Although injuries omitted Michael Bradley, Fabian Johnson and Clint Dempsey, the national team coach has otherwise named a full-strength squad.The U.S. national team may have already clinched qualification to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, but coach Jurgen Klinsmann isn't holding back now.
U.S. Soccer on Sunday named the nearly full-strength 20-man roster Klinsmann will use for the Americans' final two qualifiers against Jamaica on Friday in Kansas City, Kan., and Oct. 15 at Panama. Although injuries have sidelined Michael Bradley (ankle), Fabian Johnson (ankle) and captain Clint Dempsey (hamstring), the squad does feature stalwarts such as Tim Howard, Omar Gonzalez, Jermaine Jones, Jozy Altidore and Landon Donovan.
The USA (5-2-1) clinched passage to Brazil following its 2-0 win over Mexico last month and wants to fully utilize the international fixture dates while building toward the World Cup.
"We want to finish qualifying on a high note and prove a point in our region," Klinsmann said in a team release. "We don't view these games as the end of World Cup qualifying. For us, it's the start of preparations for the World Cup, and therefore we have to continue to raise the bar. We have had such amazing support from our fans throughout the last two years, and we owe it to them to put our best foot forward."
The roster includes just three players who weren't a part of the U.S. squad assembled for last month's qualifiers: defender Brad Evans (an injury withdrawal), midfielder Sacha Kljestan and forward Terrence Boyd. Defenders Michael Orozco, Clarence Goodson and Michael Parkhurst and midfielders Joe Corona, Jose Torres and Brad Davis were members of the September roster left out this time around.
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (6): DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Jermaine Jones (Schalke), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC)