Landon Donovan took a big step toward a record-tying fourth World Cup appearance and Galaxy teammate Omar Gonzalez moved closer to his first when both were included Monday in the 30-man provisional squad U.S. Coach Juergen Klinsmann called into this week’s training camp at Stanford University.
The team will begin gathering Wednesday for three weeks of practice and two exhibition games before the June 2 deadline for paring the team to the World Cup limit of 23 players.
“The good thing about the next three weeks is that we can see them every day,” Klinsmann said of the players. “We can see them compete with each other day in, day out. We get a feel for the chemistry, which is very important. That spirit of the team, the way they help each other and the way they kind of bond with each other.
“And it’s a daily competition. It’s an awesome competition to be in because it’s about going to a World Cup.”
But there would appear to be few spots left to be won in that competition. The three goalkeepers called in appear to be locks for Brazil as are at least seven of the 11 defenders. In the midfield, six of the 10 invitees look safe, and four of the six forwards also seem to have spots sewn up. That could leave 10 players fighting for as few as three spots on the final roster.
Perhaps the most glaring omission from the training camp roster is D.C. United forward Eddie Johnson, a 2006 World Cup participant who played 17 games for the U.S. last year but hasn’t scored for his club this season. Klinsmann says his decision to leave Johnson off the roster was influenced by his preference for using Donovan as a forward rather than in the midfield, where he has also played.
One surprise among the invitees is Nuremberg defender Timothy Chandler, who has been sidelined because of a knee injury and has played only two games for the U.S. since 2011.
“He’s fully fit again,” Klinsmann said of Chandler. “I had him scouted many many times, also in training. And I think he’s a player that makes a difference if he’s on his highest level.
“He has the experience to play against very very good and strong players. That’s why he earned his way back into the group.”
Also coming back from a knee injury is Gonzalez, who sat out the Galaxy’s tie in Portland on Sunday.
“We are not concerned at all about Omar’s situation,” Klinsmann said. “It’s a very short period of time that he can’t go. By the end of the week, he actually should be at 100%.”
The roster released Monday also marks a big step forward for Major League Soccer, which will send 15 players to camp. The U.S. team that went to the World Cup in South Africa four years ago had only four active MLS players.
U.S. provisional roster:
Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake).
Defenders: DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Nuremberg), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Omar Gonzalez (Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Monchengladbach), Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders).
Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Maurice Edu (Philadelphia Union), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Jermaine Jones (Besiktas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City).
Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Landon Donovan (Galaxy), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes).