Jurgen Klinsmann, left, and new recruit Julian Green, will spend more time together in training leading up to next Wednesday's clash with rival Mexico. (John Todd/ISIPhotos)
The U.S. men's national team's friendly against Ukraine on March 5 was billed as a last-chance audition for European-based players prior to the World Cup. The April 2 friendly against Mexico at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., is being billed as much of the same for the U.S.- and Mexico-based national team contingent, and Jurgen Klinsmann has acted accordingly with his latest 22-man roster selection.
As expected, Klinsmann called solely on MLS- and Liga MX-based players for the friendly with the exception of Julian Green, the USA's newest German-American recruit. Green, 18, is eligible to participate in the match and make his U.S. debut after FIFA rapidly approved his one-time switch from Germany, locking him into the U.S. program.
The Club Tijuana contingent was not called upon, because the club is participating in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, and the first leg of its bout with Cruz Azul conflicts with the friendly date. That leaves the likes of Herculez Gomez, Edgar Castillo and Joe Corona needing to perform well on the club level while hoping that's enough to catch Klinsmann's attention come May.
Puebla's DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Orozco make up the Liga MX contingent, with 2010 World Cup participant and Tigres midfielder Jose Torres being left out.
[Note: Puebla has since refused to release both players, preventing them from participating.]
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As for the MLS contingent, Maurice Edu is back in the fold after returning to action with the Philadelphia Union after his period of stagnancy with Stoke City, while reigning MLS MVP Mike Magee has been left out. Magee was called into the USA's January training camp but was unable to participate in the friendly against South Korea due to food poisoning, missing a chance to wow Klinsmann in his first call-up. 2010 World Cup participant Benny Feilhaber was also among the more notable omissions.
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Chris Wondolowski, who figures to be one of those on the chopping block if Green is to make a run at one of the forward places on the World Cup roster, is back after scoring twice in the win over South Korea in January.
“Everyone knows the clock is ticking,” Klinsmann said in a U.S. Soccer statement. “This is a huge opportunity for our players to show where they are at and to make their case. We expect them to give a really strong performance against a Mexican team that is now basically coming back on track. They need to prove now that they badly want to go to Brazil.”
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Here is the U.S. roster in full:
GOALKEEPERS: Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire)
DEFENDERS: Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake)*, Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)
*Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders) had to withdraw with an injury and was replaced by Beltran; DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Orozco were not released by Puebla after initially being called in.
MIDFIELDERS: 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)
: Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Eddie Johnson (D.C. United), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)