Initial thoughts on the U.S. national team roster

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Clint Dempsey got the call, never mind the presumed lack of match fitness, as U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann named a 25-man roster for two upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

Klinsmann and Co. travel to Jamaica this week for the first of two matches against the Reggae Boyz. First up is a Friday contest in Kingston, followed by a match four nights later – on Sept. 11 – in Columbus.

The roster, as announced just minutes ago:

GOALKEEPERS (4) : Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

DEFENDERS (9) : Carlos Bocanegra (Racing Santander), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Maurice Edu (Stoke City), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Michael Orozco Fiscal (San Luis), Michael Parkhurst (Nordsjaelland), Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City)

MIDFIELDERS (8) : Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Jose Torres (Pachuca), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

FORWARDS (4 ): Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur), Herculez Gomez (Santos)

The team begins gathering Monday in Miami, then leaves for Kingston on Wednesday:

Talking points on this one:

  • Landon Donovan, still nursing a hamstring injury, was not among the selections. While a spot on this roster seemed in doubt – because he hasn’t played in a match since the Aug. 15 win over Mexico – there might have been some hope that he could recover sufficiently to participate. Not so, however, with Michael Bradley, who had been previously ruled out due to an injury collected during the week while training with Roma.
  • Bolton center back Tim Ream was not among the 24-man roster; Bolton had released information previously indicating that Ream had been summoned to the U.S. team.
  • Clint Dempsey is among the 25 names, which might be something of a surprise. Not because he’s not a quality talent; clearly, he is. But Dempsey’s last competitive match was in June. So, there’s no chance that he’s sufficiently match-fit for a start.
  • Dempsey is also one of four U.S. players named Sunday who have changed clubs since the U.S. win last month over Mexico. Carlos Bocanegra (formerly of Rangers, now with Racing Santander), Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo, now with Stoke City), Dempsey (Fulham, now with Tottenham Hotspur) and Maurice Edu (Rangers, now with Stoke City).
  • Still no call-up love for Sacha Kljestan, who just helped guide his Belgian club Anderlecht into a Champions League group stage berth. Nor was there a call for Chris Pontius, the D.C. United attacker who seems perennially on the cusp.
  • Klinsmann named four goalkeepers, which seems like a lot for two games.
  • Molde midfielder Joshua Gatt was named Sunday, but removed almost immediately after officials from his Norwegian club informed U.S. officials of a hamstring injury collected in a match Sunday.
  • Klinsmann is addressing the media in an afternoon conference call. So, check back for thoughts, whys and wherefores from the U.S. manager.

(MORE: Klinsmann open to all possibilities with Clint Dempsey)