United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has released the 30-man preliminary training camp roster for this summer’s World Cup in Brazil. Some surprising names in USA soccer were missing from the list. The biggest name not invited to training camp was DC United star Eddie Johnson.
Johnson appeared in two games for the USA during the 2006 tournament in Germany, which may end up being the 30-year old’s only World Cup games. The striker missed the final roster cut for the 2010 World Cup and has now seen his chances to play in Brazil this summer taken away from him.
Johnson returned to the MLS in 2012 after playing for Fulham of the English Premier League. Johnson was an immediate star for the Seattle Sounders leading the team in goals his first season. During an 2013 CONCACAF Champions League game, Johnson scored the winning goal in a knockout game, making the Sounders the first MLS team to ever eliminate a Mexican team from the tournament.
Eddie Johnson had a career year with the USMNT in 2013 and continued his success in Seattle. However, Johnson has since found himself struggling after leaving the Sounders and joining DC United. The striker continued the downturn in his game, playing only 30 minutes against Mexico in the April friendly. That was enough for Klinsmann to not include him on the 30-man roster.
Johnson was not the only player who was left off the USMNT roster, which will still need to be trimmed to 23 names in the next few weeks. Herculez Gomez, Danny Williams, and Juan Agudelo were among some of the other surprise names not to make the roster. With the United States facing the Group of Death to start off the World Cup, Klinsmann has found himself forced to make hard decisions to put together the best possible squad in hopes of getting past Germany, Portugal and Ghana.
While there were some shocking names left off of the roster, there are still quite a few top names to receive an invite, including forwards Landon Donovan, Chris Wondolowski, and Clint Dempsey. Those three will be leading the group of six forwards Klinsmann is still looking at. At the midfield position, Klinnsman will pick from a group of 10 players led by Kyle Beckerman and Michael Bradley. 18-year old newcomer Julian Green will also get a shot to make the final roster and go to his first World Cup.
Despite a recent injury scare, DaMarcus Beasley made the cut. Along with Brad Evans, Beasley will lead a group of 11 defenders trying for a spot on the final team. Veteran goalkeepers Tim Howard, Brad Guzan and Nick Rimando will tend the net during training camp. There is a good chance that all three goalkeepers could be visiting Brazil this summer.
Eddie Johnson seemed disappointed missing the 30-man roster. However, the striker turned to Twitter to show support for those that did receive an invite to try for the USMNT World Cup roster. Now the work for Klinsmann to cut the roster down to 23 begins. The final roster will need to be submitted by June 2. Before the final team is set, the US will play in two friendly matches against Azerbaijan and Turkey. That will be the final two chances for Klinsmann to decide on the team that will represent the United States in Brazil this summer.
Commentary by Carl Auer