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U.S. men

Dempsey, Donovan absent as foreign-based players dominate squad for Bosnia and Herzegovina game.

By Robert Wagman
SoccerTimes

(Tuesday, August 13, 2013) -- Twenty of the 22 players United States men’s coach Jürgen Klinsmann called in for Wednesday's friendly at Bosnia and Herzegovina are based with foreign teams.

The 2:30 p.m. (ET) match at Asim Ferhatovic Hase Stadium in Sarajevo will be televised by ESPN2 and Spanish-language UniMas.

Both teams hold first place in their groups in World Cup qualifying and face important qualifiers in September. The U.S. takes a program-record 11-match winning streak into the first official meeting between the nations. Bosnia is ranked No. 13 by world governing body FIFA; the Americans are No. 19, their highest rating since being ranked 18th in January 2011.

The Bosnians “are top-class players and that’s what we like to go against,” Klinsmann told the U.S. Soccer Federation web site. “We want to have the highest benchmark to always measure ourselves up against. We also want to see the new faces in our group and take that opportunity of getting a couple interesting answers on specific players.”

Noticeably absent for the Americans are star attackers Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan. Klinsmann also did not summon Major League Soccer-based defenders Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes) and Omar Gonzalez (Los Angeles Galaxy).

“For the most part, we wanted to leave the MLS players behind because it’s a long way to go for a mid-week game in the heart of the season and many of them were with us a lot during the summer” Klinsmann said. “This gives us a chance to look at some different players as well. At the same time, we still want a strong team so we have some guys from MLS and also from (Mexico’s) Liga MX.”

First time call-ups include John Anthony Brooks, a 20-year-old German-American defender who plays for Hertha Berlin of the German Bundesliga; Aron Johannsson, 22, a striker who developed through Iceland’s youth system; American striker Bobby Wood, a 20-year-old Honolulu native who plays for 1860 Munich in the Bundesligam and goalkeeper Cody Cropper, 20, a veteran of the U.S. under-20 men who will play this season for Southampton of the English Premier League.

“We just really want to give (the young players) the opportunity to adjust to the way we do things and understand this is how we work in the United States team -- this is our routine, this is our daily schedule, our intensity in training, how we look at things and our tactical principles,” Klinsmann said. “We also want them to make friends with their teammates, to feel comfortable and to be part of a special group that is shooting toward the 2014 FIFA World Cup.”

Johannsson’s switch from Iceland to the U.S. program was approved today by world governing body FIFA. Born in the U.S. and raised in Iceland, Johannsson has scored twice on penalty kicks for the Dutch Eredivisie’s AZ Alkmaar in the early season.

I was a little bit nervous when I first came in because I didn’t really know any players,” said Johannsson, born in Mobile, Ala., told the USSF web site of his first American camp. “I knew Jozy (Altidore), but that was it. There are some familiar names with the big players on the team, but I didn’t really know them. After a half hour of meeting all the guys, it was nice to get that out of my system and talk to the guys who are all really open.”

Seattle Sounders midfielder Eddie Johnson and defender Brad Evans are the only two MLS representatives. Mexican-American defender Michael Orozco Fiscal was removed from the roster after suffering a hamstring injury for Puebla Sunday night in a 0-0 draw with Veracruz in Mexico’s Liga Bancomer MX.


The U.S. roster for the match against Bosnia and Herzegovina:

Goalkeepers (3): Cody Cropper (Southampton, England), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa, England), Tim Howard (Everton, England).

Defenders (6): John Brooks (Hertha Berlin, Germany), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City, England), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana, Mexico), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC, Major League Soccer), Michael Parkhurst (Augsburg, Germany), Tim Ream (Bolton Wanderers, England).

Midfielders (8): Alejandro Bedoya (FC Nantes, France), Michael Bradley (AS Roma, Italy), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana, Mexico), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg, Norway), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim, Germany), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04, Germany), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht, Netherlands), Danny Williams (Reading, England).

Forward (5): Jozy Altidore (Sunderland, England), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Wien), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC, MLS), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar, Netherlands), Bobby Wood (1860 Munich, Germany).


Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.

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