Mexico will bring its best for Wednesday’s friendly. The United States – not so much.
U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann selected a lesser experienced roster for Wednesday’s friendly against Mexico. The defense, for instance, has a grand total of 21 international appearances.
(MORE: Klinsmann’s Brek Shea “exception”)
Here’s the roster, followed by what it means:
GOALKEEPERS: Tim Howard (Everton), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS: Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Steven Beithasour (San Jose Earthquakes), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Michael Orozco Fiscal (San Luis), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim)
MIDFIELDERS: DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Jose Torres (Pachuca), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS: Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Herculez Gomez (Santos), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
- The opportunity factor is enormous for a few names. Start with Matt Besler, getting his first call into a Klinsmann camp. Since Geoff Cameron (pictured) and Michael Orozco Fiscal are the only other center backs on the trip, there’s a good chance all three will get playing time.
- Joe Corona, who was impressive in those under-23 Olympic qualifying matches, gets a chance with the “varsity.” Graham Zusi was in the January camp, but this is a much chance so much bigger.
- The man who can stand and deliver in the heat, altitude and smog and Azteca Stadium – truly, a dreadful cocktail for affecting performance – that man will surely rise in Klinsmann’s eyes.
- Not sure what DaMarcus Beasley, 30, adds to the program going forward, but here he is.
- This is a lifeline for Brek Shea, who is suffering a year of misery at FC Dallas, individually and with the club. His last two matches have brought signs of recovering whatever was lost. We’ll see.
- The names left off are as worthy of consideration as the ones taken. That list includes Clint Dempsey, Carlos Bocanegra, Steve Cherundolo and Michael Bradley and
- Dempsey’s club situation is chaos right now. On the one hand, it might do him some good to be with a team, in a more settled environment. On the other hand, he’s probably not fit. Bocanegra may be on the move, although he’s training and playing at Rangers. Bradley just moved to Roma and needs to establish himself.
- Given Shea’s modest production and Chris Pontius’ swell campaign at RFK Stadium, expect some teeth gnashing over the lack of inclusion for the D.C United man.
- Six players operate out of Mexico’s Liga MX: DaMarcus Beasley, Edgar Castillo, Corona, Herculez Gomez, Michael Orozco Fiscal and Jose Torres. The high number is surely about logistics, but also presumably about psychology, since this represents fabulous recognition for these names within the country of their current employment.
(MORE: The Geoff Cameron conundrum)
Klinsmann’s news teleconference is going on now, so I’ll be back later with more as Klinsmann’s fills us in on some of his thoughts while building this particular roster.