|Stu Holden makes his return to a US camp.|
Photo: Kristy Wigglesworth AP
The most intriguing (and least important) aspect of this roster is the inclusion of six goalkeepers. Tim Howard and Brad Guzan are the unquestioned number one and number two combination while the third spot will be shared by four MLS goalkeepers. Sean Johnson will be the third goalie for the first stretch of the camp that includes the game against Belgium on May 26. Bill Hamid will be the third goalie for the part of camp that includes the game against Germany on June 2. Tally Hall gets the nod for the week in between the friendlies and the US' trip to Jamaica and then Nick Rimando is the goalie for the World Cup Qualifiers.
Basically it's four independent auditions for three spots in the Gold Cup. The rotation policy keeps the respective MLS clubs happy because they only lose their goalie for a couple of days. Real Salt Lake is unfortunate in that Rimando is gone for the longest span but since it's World Cup Qualifying, they had to release him anyways.
In defense, Steve Cherundolo and Timmy Chandler are both out with injury so right back becomes a slight concern for the US. Cherundolo has played in only four games since coming back from a knee injury while Chandler ruptured a knee ligament just over a week ago and would have been questionable at best for the World Cup Qualifiers. Geoff Cameron and Michael Parkhurst are going to be relied on at right back which will be the weak point of this team.
The return of Stu Holden highlights the midfield for this camp. Holden has quickly worked to return to fitness after his long-term injury problems. He will be a part of the camp but will not have a role in the World Cup Qualifiers as Klinsmann has already placed him on the Gold Cup squad. It's not a waste of a spot because Klinsmann and Holden have hardly any experience together so a couple of weeks of training will do wonders for both.
Brek Shea's inclusion is at first look a surprise but given his youth and a lack of playing and training time with Stoke City, he needs less vacation time at this point in his career. There is nothing to fear with his current lack of playing time as Stoke manager Tony Pulis views him as a signing for the future. It's doubtful that Shea will have a substantial impact in the five games for the US but keeping him in the fold for this time and possibly the Gold Cup should get him more up to speed and prepared for the upcoming English Premier League.
There is a double standard that exists when comparing Cherundolo and Chandler with Shea and Holden. That being said, using it as a point of criticism is unfounded. Cherundolo and Chandler are fully immersed with both club and national team and both would be contenders for a starting spot if healthy. They are simply not healthy enough for this stretch of games. Shea and Holden are still establishing/reestablishing footholds for club and country so their inclusions are a step in that process. It is evident that Shea and Holden are projected to be long-term members of the national team, that is why they are included now.
The Landon Donovan exclusion is disappointing yet understandable in that Donovan can still have an impact on this team but he is just starting to regain the form that he had before his break. Donovan and Klinsmann have been communicating so the door is far from closed and it is becoming a safe bet that he will be in the Gold Cup squad for July. Expect Graham Zusi and a consistently improving Joe Corona to see time on the right hand side.
As always, the roster in full:
Goalkeepers: Tim Howard (Everton, EPL), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa, EPL), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), Tally Hall (Houston Dynamo), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Bill Hamid (DC United)
Defenders: DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla, Liga MX), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City, EPL), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana, Liga MX), Clarence Goodson (Brondby, Danish Superliga), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim, German Bundesliga), Michael Parkhurst (Augsburg, German Bundesliga)
Midfielders: Stu Holden (Bolton Wanderers, English Championship), Michael Bradley (AS Roma, Serie A), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Maurice Edu (Bursaspor, Turkish Süper Lig), Jermaine Jones (Schalke, German Bundesliga), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht, Belgian Pro League), Brek Shea (Stoke City), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Forwards: Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar, Eredivisie), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna, Austrian Bundesliga), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur, EPL), Herculez Gomez (Santos Laguna, Liga MX), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders)
ONE GOAL Contributor
Christian Araos (@Christian_Araos)