Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey not on U.S. team for Sarajevo friendly
Landon Donovon of the Galaxy and Clint Dempsey, the latest addition to Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders, were left off a European-heavy U.S. team roster for Wednesday’s friendly with Bosnia-Herzegovina in Sarajevo.
The U.S. will be putting a national-record 11-match winning streak on the line in the exhibition against Bosnia-Herzegovina, which was ranked 13th in the world in the latest FIFA rankings. The U.S. is 19th, its highest ranking in nearly three years.
Seattle’s Eddie Johnson was the only MLS player chosen for the game, with the 23 players called up Monday playing with teams in 10 countries; seven are coming from England and five from Germany.
“For the most part, we wanted to leave the MLS players behind because it’s a long way to go for a midweek game in the heart of the season. And many of them were with us a lot during the summer,” Coach Juergen Klinsmann said. “This gives us a chance to look at some different players as well.”
One of the different players Klinsmann will get a look at is forward Aron Johannsson, a dual citizen of the U.S. and Iceland who is playing in the Netherlands with AZ Alkmaar.
“We are very excited to have Aron with us,” Klinsmann said of Johannsson, who will be in U.S. national team camp for the first time. “It’s a similar conversation that we have with all our dual-citizenship players. They have to make up their mind. We can only hope they go toward the United States.
“Aron has made that big, big step, which is huge for us because he’s one of the up-and-coming promising strikers in Europe.”
Johannsson has applied to FIFA for a change of association after representing Iceland at the U-21 level.
Other players called up include forward Jozy Altidore, who made the jump this year from the Netherlands to Sunderland of the English Premier League. Altidore scored in his last four games with the U.S. this summer, and if he adds another goal Wednesday, he would become the first player in national team history to score in five consecutive games.
Also, on Monday, Klinsmann spoke for the first time publicly about Dempsey’s jump from Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League to MLS. A former star striker in four European leagues as well as with the German national team, Klinsmann is a strong proponent of players testing themselves against top European talent, especially in the run-up to next summer’s World Cup.
“Having Clint back in the United States and joining MLS is big, and I think everyone in the U.S. is excited. I am thrilled for MLS because you have an outstanding player now hopefully filling more stadiums and getting even more kids and people excited about the game,” Klinsmann said. “For Clint it’s a challenge, coming from one of the top leagues in the world, coming back to the U.S. and being back in MLS where we still have to work on a lot of things.
“Clint himself has set the highest benchmark for himself over the last year. He became our captain and he has to keep the benchmark, and he knows that. He’s got to go for the next level.”
Wednesday’s match, the only tune-up before the U.S. returns to World Cup qualifying in Costa Rica next month, is to be broadcast on ESPN2 and UniMas at 11:30 a.m.
Goalkeepers: Cody Cropper (Southampton), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton)
Defenders: John Anthony Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Michael Orozco Fiscal (Puebla), Michael Parkhurst (Augsburg), Tim Ream (Bolton Wanderers)
Midfielders: Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Roma), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Schalke), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Danny Williams (Reading)
Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Bobby Wood (1860 Munich)
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