United States men’s head coach Jurgen Klinsmann called in 23 players on Thursday for a pair of World Cup qualifiers next month against Costa Rica and Mexico.
CHICAGO – United States men’s head coach Jurgen Klinsmann called in 23 players on Thursday for a pair of World Cup qualifiers next month against Costa Rica and Mexico.
Highlighting the roster is the return of Landon Donovan, the Golden Ball winner at July’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, which the U.S won for a fifth time by defeating Panama 1-0 in the final. The LA Galaxy star, who is the national team’s all-time leading scorer with 56 goals, has not played in a qualifier since the Americans drew 1-1 at Guatemala on June 12, 2012, a span of 10 games.
Squad members are expected to start gathering in Miami on Sunday, before the team departs for Costa Rica on September 3, three days before its top-of-the-table clash with the Ticos.
The U.S. leads the Hexagonal standings with 13 points after six games (two more than Costa Rica), but has never won a World Cup qualifier at the current Central American champion.
“The Costa Rica game in San Jose is the biggest game in 2013 for all of us because we want to win there,” said Klinsmann. “We want to qualify as soon as possible for the World Cup in Brazil. We want to get the first ever three points in World Cup qualifying in Costa Rica.”
Clint Dempsey is set to earn his 100th cap against Costa Rica in his first game for the U.S. since transferring from Tottenham Hotspur to the Seattle Sounders. The 30-year-old’s seven goals in this qualifying cycle is a team high and he is the only American to appear in all 12 matches in the competition.
The U.S. has won a team-record 12 consecutive matches, a streak that began June 2 with a 4-3 victory against Germany in a friendly.
Following the match against Costa Rica, Klinsmann’s team returns to the United States, where it will face rival Mexico on September 10 in Columbus, Ohio.
“The mindset is clearly, first things first, meaning Costa Rica,” Klinsmann commented. “We want three points in Costa Rica. That is all that matters. So those 5-6 days leading into the game at San Jose will mean a lot to us, and I don’t want anyone spending any time or energy thinking about Mexico.”
UNITED STATES ROSTER
(World Cup Qualifying – September 6, 2013 away v Costa Rica; September 10, 2013, home v Mexico)
GOALKEEPERS: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa/England), Tim Howard (Everton/England), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS: DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla/Mexico), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City) John Brooks (Hertha Berlin/Germany), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/England), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana/Mexico), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Michael Orozco Fiscal (Puebla/Mexico)
MIDFIELDERS: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes/France), Michael Bradley (Roma/Italy), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg/Norway), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim/Germany), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04/Germany), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS: Jozy Altidore (Sunderland/England), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar/Holland), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders)