Four goalkeepers for two U.S. matches? What gives?

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There weren’t many surprises as Jurgen Klinsmann announced his roster for two World Cup qualifiers against Jamaica. Clint Dempsey’s inclusion did answer a question about Klinsmann’s useful flexibility in these matters. Jose Torres being named was a mild surprise considering his mild performances, but we already chatted about that one.

(MORE: Jose Torres may be running out of chances for the United States)

The one choice that had some of us scratching our heads was Klinsmann’s decision to bring four goalkeepers.

But the U.S. manager quickly explained that one away. It’s really about more flexibility, about working with Major League Soccer clubs. (Clubs that should not be playing over FIFA fixture dates – but that’s an MLS scheduling problem that perennially falls under “hot topic” status.”)

Real Salt Lake plays tonight in Houston. Clearly, manager Jason Kreis wants his top man in goal for that one, and that’s Nick Rimando. Clubs are required to release players for FIFA fixture days. But since Rimando was going in as second or third goalkeeper, RSL requested that Rimando remain Stateside initially.

So, young Chicago ‘keeper Sean Johnson will be the emergency man down in Kingston. Then Rimando will join the team for next week’s match in Columbus.

As for a larger squad – sizeable for such a brief set of matches – Klinsmann explained that one, too.

We want to keep a little bit of a bigger roster because we want to continue our work with the players. Every time we get the chance over 10 days, we can really gather a lot of information about the guys and where they are at, so we want to take advantage of that as well.”