Klinsmann addresses USA roster after cuts, ahead of upcoming matches

USMNT (Getty Images)

By AVI CREDITOR

The U.S. national team has not played a match in almost three months, but that stretch will end with Saturday night's friendly against Scotland at Jacksonville's EverBank Field, where more than 36,000 seats have been sold ahead of the match.

Among those who won't be participating in the match include Jozy Altidore, who will officially be released by AZ Alkmaar on May 28, and Clint Dempsey, who is coming off a groin injury and is being handled carefully ahead of next month's World Cup qualifiers.

"Clint is unavailable for this week. We have a big hope he can make it for the Brazil game," U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said on a conference call with reporters Friday. "Other than that, all the other guys should be available."

Most of them, anyway. Despite their season being over, AZ stuck to FIFA's regulations and did not release Altidore until they were obligated to, much to Klinsmann's chagrin. 

"After a long back and forth, they were not open to change their opinion," Klinsmann said. 

As a result, Altidore won't join the club until Monday, and his involvement against Brazil is likely to be limited. In addition to Altidore and Dempsey missing out on the Scotland match, Klinsmann said that with the late arrivals of Denmark-based Michael Parkhurst and Clarence Goodson that "more than likely they're not part of the 18 tomorrow night." 

That leaves 19 players who are likely to be available for selection against Scotland after Klinsmann trimmed his roster down from 27 to 23 after a 10-day training camp in Orlando. Juan Agudelo, Alfredo Morales, Danny Williams and Graham Zusi were the four that did not make the cut. Out of the four, Klinsmann addressed Agudelo's situation the most in depth, saying that the 19-year-old forward just needs to prove himself more with his newfound playing time.

"We always had the discussion that he didn't have enough playing time (in New York)," Klinsmann said. "It's also the fact that he hasn't played many games this year. He got injured in our January camp. He got injured in Olympic qualifiers. You could see that he's slightly behind the other strikers. That's why we told him it's better to fly back to Chivas now and get sharp and get fitter every day. It's up to him. He's got to prove it. He's got to score goals and play every game."  

Among the youngsters who did make the cut are Joe Corona and Terrence Boyd. For Corona, it is his first time with the senior national team. He led the U.S. Under-23 national team in scoring during Olympic qualifying with four goals, including a hat trick against Cuba.

"Obviously we followed him throughout the whole year," said Klinsmann, who added that Corona left a favorable impression after Olympic qualifying despite the team's overall failure. "He's a very skillful and creative player, he's good in one-on-ones and has a lot of upside on his game. We see in him a lot of potential. These 10 days in Orlando prove that we were right to call him in.

"He can play right (midfield), left, in the middle maybe as a 10 in a diamond midfield. He's one that wants to go forward. He has a really good vision on the field. He reads the game very well, he reads spaces, and his final touch to play the ball through is quite something."

For Boyd, who has yet to make a first-team appearance on the club level, he already has one cap to his name after appearing late in the United States' 1-0 victory over Italy on Feb. 29. With an imposing frame and a demonstrated finishing ability for Borussia Dortmund's reserve team and the U.S. Under-23 national team, the 21-year-old could certainly find himself on the field Saturday with Dempsey and Altidore out.

"He's ready for the next big step," Klinsmann said. "He's kind of adjusting to our way of doing things. He's a very curious kid, very energetic, and that's why he made the cut."

The upcoming World Cup qualifiers provide the chance to officially cap-tie Corona and Boyd, who are multi-national players and could still technically play for other countries. Klinsmann said that did not play into his decision making at all, as evidenced by his cutting Danny Williams and Alfredo Morales, who both are yet to officially be cap-tied to the United States as well.  

"I don't have those elements in the back of my mind," Klinsmann said. "Terrence and Joe are committed clearly to the U.S. I'm not worried about that."

As for the perceived lack of depth at fullback, Klinsmann was confident in who he has available to him. Between Steve Cherundolo and Michael Parkhurst on the right and Fabian Johnson and Edgar Castillo on the left, the U.S. manager is content with his options. 

"Fabian played the last couple of months mainly as a left back and became one of the best left backs in the Bundesliga throughout the last 6-to-8 weeks," Klinsmann said.

Klinsmann also addressed the comments made by Landon Donovan earlier this week, when he questioned his hunger for the game and wondered aloud about what his future holds after his contract with the Galaxy and this current World Cup cycle are over.

"Landon is a very intelligent player and very experienced," said Klinsmann, who added that he had to overcome the same hurdles as a player. "It's normal that your thoughts go all over the place when you think 'What's next? Where is my next challenge? How long will I play this game?' 

"He has already played three World Cups. Those thoughts I think are normal. It's important that he's here, he focuses in and zooms in and gives everything he has for the national team. He's been tremendous in every training session. He's very professional, and when he has his open discussions with U.S. journalists, that's good to see. He's a thoughtful guy. Time will tell how much he wants to continue on the highest level. I had those moments too. They came when you were waiting for a next step."

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50 Responses to Klinsmann addresses USA roster after cuts, ahead of upcoming matches

  1. Old School says:

    JK brushing off Deuce’s shoulders?

  2. Dinho says:

    Okay, no Dempsey, Altidore, Goodson or Parkhurst for Scotland. And, based on JK’s comments re: Johnson as LB, here’s a guess (and most starters will only play 45):

    ————- Howard ————–
    Dolo —- Gooch —– Boca — Johnson
    ————- Jones ————–
    —— Bradley —— Torres ——-
    Herc ——– Boyd ——– Donovan

    Maybe Castillo at left back, Johnson left side of midfield and Donovan on the right….

  3. jon says:

    Damn… no Dempsey or Altidore… That sucks.

  4. THomas says:

    After hearing his comments, I would love to see our WC qualifying squad look like this:

    ———Howard——–

    Dolo-Gooch-Boca-Johnson

    ——–Bradley——–

    Corona———Donovan

    ——-Dempsey———

    —Boyd——–Altidore

    But it would more than likely look like this against better opponents:

    ———Howard——–

    Dolo-Gooch-Boca-Johnson

    -Bradley–Jones–Torres

    —-Dempsey—–Donovan

    ———Altidore——

  5. Vic says:

    My guess for Scotland:

    Dolo Gooch Boca Johnson

    Bradley Jones

    Corona Castillo

    Boyd Donovan

  6. Ryan Nanez says:

    i know its a friendly and its 5 games in such short time, but Jk is not one to use all subs. he treats every game as a real one he’ll use 3 subs 4 tops

  7. Ryan Nanez says:

    i know johnson is a really good left back but am i the only one who want him to play mid?

  8. 2tone says:

    Well, I think that Johnson most definitley will be the starting LB when Altidore and Dempsey are back in the side, but for the Scotland friendly this is my starting 11.
    —————Howard————-
    dolo—–Cameron——Boca——–Castillo
    —Bradley——-Jones———-Torres——
    ———–Donovan——-Johnson———
    ——————-Boyd————–

    Subs: Guzan, Gooch, Corona, Edu, Beckerman, Wondo, Gomez.
    I could see Edu be used for the Defense either at CB or RB if someone should go down with an injury.

  9. Vic says:

    I would love to see Johnson in mid-field if we had an adequate left back like Lichaj or Chandler. However, at this point I don’t trust Castillo at LB and its too important of a position.

  10. biff says:

    I would really like to know definitively whether Alfredo Morales was actually in camp, as Hertha Berlin was trying to win an appeal to have its relegation game replayed after fans rushed the field before the final whistle. It could be that Morales never made it to camp.

  11. Amru says:

    I would love to see him playing in the midfield as well, but if he does then castillo has to play LB which means there is no one that can sub into LB position if need be

  12. Will says:

    What would be AZ Alkmaar’s reasoning behind holding Jozy back? Thumbing their nose at JK? Trying to protect their player? I don’t understand.

  13. Kevin says:

    36k sold so far for the game in Jacksonville?

    USMNT Giving the Jaguars a run for their money on attendance..

  14. Mig22 says:

    Ok, it’s time to address MY selfish needs. I’ll be at the Brazil game so if Dempsey can hobble, he better be playing. MY needs.

  15. Raymon says:

    I know it’s Scotland, but we still need a keeper!

  16. Mig22 says:

    That’s just because the USMNT may score more points than the average Jags outing. ;)

  17. Dimidri says:

    Don’t really understand people who aren’t putting Castillo in their 11-he was fantastic this year as a LW, most past complaints about his USMNT performance were based on his play at LB, we’re playing teams like Guatemala in Guatemala which seemingly he’d know a thing or two about, and, oh yeah, because DeMarcus and Brek aren’t in the team, what other left footer do you put on the left? Johnson? He’s at LB.

  18. Old School says:

    I do the same thing: You know your GK is world class when you don’t even type his name in.

    He’s just there, no need to type it.

  19. Old School says:

    Fabian is left footed?

  20. Dinho says:

    He was there. There’s photographic proof on the USMNT Facebook page

  21. TADevil says:

    I saw a practice picture with him in it. I’ll find it and post a link.

  22. 2tone says:

    My guess is that the final attendance number will be close to 40,000. Which is pretty good for a USMNT game. I know they have sold around 60,000 tickets for the USA v Brasil game at FedEx field. Which will be somewhere around 65,000 in attaendance at that game. Pretty good numbers. Until you see that only 15,000 tickets have been sold for essentially the important game against Anitugua and Barbuda in Tampa. People need to support the team durign WC qualifying. Very disappointed in the Tampa ticket sales. One day US soccer will give Seattle a WC qualifying game and you will see 68,000 screaming pro American fans. One day Seattle.

  23. Turgid Jacobian says:

    Trying to protect their player is probably it–this training isn’t really necessary for him, from their perspective.

  24. Turgid Jacobian says:

    It would be freakin’ awesome.

  25. jimmy says:

    but Seattle has artificial turf

  26. biff says:

    Thanks for that, did not see him (or, at least, recognize him) on any of the videos. News in the past hour that Hertha Berlin lost its appeal to replay the relegation game, so will be headed to the Second Bundesliga. Hertha is a total mess with an incompetent sport director and board chairman. I hope Morales can extricate himself from Berlin and move to a new team. It is so bad there, this could be a reason that Klinsmann called him over for camp, simply to lift his spirits or give him advice. The guy who holds the starting right back spot, Christian Lell, is one of the biggest duckheads in the Bundesliga and I would not be surprised if Morales has had to put up with sh!t from him. Feel sorry for the kid (Morales).

  27. louis z says:

    you should be very close to what JK might do.

  28. louis z says:

    not sure if that was JK’s intention, after all, he cut him

  29. AG says:

    I predict if we advance to the hex next year, at least one WQC will be held in Portland or Seattle on grass. Haven’t there been mens or womans qualifiers there in the past?

  30. louis z says:

    nope. he is a righty, but can’t hardly tell

  31. ben in el cajon says:

    My guess:
    1) end of season team-building
    2) protecting player from injuries
    3) keeping firm boundaries with national team programs so they don’t keep asking for special favors, such as having the player for matches outside the official FIFA international calendar.

  32. sam says:

    How about this then:

    ————- Howard ————–
    Dolo —- Gooch —– Boca — Johnson
    ————- Jones ————–
    —— Bradley —— Torres ——-
    Donovan —- Boyd/Herc —– Castillo

  33. Seriously says:

    What on earth do you expect? Its Antigua and Barbuda. It’s like watching a training session except you have to pay. I drove 6 hours to Nashville to see USA v T&T in the run up to the 2010 WC, no way would I do so to watch this up coming game. Waste of time and money.

  34. Murph says:

    I’ll say it again, give Coach K a little time, he has a lot of work to do in a short cycle. This run isn’t optimal given suspensions and clubs holding players back. Coach is yet to put his 18/11 together yet. Bradley took some time to transition too. I think we are going to see a very different approach to the future of the USMNT and I believe we are going to be more creative, tougher and more fluid. I just hope that the fitness ethic is retained as we are ahead of most NTs in this department. Frankie H as fitness coach?

  35. Brian says:

    Avi- any word on Morales? Did Klinsmann give any insight. He looked good against the Mexico U-23s.

  36. marco says:

    “… Despite their season being over, AZ stuck to FIFA’s regulations and did not release Altidore…”

    Klinsmann/Porter got shafted by Berlin on Morales and now by the AZ coach on Jozy. Did Klinsmann burn some bridges in Europe before he left? Verbeek take warning, Berlin dropped after shafting the USA 23′s.

  37. divers suck says:

    Since Seattle has conceded to the Seahawks that they’ll never have grass/hybrid (in the foreseeable future) they’ll never get a USMN A-team match ever. As cool as it would be to have a full house of pro USA fans that would surely show up in Seattle, that is the sad truth. Laying down a temp sod pitch over turf won’t cut it. It really is a shame and it’s all about lame excuse after lamer excuse, but Seattle has NOBODY to thank but themselves.

  38. vince says:

    then Seattle should have a grass field…that’s the only thing holding back the Northwest

  39. beachbum says:

    nice team for the guys available. Haven’t seen Castillo’s season but we’ve all heard he’s been great, and he’s always seemed more of a midfielder/wing at this level. He hand Johnson overlapping out there may provide some good things getting forward. Wouldn’t mind seeing Corona get the call on the wing either but don’t really want to see him get crunched by a Scottish signature tackle

  40. PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo says:

    If Castillo and Johnson are on the field at the same time…it better be Johnson in the midfield.

  41. PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo says:

    Castillo has yet to be scored on at LB. Yes, he was shaky….but he covered his area albeit did not look good doing it. He’ll be fine this round I predict and Johnson will win one of the wide midfield roles…

  42. GW says:

    marco,

    The clubs pay Morales’ and Jozy’s salary. The USSF does not.

    If I am a club owner and my players, at the end of a long, hard season, are asked to spend a month of their off season playing five or six tough tournament games, I am not happy.

    The games are half way around the world, and my players are risking injury and losing valuable recovery time when they could be resting up for next season.

    If I were such an owner and had anything to say about it, I would bar the my players from ever playing for their countries.

    Rather than complaining about it, you should be thankful the clubs haven’t yet found a way to prevent their players from playing for their countries; believe me they are looking.

  43. Ben C. says:

    In the world of international soccer, you have to be aware that your top players are going to be involved in games for their countries. There is no possible way you can ask someone to shun their homeland when it comes to World Cup Qualifiers, unless it is in the very early rounds (and not even then, honestly), or to a massive tournament like Euro 2012. I understand your argument, but, soccer is simply a different animal than other major sports.

  44. KenC says:

    Isn’t Ernie Stewart AZ’s technical director?!? You’d think JK would have some pull with Ernie.

  45. Adi from Oregon says:

    I agree with your comments and that is one of the reasons why I believe the WC or Euro 2012 are the supreme soccer competitions because the club money and huge personal salaries are not much of a factor. Consequently, these top soccer tournaments are a true test of talent and team strategies. Plus if clubs were to try to hold back players, the WORLD FIFA organization would surely counteract such efforts.

  46. Warren says:

    +1 ; )

  47. Warren says:

    Yeah if they want USMNT they need real grass. At least for the day.

  48. GW says:

    Don’t be so sure. Follow the money.

    National teams are not as big a deal as they were and the Champions League has surpassed the World Cup as the ultimate soccer event.

    Being in the US we see things a little differently but once MLS grows in stature things will change.

    It’s just a matter of time.

  49. END OF STORY says:

    Gulati is the only thing in the way of the USMNT playing in Seattle