The USMNT will head to training on the west coast in preparation for a match with Mexico on Apr. 2, and Jurgen Klinsmann‘s roster brings several surprises. However, these surprises could be vying for the last couple roster spots to make the World Cup squad. This is not a FIFA-sanctioned date, so the roster is comprised mostly of MLS and Liga MX players who are not still alive in CONCACAF Champions League play. Julian Green is the only European-based player but could be one of those in a competition for Brazil.
There has been some speculation that Green’s one time switch to the USMNT from Germany came with a guaranteed World Cup spot. Most parties involved have denied that, but it is clear that Klinsmann is giving the young winger a chance to make the roster. He usually plays out on the left wing and could potentially be a backup for Landon Donovan. If Green can impress there is a good chance that he quiets the talk of the enigmatic Brek Shea making the team.
Maurice Edu has emerged back onto the USMNT radar after a strong start for the Philadelphia Union. He has been deployed in defense and in the midfield, so his flexibility could be valuable to the team during the World Cup. He will have stiff competition as midfield is arguably the deepest position for Klinsmann to chose from with several sure locks already with a ticket to Brazil in hand.
Michael Orozco is back on the team and has been used at various spots in the back line. He scored a major goal in Mexico City to become part of USMNT folklore but has yet to nail down his spot. With DaMarcus Beasley planted at the left back position, there is still no true player for this spot that plays there consistently. Orozco is still a long shot and is behind Michael Parkhurst as the utility defender on the bench in Brazil.
DeAndre Yedlin is the final long shot to make the roster. He could provide greater pace in the wide defensive position than is available for the USMNT. However, putting him on the roster means he could be potentially responsible for stopping Cristiano Ronaldo, Marco Reus or any number of other German stars on the left wing. His inclusion seems unlikely, but this would be his chance to impress.
The roster of 22 players is large for a non-sanctioned date and gives fringe players less of a chance to shine. They will really have to fight for playing time. Others who had an outside chance of making the roster can officially cancel their summer plans in South America as Jose Torres, Benny Feilhaber and Mike Magee will remain with their club teams this week.
Klinsmann now has to scrutinize the play of these fringe players prior to assembling his team again in May. He will be allowed a preliminary roster and potential additions due to injury prior to naming the 23-man roster for the World Cup. All eyes will be on Green, but there are several others fighting to make that list. Here is the full roster for the match against Mexico.
GOALKEEPERS (3): Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (8): DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Michael Orozco (Puebla), Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Maurice Edu (Philadelphia Union), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (4): Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Eddie Johnson (D.C. United), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)