The U.S. heads into the final round of World Cup qualifying this week with a 26-man roster featuring a mix of youth and experience.
The team Coach Juergen Klinsmann chose Sunday includes 15 players who have been part of a World Cup roster -- among them goalkeeper Tim Howard, who has been on three World Cup teams, and midfielder Michael Bradley, forward Jozy Altidore and goalkeeper Brad Guzan, who have gone to two.
But it also includes teenagers Cameron Carter-Vickers, who is being called up for the first time, and Christian Pulisic, along with forward Aron Johannsson, who is returning to the national team after a 14-month absence. They are among the 14 players who have appeared in five or fewer World Cup qualifiers.
Midfielder Jermaine Jones of the Colorado Rapids was also chosen despite a knee injury that has limited him to one start in the last four months, as was former Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez, who has played well since moving to Pachuca of the Mexican league.
The players began reporting to training camp Sunday in Columbus, Ohio, ahead of Friday’s game with Mexico. The team will then travel to Costa Rica for its second game Nov. 15.
“It’s really exciting. Mexico for us is like Germany-Holland. It’s a big, big game,” Klinsmann said. “The whole aura around Columbus is that it’s such a special place. It’s a home-field advantage.
“It’s just a feeling that there’s a lot of confidence whenever we play there.”
The top three teams in the six-team, 10-game “hexagonal” round of qualifying automatically advance to the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The U.S. has finished atop the table in the last three qualifying tournaments.
Among the notable absences from the U.S. team are forwards Clint Dempsey and Chris Wondolowski, midfielder Kyle Beckerman and center back Geoff Cameron. Dempsey, the U.S.’s leading active scorer, has been sidelined since August with an irregular heartbeat while Cameron went down last week with a hyperextended knee.
Wondolowski and Beckerman were both on Klinsmann’s original roster before being withdrawn because of injury.
Klinsmann will have to trim his roster to 23 players before Friday’s game.
The roster (with club teams in parentheses):
Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Middlesbrough), Ethan Horvath (Molde), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), William Yarbrough (Leon)
Defenders: Matt Besler (Sporting KC), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Michael Orozco (Tijuana), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United)
Midfielders: Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Lynden Gooch (Sunderland), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Jermaine Jones (Colorado Rapids), Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Caleb Stanko (FC Vaduz), Graham Zusi (Sporting KC)
Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Aron Johannsson (Werder Bremen), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Bobby Wood (Hamburg)
Special correspondent Erik Kirschbaum contributed to this story.