klute of the Colorado Rapids and right-back DeAndre Yedlin of the Seattle Sounders FC; a good camp for both could put them in the picture for a call-up to Brazil and make the team feel more solid in the years to come.
As well as Klinsmann did in the call-ups for the defense, he really blew it at the forward positions. While Mike Magee of the Chicago Fire and Chris Wondolowski of the San Jose Earthquakes are sure deserving of a look from Klinsmann, it just seems like that time has passed. The odds that either of these two could see the field in a meaningful game during the World Cup are very slim as they are behind Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Eddie Johnson, Jozy Altidore, Aron Johannsson and Terrance Boyd on the depth charts.
When the next World Cup rolls around in four years, Magee will be 33 and Wondolowski will be 35 and even further off of the national team radar. So, instead of pulling up these two players, why not take a look at some younger guys who could be future impact players such as Jack McInerney and Juan Agudelo?
The United States camp will conclude on Feb. 1 with a friendly against potential Round of 16 opponent Korea Republic at the StubHub Center.