First a few updates:
• Turns out former German U-21 starter Fabian Johnson is ineligible to play in the upcoming U.S. friendlies (Costa Rica, Sept 2; Belgium, Sept 6). He needs to have his change-of-association bid appproved by FIFA before he can suit up for the Americans, even in a non-official match. Apparently, coach Jurgen Klinsmann knew about this and called Johnson in anyway, just so he could train with the U.S. team and get a feel for what it would be like to join the Yanks.
• According to Soccer by Ives, Klinsmann will name former Chivas USA coach (and Bayern Munich assistant) Martin Vasquez as his first assistant. The contract details are being worked out, and Vasquez, who played for both the U.S. and Mexican national teams, will continue as the interim first assistant until the terms are settled.
• Some injury concerns produced a little lineup reshuffling this week: Fulham midfielder Clint Dempsey will skip the Costa Rica game in California and join the team in Brussels for the Belgium match. He is battling back spasms. FC Dallas defender Zach Loyd and Chivas USA left back Heath Pearce have withdrawn from the U.S. camp with hamstring troubles, and have been replaced by Birmingham City defender/midfielder Jonathan Spector and D.C. United attacker Chris Pontius.
Pontius is healthy again after an injury-marred sophomore season with DC, and he has seven goals and two assists this year. His selection got us thinking about some other MLSers who are worth a national-team look. Drumroll please….
5. Dan Kennedy, GK, Chivas USA—The U.S. is probably more secure at goalkeeper than at any other position, but Kennedy should get a call-up simply as reward for the unbelievable season he’s having in 2011. He stands on his head on a weekly basis for the Goats. See here:
4. Todd Dunivant, LB, Los Angeles Galaxy—The U.S. has been looking for an adequate left back for what seems like eons. Why hasn’t Galaxy mainstay Dunivant been given another shot? His first cap went pretty well:
3. George John, CB, FC Dallas—Might be a good idea to lock him down before Greece does. He’s a big (6-3), agile central defender who is good on set pieces. And he’s only 24:
2. Brad Davis, LM, Houston Dynamo—He’s had looks with the USMNT before, but Davis, 29, is in the form of his life right now, leading MLS with 13 assists. His latest, and best, was Aug 20 versus Real Salt Lake (scroll to the 3:40 mark):
1. CJ Sapong, F, Sporting Kansas City—Could the U.S. use a big, extremely athletic target forward who can hold the ball up, get his teammates involved, and also has a nose for goal? Yes, please. Look at this kid:
Sapong has three goals and four assists in 19 starts for SKC this year.