USA and Mexico have released their preliminary teams for next month's CONCACAF Cup playoff. They will be reduced to 23 players on Oct. 1.
CONCACAF has forced the U.S. and Mexico to name binding, provisional rosters for the Oct. 10 Confederations Cup playoff in Pasadena, California, and Jurgen Klinsmann has obliged with a 35-man list that includes few surprises. The squad, unveiled Tuesday morning, also includes several players who aren’t currently fit. But the U.S. manager had no choice but to include them if he hopes to field them at the Rose Bowl.
The provisional team must be cut down to 23 players by Oct. 1.
Klinsmann said in a Q&A released Tuesday by the U.S. Soccer Federation that there was plenty to take away from this month’s friendlies against Peru (a 2-1 win) and Brazil (a 4-1 loss) and that he’s expecting his players to be focused and hungry for the showdown against Mexico, which has been dubbed the “CONCACAF Cup.”
“Our message for the players going into the Mexico clash is to take that experience from both games, against Peru, which went well, and against Brazil, which went not so well, and zoom in,” he said. “Get yourself on the highest level possible. Get yourself even sharper and do some extra work in your club teams. A couple of our players are not 100% fit yet, so they have now four weeks to get ready. We just simply told them please have in the back of your mind Oct. 10. Have in the back of your mind the Rose Bowl and 90,000 fanatical fans, which we all look forward to.”
He continued, “The message was not negative from the Brazil game, because those things happen. That’s part of the game too. If you learn from that lesson and get even more stimulated to go towards the Mexico game and put even more energy into everything you do, you will benefit from it when you play against them at the Rose Bowl.”
Here’s a look at Klinsmann’s team:
GOALKEEPERS: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
Klinsmann made it clear this month that Guzan is the national team’s No. 1 despite Howard’s return from a 14-month sabbatical. Hamid appears to have passed William Yarbrough and Sean Johnson on the U.S. depth chart, but he’s unlikely to nudge Rimando out of the No. 3 spot.
Guzan was in goal when the U.S. held Mexico to a 0-0 draw in a World Cup qualifier at the Estadio Azteca in March 2013.
DEFENDERS: Ventura Alvarado (Club América), DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Greg Garza (Atlas), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), Tim Ream (Fulham), Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City), DeAndre Yedlin (Sunderland)
Klinsmann has said that Beasley and Fabian Johnson as his first-choice outside backs, but the latter is a listed as a midfielder on this roster. That won’t have any bearing on the manager’s lineup on Oct. 10. Johnson missed the Peru and Brazil friendlies and hasn’t played in a month thanks to an injured calf, but he’s back training with Mönchengladbach.
Beasley, who came out of international retirement during the Gold Cup, is working through a calf injury as well. He hasn’t played a full, 90-minute game since Aug. 8.
Timmy Chandler is the only member of the Gold Cup team, which finished fourth (thereby necessitating the playoff with winner Mexico) not on the list. He’s recovering from knee surgery.
MIDFIELDERS: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Joe Corona (Veracruz), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Jermaine Jones (New England Revolution), Alfredo Morales (FC Ingolstadt), Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution), Danny Williams (Reading), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Veterans Beckerman and Zusi return after missing this month’s friendlies, and Lee Nguyen is back in contention after being cut from the preliminary Gold Cup roster. The Revs playmaker has five assists in his past four MLS games but hasn’t played for the U.S. since February.
FORWARDS: Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Alan Gordon (LA Galaxy), Aron Jóhannsson (Werder Bremen), Jordan Morris (Stanford University), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (Union Berlin)
Andrew Wooten, who was called up for the Peru and Brazil games thanks to his scoring exploits with 2. Bundesliga outfit SV Sandhausen (he's tied for the league lead with six goals in six games), isn’t listed.
Jordan Morris presents an interesting case: the 20-year-old Stanford junior has spent time with the U.S. U-23 team, which will be attempting to qualify for next year’s Olympics in early October. He’s more likely to make an impact in that tournament than against Mexico, but his work rate and confidence on the ball, not to mention his April goal against El Tri, makes him an interesting candidate for the senior squad—especially if there are injuries.
By listing him Tuesday, Klinsmann gives himself the option of calling up Morris for the playoff.
Mexico interim coach Ricardo "Tuca" Ferretti, who stepped in following the firing of Miguel Herrera, chose only 32 players. Among them are Jonathan dos Santos and new LA Galaxy designated player Giovani dos Santos, who were omitted from the squad that recently faced Trinidad and Tobago (a 3-3 draw) and Argentina (a 2-2 draw).
Four-time World Cup captain Rafa Márquez is also in the group, which includes three forwards who made big summer moves: Javier "Chicharito" Hernández (Manchester United to Bayer Leverkusen), Raul Jiménez (Atletico Madrid to Benfica) and Jesús "Tecatito" Corona (FC Twente to Porto).
Mexico is 4-0-6 in its past 10 games and won the Gold Cup title with a 3-1 win over Jamaica in the final—arguably it’s only impressive performance of the tournament. El Tri represented CONCACAF at the 2013 Confederations Cup, finishing 1-2-0 in a group that included Brazil, Italy and Japan.
Here’s Ferretti’s team:
GOALKEEPERS: Guillermo Ochoa (Málaga), Moisés Muñoz (Club América), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca), Jonathan Orozco (Monterrey)
DEFENDERS: Paul Aguilar (Club América), Diego Reyes (Real Sociedad), Rafa Márquez (Hellas Verona), Héctor Moreno (PSV Eindhoven), Miguel Layún (FC Porto), Héctor Herrera (FC Porto), Oswaldo Alanís (Chivas de Guadalajara), Arturo Rivas (UANL Tigres), Miguel Herrera (Pachuca), Jorge Torres Nilo (UANL Tigres)
MIDFIELDERS: Israel Jiménez (UANL Tigres), Andrés Guardado (PSV Eindhoven), José Juan Vazquez (Club León), Jesús Dueñas (UANL Tigres), Javier Aquino (UANL Tigres), Jonathan dos Santos (Villarreal), Luis Montes (Club León), Carlos Pena (Club León), Javier Güémez (Club América)
FORWARDS: Oribe Peralta (Club América), Raúl Jiménez (Benfica), Carlos Vela (Real Sociedad), Carlos Esquivel (Toluca), Jesús Corona (FC Porto), Javier Hernández (Bayer Leverkusen), Elías Hernández (Club León), Jurgen Damm (UANL Tigres), Giovani dos Santos (LA Galaxy)