Michael Bradley (#4) has appeared in 29 World Cup qualifiers for the USA. (Photo: Victor Straffon/Straffon Images)
CHICAGO – United States head coach Jurgen Klinsmann announced Sunday a 26-man squad for a training camp in advance of the opening matches in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The Americans will kick off their Hexagonal schedule against visiting Mexico on November 11 in Columbus, Ohio, before facing host Costa Rica four days later.
“Obviously the Mexico clash is a six-pointer to start the Hexagonal right away,” said Klinsmann. “We badly want to continue the tradition of beating them in Columbus.”
The U.S. has welcomed Mexico to Columbus in the previous four Hexagonals, winning each encounter by the same 2-0 score.
Midfielder Michael Bradley highlights a roster that includes 20 players with World Cup Qualifying experience. The 29-year-old has earned 124 caps and helped Toronto FC reach the MLS Cup Eastern Conference final with a 5-0 win over New York City FC, also on Sunday.
Others meriting selection are New York Red Bulls midfielder Sacha Kljestan, the MLS leader with 20 assists; forward Jordan Morris, a scorer of 12 goals in his rookie MLS campaign with the Seattle Sounders; and 18-yeard-old midfielder Christian Pulisic, who has made four appearances in this season’s UEFA Champions League for Borussia Dortmund.
Another 18-year-old, Tottenham Hotspur defender Cameron Carter-Vickers, will be looking to make his senior debut.
“Having 26 players coming in gives us many different options for both games,” Klinsmann remarked. “It allows us to evaluate certain players, like a Jermaine Jones, to see how far he has come along fitness wise. Bringing in the likes of Cameron Carter-Vickers, Lynden Gooch and Caleb Stanko proves that the younger players are pushing through.”
The U.S. has never lost a World Cup qualifier at Columbus’ MAPFRE Stadium, posting a 7W-2D-0L record.
GOALKEEPERS: Brad Guzan (Middlesbrough/England), Ethan Horvath (Molde/Norway), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), William Yarbrough (Leon/Mexico)
DEFENDERS: Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin/Germany), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt/Germany), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/Mexico), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Moenchengladbach/Germany), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana/Mexico), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United/England)
MIDFIELDERS: Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/Canada), Lynden Gooch (Sunderland/England), Julian Green (Bayern Munich/Germany), Jermaine Jones (Colorado Rapids), Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Caleb Stanko (FC Vaduz/Liechtenstein), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS: Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC/Canada), Aron Johannsson (Werder Bremen/Germany), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Bobby Wood (Hamburg/Germany)