Klinsmann calls 21 Players to face Italy on Feb 29th

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CHICAGO (Feb. 23, 2012) ? U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has named a squad of 21 players to prepare for the match against four-time World Cup champion Italy on Feb. 29 in Genoa. Kickoff for the teams’ first meeting on Italian soil since 2002 is set for 8:45 p.m. local time (2:45 p.m. ET), and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2, ESPN3 and Galavision.

The match takes place on the first FIFA international fixture date of 2012, which allowed Klinsmann to select all available players.

U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION

GOALKEEPERS (3) : Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

DEFENDERS (7) : Carlos Bocanegra (Rangers), Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo), Timmy Chandler (Nurnberg), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Michael Parkhurst (FC Nordsjaelland), Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City)

MIDFIELDERS (6) : Michael Bradley (Chievo Verona), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Jose Torres (Pachuca), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim)

FORWARDS (5) : Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Terrence Boyd (Borussia Dortmund), Edson Buddle (LA Galaxy), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy)

“We’re looking forward to having all the European-based players back in the roster and picking up where we left off with them from the Slovenia game,” said Klinsmann, who is on a three-match winning streak dating back to the 3-2 victory on Nov. 15, 2011, against Slovenia. “I’m excited about getting everybody together and challenging a world-class team like former World Cup winner Italy on their home soil. I think we have put a very competitive roster together. This roster was co-developed with the U-23 team because we wanted them to have a great preparation game before they go into Olympic qualifying in March. Our roster is highly competitive and ready to give them a real fight.”

Roster Notes:

- A total of 13 players return from the group that defeated Slovenia 3-2 in Ljubljana, including all three goalscorers: Edson Buddle, Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore.

- The goal was Dempsey’s 24th career strike, tying him for fourth all-time in goals scored for the United States along with Joe-Max Moore. The 2011 U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year is having a record-setting season at Fulham; his 16 goals in all competitions include two hat tricks.

- In the Slovenia match, U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra earned his 100th career cap.

- Michael Bradley is the lone U.S. international playing in Italy, becoming a fixture in the lineup for Chievo in Serie A since moving there this summer. Bradley has started 22 straight league matches and was named Man of the Match in the 1-0 win against Genoa last weekend.

- Jose Torres returns to the U.S. fold after recovering from a foot injury he suffered last September.

- Brad Guzan makes his debut in a camp under Klinsmann, the goalkeeper last appearing for the United States in the 1-0 win against South Africa on Nov. 17, 2010, in the Nelson Mandela Challenge.

- Altidore, Steve Cherundolo and Jermaine Jones remain involved in Europa League action, as AZ Alkmaar, Hannover and Schalke 04 all have reached the Round of 32.

- Terrence Boyd is the only player on the roster who will seek to earn his first cap. The Borussia Dortmund-based striker has been a regular part of the U.S. U-23 Men’s National Team. Boyd originally was named to the U-23 roster heading into the team’s Feb. 29 match against Mexico in Frisco, Texas, but he had not joined the team yet.

- Nine leagues in eight different countries are represented on the roster.

The U.S. has collected three consecutive victories, including a pair of shutout wins against Venezuela and Panama to open the 2012 campaign. In addition to providing a series of activities designed to develop individual player pathways, Klinsmann has given 41 players at least one cap through his nine games as head coach.

The team has lined up a series of friendlies for this summer in preparation for the start of World Cup qualifying. The U.S. Men’s National Team returns to Jacksonville for the start of its critical summer campaign when it faces Scotland on May 26 at EverBank Field. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. ET, and the match will be shown live on the NBC Sports Network in the channel’s debut broadcast of a U.S. National Team game, as well as the Univision family of networks. Fans can follow the match live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and via Twitter @ussoccer. Tickets for both games go on sale to the public starting Thursday, March.

Following the match against Scotland, the U.S. continues its competition against the world’s top teams when it hosts five-time World Cup champion Brazil on Wednesday, May 30, in Landover, Md. Kickoff for the USA’s first ever match at FedExField is set for 8 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2, ESPN3 and Univision. Fans can also follow the match live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and Twitter @ussoccer. Tickets are on sale through ussoccer.com, through Ticketmaster Phone Charge at 800-745-3000 and at all Ticketmaster ticket centers throughout the Washington-Baltimore-Northern Virginia region.

For the last game before the start of World Cup qualifying, the United States will make a rare visit to Canada when it renews the rivalry June 3 at BMO Field in Toronto. Kickoff for the USA’s first match on Canadian soil since 1997 is set for 7 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network. Fans can also follow the match live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and Twitter @ussoccer.

The United States will kick off the effort to qualify for its seventh-consecutive FIFA World Cup when it hosts Antigua & Barbuda on June 8 at Raymond James Stadium. The semifinal round opener begins at 7 p.m. ET live on ESPN, ESPN3 and the Univision family of networks. Tickets go on sale starting March 1. Along with these two teams, Group A is comprised of Guatemala and Jamaica. The top teams from each of three groups will advance to the final round of qualifying, which will take place in 2013. Three teams will automatically qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, while the fourth-place team will play in a two-leg playoff against the winner of the Oceania region.

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Chris Harmon

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The U.S. Men’s National Team faces four-time World Cup champion Italy on Feb. 29 in Genoa, and U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is eager for the opportunity.

“We’re looking forward to having all the European-based players back in the roster and picking up where we left off with them from the Slovenia game,” Klinsmann said. “I’m excited about getting everybody together and challenging a world-class team like former World Cup winner Italy on their home soil. I think we have put a very competitive roster together. This roster was co-developed with the U-23 team because we wanted them to have a great preparation game before they go into Olympic Qualifying in March. Our roster is highly competitive and ready to give Italy a real fight.”

On the importance of playing against the top teams in the world:
“It’s very important that we get these games, and in particular playing them on the road. That’s when you really get players out of their comfort zone, and they have to deal with a difficult environment on a physical and psychological level. Italy is a very smart and experienced team, and there is a lot to take away from an experience like this.”

On the competition on the roster:
It’s a highly competitive midfield, no doubt about it. Now we have two center backs coming into the picture in Geoff Cameron and Michael Parkhurst who want to challenge the established guys. Obviously losing Gooch (Oguchi Onyewu) was a bummer, but we expect that he’ll be back and ready to go this summer and we have Clarence Goodson step in who has done very well at Brondby.”

On some of the things he is looking forward to about this camp:
“It’s going to be a special game for Michael Bradley. It speaks well for him that he has already established himself as a consistent starter in a difficult league. I’m excited about how well Clint Dempsey is doing, and hopefully he can continue to score goals. I’m curious to see Jozy Altidore and Edson Buddle. Obviously seeing Jozy lose his starting spot worries us, and Edson is now back in MLS after leaving the Second Bundesliga, so there are a lot of interesting things to observe as we go into camp for these few days.”

On the inclusion of midfielder Jose Torres and goalkeeper Brad Guzan:
“We’re happy to have Jose back. He’s a very creative player, very calm on the ball, and a great passer. He brings a different dimension in the midfield. This was a good opportunity to show Brad that the door is always open and to get him back around the team again. It’s still important that he gets in a situation where he is playing consistently.”

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ctt8410

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Torres, Chandler, Jones, and Onyewu out with injury. Donovan out with illness.

On the other hand, Altidore scored twice yesterday and could make a fun pair with Dempsey in this one. I'd also be interested in seeing what Fabian Johnson and Brek Shea could do up the left side if they start together.
 

Novocaine

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Jozy seems to be a wasted talent to me, all the talent, no desire / drive. Or maybe he has way less talent than I think....
 

HuffyCane

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Shea isnt ready for Italy, but the possibility of him up on the left with Dempsey up top and Donovan creating seems like something interesting to try ...

Altidore needs to sit until he wants to be/can be more effective than just diagonal runs to clear a path for Dempsey to improvise.
 

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Altidore needs to play as many games as possible against high-level competition.
 

HuffyCane

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Agreed. But Id rather see him get that experience with his club.
This post was edited on 2/28 6:22 AM by HuffyCane
 

Novocaine

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Are we at an all time low currently with the # of players in "top tier" european leagues? Including Donovan, we're just at Dempsey, Guzan, Howard -- are there others in ESP or GER or ITA that i'm missing? Robbie Findley is at Forest, who are facing relegation to League One.
 

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I believe Bocanegra is with Rangers.

I've been waiting for the day an American would finally tear it up in the EPL, and Dempsey is that guy. First American to have a hat trick over there. I believe he has two hat tricks this season. Dempsey is tied at 8th for EPL goals this season.
 

Novocaine

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I would say that Brian McBride was still a better player in the EPL than Dempsey so far.
 

Chris Harmon

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I loved McBride, and he was steady. If you compare McBride and Dempsey in career games at Fulham, they are pretty even. McBride had six league goals in 2004-05, and 10 league goals in 2005-06. If I remember right, Fulham wasn't very good at that time.

If you count cup games, the most goals McBride had in a season at Fulham was 11. He had 33 goals in 140 appearances. He definitely made a splash though, scoring 4 times in only 8 appearances with Everton in 2003.

Dempsey has started every game for Fulham this season. He has 10 goals in 26 EPL games, 3 goals in 7 Europa games, and 3 goals in 2 FA Cup games. That's 16 goals already this season in just 35 appearances. He's also scored 5 times in 11 appearances for the US during this cycle.

In 154 career appearances for Fulham, he has 38 goals. But Dempsey is absolutely tearing it up this year. 16 goals in just 35 appearances. That's what I was waiting for by an American.

But don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of McBride.
 

Novocaine

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Good points -- all of them. I guess I still want to strangle dempsey for missing that wide open goal in the Gold Cup match last summer in KC.
 

ctt8410

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Originally posted by Novocaine:
Are we at an all time low currently with the # of players in "top tier" european leagues? Including Donovan, we're just at Dempsey, Guzan, Howard -- are there others in ESP or GER or ITA that i'm missing? Robbie Findley is at Forest, who are facing relegation to League One.
Tim Ream played a full 90 for Bolton the other day against Chelsea. Zak Whitbread also played a full 90 and had an assist for Norwich City against ManU.
 

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Altidore, Jozy -- AZ Alkmaar (Netherlands)
Bocanegra, Carlos -- Rangers (Scotland)
Boyd, Terrence -- Borussia Dortmund (Germany)
Bradley, Michael -- Chievo Verona (Italy)
Cherundolo, Steve -- Hannover 96 (German Bundesliga)
Dempsey, Clint -- Fulham (England)
Edu, Maurice -- Rangers (Scotland)
Goodson, Clarence -- Brondby (Denmark)
Guzan, Brad -- Aston Villa (England)
Howard, Tim -- Everton (England)
Johnson, Fabian -- Hoffenheim (Germany)
Kljestan, Sacha -- Anderlecht (Belgian First Division)
Parkhurst, Michael -- FC Nordsjaelland (Denmark)
Spector, Jonathan -- Birmingham City (England)
Williams, Danny -- Hoffenheim (Germany)
 

HuffyCane

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Not counting Brad Friedel, here's somemore who have a cap or have camped or I've seen on senior team short lists in the last three years. Please forgive spelling or if they have moved clubs. I dont keep up with this stuff like I used to. I omitted the six or seven players in Mexico I could have named, including Torres, Gomez, Beasley, Corona, etc.

Bedoya, Aleandro, M-- Rangers (Scotland)
Cervi, Dom, G -- Celtic (Scotland)
Davies, Charlie, M -- Sochaux (France)
Diskerud, Mix, M -- Gent (Belgium)
Doyle, Conor, F -- Derby County (England - Championship)
Gatt, Josh, F -- Molde (Norway)
Gyau, Joe, F -- Hoffenheim (Germany)
Hannemann Marcus, G -- Everton (England)
Holden, Stuart, M -- Bolton (England)
Jeffrey, Jared, M -- Mainz (Germany)
Jones, Jermaine, M -- Schalke (Germany)
Lichaj, Eric,D -- Aston Villa (England)
Morales, Alfredo, D -- Berlin (Germany)
Robles, Luis, G -- Karlsruhr (Germany)
Rogers, Robbie, F - Leeds (England - Championship)
Simek, Frankie, D - Carlisle United (England, League One)
Yelldell, David G - Bayern Leverkusen (Germany)


This doesnt include U18 and U23 players that are making an impact for their clubs in Europe or considered good prospects, like Cody Cropper at Ipswich Town.

The argument that Klinsmann doesnt have any talent or that they arent in shape because they all play in the MLS is lame excuses. Time for the Kaiser to put up or shut up.
This post was edited on 2/28 3:02 PM by HuffyCane
 

Novocaine

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Follow @aotulsa for the local American Outlaws Chapter. Probably going to the midtown BWW tonight to watch the U-23 game on Univision.
 

HuffyCane

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Quick thoughts:

Shea isnt ready. Had trouble linking with midfield and struggled passing/crossing (with some notable exceptions).

Where in the heck is Stuart Holden going to play? The midfield is jammed with serviceable players.

Another couple of halves out of Spector like this game and the problem at left back is solved.

Much is being said and written about the improvement of Jozy. Fair, I guess. But much less is being said and written about him finally being paired with a legitimate scoring threat (Dempsey). Indeed, the goal was just as much a result of Jozy being willing to go to the middle of the field for the first time in awhile and draw three defenders and get the ball away (which is the minimum you expect from a #9 in Klinsman's system) but also confusion along the Italian backline about who was going to challenge Dempsey as he pushed himself into space waiting for the pass. Im sorry but that goal doesnt happen if that's Buddle, Gomez, Wondo, etc. Indeed, Jozy might not even get the pass off.

I'll reserve negative judgment on Klinsman since its a win. Michael Bradley is a professional, that's for sure. He found that higher gear we havent seen in awhile. Let's hope he stays at that level. Im not sure if it was the adrenaline of playing in the country where he lives and works or what, but it seems to me that Klinsman has motivated him. The Kaiser said a few months ago that he preferred Kyle Beckerman, which seemed insane at the time. You have to think he was making friends with the MLS soccercrats and motivating Michael Bradley. If so, it dang sure worked yesterday.

Klinsman has not improved the speed of play or the speed of the players, but there were definitely improved reaction times on the ball and no early goals scored while the players adjusted to the speed of the other team. That's an improvement he can take credit for.

Otherwise, this was Bunker Bob ball all over again, except with two differences: first, the team didnt go into a shell after the goal. The team as a whole continued to attack and individual players improvised with the ball or took chances that they wouldnt take under Bradley. Michael Bradley especially. He dribbled out of the penalty area twice late in the game and broke another player down 1 v 1 along the sideline in the 80th minute or so. That would never have happen if his dad was coaching. No human backpassed more than him when he played for his dad.

Terrance Boyd needs to grow up. But it was good to see him out there getting experience. His substitution is another Klinsman plus. American coaches never sub late to waste time. Klinsman did. Nice tactic.

Danny Williams is a nice back up defender. He is a disaster at midfield.

Me likely Fabian Johnson at times.

USA got lucky on some favorable calls.

Rossi. Call your mom and cry.

Dempsey. Word.
 

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Originally posted by HuffyCane:
Quick thoughts:

Rossi. Call your mom and cry.

Dempsey. Word.
Enjoy your thoughts, as usual, especially the last two. :)

Dempsey is on fire right now.

Do you think the speed of play issue is more due to limitations of the players, rather than Klinsmann making it happen? I heard Lalas say after the game that maybe the team is what it is, and they just need to play to those strengths. I was curious what you thought, Huffy.
 

HuffyCane

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I normally agree with Lalas more than the average soccer nerd on the webz. But I disagree with him here.

The team isnt just what it is. Klinsman's hippie zen crap about living the game and burning sage in the lockerroom, etc. has me skeptical, but his preaching about the need to be a pro all the time, all year around does make a difference. And we may be seeing those differences. Lalas says the team is what it is on the field. Klinsman says you are what you are off the field and then your play demonstrates that. If you want a coach to do the best that he can managing every positive and negative on the field, then you want Bob Bradley back. If you want a coach that gets his team ready, then turns them loose, then you want Klinsman. I remain skeptical of the Klinsman style because he is a believer in it, having seen the benefit of that philosphy as a player. But its easy to have that outlook playing for Germany and all the infrastructure advantages that Germany has over the USA in terms of training the best atheletes available to play football.

I think Klinsman was wrong to say that Americans arent in shape and have a low workrate. But that may have been just motivation for him, since that's the best quality of all the Americans playing abroad and has been for two decades. We will out work you on and off the field and we dont care how we look doing it. (Unless you are Brek Shea, Danny Califf, or Eric Wynalda). We are David Vanole putting a tiny American flag behind the line in goal and daring the Mexicans to knock it down in their native tongue on their own soil.

What Klinsman does bring, is a sense that Americans can be complete pros, even playing in America where the sense of urgency and elite level isnt as present as it is at clubs in Europe. He brings a sense that it is a players responsibility to increase their technical knowledge and physical conditioning at all times, regardless of their status with their club and country. Winning isnt enough. Getting to Europe isnt enough. Even Dempsey and Donovan must improve their American habits. That's an attitude we havent had since the first year of Bruce Arena, if at all.

Running faster, scoring more isnt enough. Improving the speed of play, Improving the understanding of the game and the ability to react to that speed when fatigued can be improved, regardless of the skills of the players. More importantly, learning the technical side of the game and having the mental conditioning to engage players offensively at an elite level late in the game can be improved.

I honestly think the USA showed some improvements in these areas during the Italy game. If it continues, I will become a believer. Im not sold yet, but I am willing to give credit when it is due and remain hopeful for continued success.