U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann announced his 22-man roster for upcoming friendlies against France (Nov. 11) and Slovenia (Nov 15), and the group includes one new player, 21-year-old midfielder-defender Alfredo Morales (above, left) of Hertha Berlin.
Born in Berlin, Morales is eligible to play for Peru, the U.S., or Germany, and, according to Soccer America, his father cited next summer’s Olympics as a primary reason for his son’s decision to throw in with the Yanks.
“Neither Germany nor Peru qualified for the Olympics,” the elder Morales told El Comerico. “Alfredo told me, ‘Dad, I want to go to these Olympics.’ ”
Also called in was German-born midfielder Fabian Johnson of Hoffenheim, who was invited to a U.S. camp in August, but couldn’t participate because FIFA hadn’t yet cleared his switch of allegiance to the U.S. Johnson started for Germany in the final of the U-21 European Championship in 2009.
Here’s the entire roster:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Bill Hamid (D.C.United), Tim Howard (Everton).
DEFENDERS (7): Carlos Bocanegra (Rangers), Timmy Chandler (Nuremberg), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Alfredo Morales (Hertha Berlin), Michael Orozco Fiscal (San Luis), Oguchi Onyewu (Sporting Lisbon).
MIDFIELDERS (9): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Chievo Verona), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim).
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (AZ), DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Edson Buddle (Ingolstadt), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy).
Michael Orozco Fiscal, who has failed to impress each time Klinsmann has called him in, is easily the most puzzling choice in the group.
But the selection of Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley as forwards is also interesting. Not only will they both be 32 by the time Brazil 2014 rolls around, but they’re also both midfielders, primarily—especially Beasley—and there are other pure strikers who were overlooked, such as Teal Bunbury, Juan Agudelo, and Herculez Gomez.
Klinsmann addressed the omissions of Bunbury and Agudelo on the US Soccer website:
“Both right now are in a challenging position with the full team because of players ahead of them. Our thought is that if they are not in the starting lineup for us, this is a great opportunity to get an introduction with the Under-23 team and to play two full games. It’s better for them than sitting on the bench, and they experience another development path by playing with the U-23s. It’s a good message to Juan and Teal that this is your age group, and they can now be challenged in different ways. In the senior team they measure themselves against the best as they fight against established older players. With the U-23 team they are challenged in a different way by being two of the more experienced players in that group, and having a chance to continue to grow and mature.”
The U.S. U-23 team, coached by the University of Akron’s Caleb Porter, will have a camp in Duisburg, Germany, beginning on Nov 7.
Porter announced today that he was adding Agudelo, and Philadelphia Union players Jack McInerney, Amobi Okugo and Sheanon Williams to the 31-man roster he named on Tuesday. Bunbury’s Sporting Kansas City hosts the Houston Dynamo on Nov 6 in the MLS Eastern Conference title game.