Bruce Arena Calls 32 Players in USMNT January Camp

From Last Word on Soccer, by Joe Hojnacki

Bruce Arena has completed his roster for the upcoming USMNT January Camp. His first group of players during his second tenure in charge of the National Team features an exclusively MLS based team of 32 players from 15 different teams.

Bruce Arena Calls 32 Players in USMNT January Camp

With the majority of the world in the middle of their seasons, Arena was limited to players based in the United States and Scandinavia, who also follow the summer calendar of MLS.

Goalkeepers

David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Stefan Frei (Seattle Sounders), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls)

Tim Howard is still nursing himself back from injury and Brad Guzan is still part of the Middlesbrough setup, so neither of the top two keepers are available. Because of that, we get a first time call up in the Swiss born Stefan Frei. Frei has been a rock in goal for Seattle Sounders since he arrived from Toronto FC before the 2014 season and made an MLS Cup saving save in the final against his old team last month. He was born in Switzerland, but has not received a call up to the Swiss senior team. This will be his first international call up since he was played one match with the Swiss U-15 squad.

Bingham, Hamid, Rimando, and Robles have all seen sparse action with the senior side. Rimando was the emergency keeper for Copa America last summer and the other three were all involved in last January’s camp under Jurgen Klinsmann.

Defenders

DaMarcus Beasley (Unattached), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Greg Garza (Atlanta United), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Taylor Kemp (D.C. United), Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders), Keegan Rosenberry (Philadelphia Union), Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

Old man DaMarcus Beasley makes his return to the side after nearly two years on the shelf. He is yet to find an MLS club for 2017, so maybe this camp can be enough to entice an approach out of a team in need of defensive depth. While he is the elder statesman of this group, he is joined by several non-regulars in the defense.

Keegan Rosenberry, Walker Zimmerman, and Taylor Kemp are all making their first appearance with the senior team. Kemp, in particular, could fill a rather serious need at left back.

Graham Zusi’s inclusion as a¬†defender is rather curious. Primarily an attacking player, he could be asked help fill that left back void. He has some experience in the back line, but more on the right side of late. He made two appearances at right back for Sporting Kansas City last year.

Midfielders

Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Jermaine Jones (Unattached), Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Kekuta Manneh (Vancouver Whitecaps), Dax McCarty (New York Red Bulls), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Chris Pontius (Philadelphia Union), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC)

The main headline here will be the long awaited (and expected) return of Benny Feilhaber, who was shut out by Klinsmann for what amounted to a petty grudge. He is joined by regulars Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Alejandro Bedoya, and Sacha Kljestan. Other familiar faces like Darlington Nagbe and Kellyn Acosta are there too.

There area couple newcomers to this midfield squad. Sebastian Lletget, who played under Arena with LA Galaxy, and Kekuta Manneh are making their first appearances with the senior team. Manneh is another foreign born player who is in the process of attaining eligibility. Born in Gambia, he has lived in the United States since the age of 16 and currently plays for Vancouver Whitecaps.

Forwards

Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution), Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)

This is the pretty usual crop of forwards. The only somewhat unusual name is Juan Agudelo, who hasn’t been with the National Team since last January Camp. The rest are all names we have seen recently. Clint Dempsey is still not cleared to join with his heart condition keeping him from training.

The USMNT January Camp opens next week in Carson, California. The squad will play a pair of friendlies to conclude the event. The first will be on January 29 against Serbia in San Diego. The second will be against Jamaica on February 3 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.


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