U.S. men’s national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has called 24 players into training camp to prepare for the final two matches in the semifinal round of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup against Antigua & Barbuda and Guatemala.
The roster is highlighted by the returns of Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley, both of whom missed last month's two qualifiers due to injury. Eddie Johnson, who returned to MLS with the Seattle Sounders after an unsuccessful stint in Europe, will join the national team for the first time in two years.
Among the snubs are Jozy Altidore and Jose Torres.
The U.S. first faces the Benna Boyz on Oct. 12 in North Sound, Antigua. Four days later, the U.S. will close out the semis at sold-out LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. The squad begins reporting to Miami on Monday and departs for Antigua three days later.
“The mentality we are bringing into these two games is to get six points,” said Klinsmann. “It’s important that the players arriving into Miami prepare themselves for two ‘finals.’ We must have urgency within the group and a clear understanding that we need to deliver, which means each player has to bring a 100-percent effort. All our focus and energy for the next few days will be on getting the right preparation for the team so we can win the next two games.”
The U.S. is currently even with Guatemala at the top of Group A with seven points and matching totals in both goal differential and goals scored. Jamaica also has seven points but sits in third place due to a lower goal differential. With the three nations tied on points and jockeying for the top two spots, no team will be able to secure a place in the final round until the last group matches are played on Oct. 16.
World Cup qualifying roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (8): Carlos Bocanegra (Racing Santander), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Maurice Edu (Stoke City), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Michael Parkhurst (Nordsjaelland)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Roma), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (5):Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Herculez Gomez (Santos), Alan Gordon (San Jose Earthquakes), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders)