Neil W. Blackmon
As expected, the United States will field a European-based side as it puts it’s federation record winning streak on the line against a solid, in-form Bosnia and Herzegovina side Wednesday afternoon in Sarajevo. Bosnia and Herzegovina will play with a nearly full compliment of players, including Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko, Stoke City goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, and formidable midfielders Miralem Pjanic of AS Roma and Senad Lulic of Lazio among others.
Here’s the 23 players Klinsmann has selected for the match, with some short corners to follow.
GOALKEEPERS: Tim Howard (Everton), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Cody Cropper (Southampton)
DEFENDERS: John Anthony Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Tim Ream (Bolton Wanderers), Michael Orozco-Fiscal (Puebla, Mexico), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Michael Parkhurst (FC Augsburg), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana, Mexico)
MIDFIELDERS: Michael Bradley (AS Roma), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes, France), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg, Norway), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht, Belgium), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Schalke), Danny Williams (Reading), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana, Mexico)
FORWARDS: Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders), Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar, Holland), Bobby Wood (1860 Munich)
— Big time call-ups for the following: Edgar Castill0, Michael Orozco-Fiscal, Michael Parkhurst, Alejandro Bedoya, Mix Diskerud, Joe Corona. Notice a theme there? You should. These are six guys that had a great deal to do with the US capturing the continental championship for the first time in six years this summer. Beating up on CONCACAF teams, save perhaps Costa Rica, Honduras and Panama, is one thing. Playing against an elite European roster against a team that is cruising in UEFA qualifying, and doing it in their building– that’s another. Big time step up in competition and Klinsmann will be grading on a “if you want in my Brazil team, show me something” curve.
— John Anthony Brooks scored this weekend in his Hertha Berlin debut, prompting even more hype around the German born American military kid. This came only 24 hours after Brooks turned down a call-up by the German U-21 team. He appears to want to play for the United States. Tomorrow night he gets a chance to start living up to the hype, and he gets it against one of the better striker pairings in European football in Dzeko and Stuttgart’s Vedad Ibisevic.
— I think it is safe to assume Brooks is being called in to play, not just put a US shirt on and sit on the bench. You don’t call in a talented young buck nine months before you choose your World Cup team and sit him against one of the best teams you’ll play in the build-up. You just don’t. Who will play with him? Hard to imagine it is Tim Ream- but if it is, that cements Geoff Cameron’s “jack of all trades” role on this side, no?
— Mix or Sacha? Sacha or Mix? Edu and Danny Williams, who of course is here because he’s not injured and has a pulse, used to be the most interesting Brazil battle. Now it is Kljestan and Diskerud. Kljestan’s advantage- better club, better competition- can be chipped away at by Diskerud but he must show something against a good side.
— Terrence Boyd should get an extended run out against Bosnia and Herzegovina’s brutish, somewhat slow, less technical center halves. Bosnia and Herzegovina are tough defensively, but more in the “man, they’re grity and physical” way than in the “man, they are impeccably positioned and technically sound way.” Good testing ground for Jozy’s deputy, but will he play with the young Johannsson also in the fold?
— Joe C0rona “made plays” in the young Clint Dempsey “tries #!@$” mold at the Gold Cup. With no Donovan and Dempsey here- this is a good chance for Corona to establish himself as a legitimate playmaking option off the bench. If he shows well, it will be hard for Klinsmann to leave him off future rosters, if for no other reason than he offers so much technically.
— Eric Lichaj? Paging Eric Lichaj? Sorry, but the Tim Ream call up makes you think Lichaj, who is a starter for Nottingham and has showed well to start the year, did something horrible to Jurgen Klinsmann or his family. It is getting ridiculous that he can’t get a look, even on a heavy-Euro US side.
As always, thoughts and comments encouraged.