The U.S. Men's National Team returns to action on Wednesday in the highly-anticipated friendly vs. Mexico at Estadio Azteca. We already know who Mexico will be bringing to the showdown, but U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has held off in announcing his team until the weekend.
Back in June, Klinsmann suggested that he would be fielding a full-strength squad for the trip to Mexico City, but circumstances might keep that from happening. When you consider that Clint Dempsey is in a bit of limbo, as are the Americans at Rangers, you wonder whether Klinsmann will bring those key players in or let them deal with their current club situations.
When considering the squad Klinsmann may actually bring to Mexico, it should be noted that since the friendly is a mid-week friendly, there won't be a lengthy training camp before it. The team will have just two days to work and not much time to get acclimated. That quick turnaround usually prevents completely new faces from being called in, but with Klinsmann, you can always expect a surprise or two.
So who is Klinsmann calling in for the Mexico friendly? Here is a roster we could see getting the nod:
PROJECTED USMNT ROSTER vs. MEXICO
GOALKEEPERS- Tim Howard, Brad Guzan
DEFENDERS- Timmy Chandler, Steve Cherundolo, Carlos Bocanegra, Geoff Cameron, Clarence Goodson, Fabian Johnson, Edgar Castillo
MIDFIELDERS- Landon Donovan, Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Jermaine Jones, Jose Torres, Kyle Beckerman, Chris Pontius
FORWARDS- Jozy Altidore, Terrence Boyd, Herculez Gomez, Chris Wondolowski
This would be a full-strength team, and while many of these European-based players are in pre-season, Klinsmann has made a point of saying that he wants his best players coming in for friendlies. It will be interesting to see if he sticks to that.
Yes, that's Timmy Chandler on the roster. Reports out of Germany have suggested Chandler is set to return to the national team fold and a game at Azteca would be a good chance for him to help repair his image among USA fans who aren't happy with the perception that he's not fully committed.
The LA Galaxy have a game on Wednesday at Columbus, so you might think Landon Donovan would be left home right? Don't be so sure. With the number of games Donovan missed last year it's tough to think Klinsmann would pass on a chance to bring him in. Also, Donovan loves playing Mexico, and a chance to play at Azteca again is something you would think he would not want to miss.
Clint Dempsey has not been training with the first team at Fulham as his future with the club remains in doubt, so he's probably not match fit. That said, Klinsmann will want to bring him in and have him around the team. He might not be able to start, but you would expect Dempsey to be a safe bet for minutes if called.
Chris Pontius fills the "New face in camp" quota. He is a talented goal scorer capable of playing on the left flank. I'm sure many will suggest that Eddie Johnson should be called in. Yes, he's playing well right now, but with the current crop of forwards available, I'm not sure now is the time for Johnson to be called in.
Goalkeeper is a bit of a tricky one. Brad Guzan is in a battle for the starting job at Aston Villa, so you wonder if Klinsmann leaves him back to focus on that. If so, Nick Rimando, Sean Johnson or Bill Hamid should get the nod. Based on current form, and a chance to bring him back into the fold after the Olympic qualifying disaster, Johnson would be a good call-up.
What do you think of this squad? Who would you like to see called up that isn't on this list? Who is on the projected roster that you hope does NOT get called in?
Share your thoughts below.