Ahead of the USMNT’s crucial match against Costa Rica, has Landon Donovan finally played his way back into Klinsmann’s good books?
United States Men’s National Team manager Jurgen Klinsmann has announced his next 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying 23-man squad.
The players selected will be eligible for contention in the crucial six-pointer against Costa Rica, followed by another fierce Mexico derby match.
Out of the 23 selections, some of the more notable choices include the previously out-of-favour Landon Donovan, the return of new blood Aron Johannsson and John Anthony Brooks, and a potential 100th cap for Clint Dempsey.
“The Costa Rica game in San Jose is the biggest game in 2013 for all of us because we want to win there,” Klinsmann told USSoccer.com. “We want to qualify as soon as possible for the World Cup in Brazil. We want to get the first ever three points in World Cup qualifying in Costa Rica. Everyone needs to understand there will be a lot of tension. We need to be very well prepared mentally and physically and give them a real game. And if you look at the quality of our roster and our players, we have the quality to get the three points.”
On the constantly growing competition for the national team, Klinsmann said: “The job of a national team coaching staff is to look for the next generation of players. And in looking at players such as a Mix Diskerud, Joe Corona, John Brooks, Aron Johannsson and even a Alejandro Bedoya, who was already in the team but pushed it to a new level over the last couple of months, you see a growth coming through. We want to continue to see them challenge themselves and established players for spots and prove they are ready for the next level, and that makes it exciting for us.
“What we saw in Bosnia from John [Anthony Brooks] and Aron [Johannsson] is exactly what we have seen from them over the last one-and-a-half years following them. We’ve been tracking them for a long time, communicating with them and their coaches for quite a while and they confirmed that they belong with their performances in Bosnia. It gives us more options. It gives us the situation where Aron is now challenging Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore. He’s a forward, he’s hungry and wants to score goals.
“As far as John Brooks, he is already challenging the spots of the centre-backs Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler, and Clarence Goodson, and it makes things better for us because competition will help us raise the quality.”
The full 23-man line-up is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
Defenders: DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City) John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Michael Orozco (Puebla)
Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Roma), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC)