United States men’s national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann dropped his long-awaited roster for the two final World Cup qualifiers at home against Jamaica on Oct. 11 and away to Panama Oct. 15 on Sunday afternoon. The games are more or less meaningless, since the USA secured qualification with a 2-0 home win against Mexico on Sept. 10.
Which is just as well, because this roster is more notable for the names not on it, or those that barely made it on there, than those players who are fit and playing regularly.
Clint Dempsey continues to battle a persistent hamstring injury that has kept him from getting into a regular rhythm since joining the Seattle Sounders this summer. Michael Bradley still hasn’t recovered from the ankle sprain he suffered in pregame warmups before the loss to Costa Rica on Sept. 6.
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That means the U.S.’s two most important players, the men dictating the pace and rhythm, are absent.
Overall, the goalkeepers constitute the only line that’s complete, with Brad Guzan, Tim Howard and Nick Rimando all fit and thriving for their clubs. In defense, however, Steve Cherundolo still isn’t over his surgery, Timmy Chandler either remains in the doghouse for refusing call-ups or is still refusing them, and sometime-back Fabian Johnson isn’t 100 percent either and wasn’t called in.
In midfield, the aforementioned Johnson isn’t available on the left. Fellow winger Alejandro Bedoya did make the squad, but missed his last FC Nantes game because of sickness, so his status is questionable. Also unclear is the situation surrounding Jermaine Jones, who may or may not need meniscus surgery and was suspended for his club Schalke recently.
Up front, the group is in pretty decent shape. But Landon Donovan has also had fitness concerns of late. Herculez Gomez, recently back from a niggling knee injury, is back playing for Xolos in Mexico but didn’t get called in – Terrence Boyd got the call instead.
It is, in short, a roster littered with question marks.