Earlier this week, Jürgen Klinsmann released his latest 23-man roster for the US Men’s National Team‘s upcoming World Cup qualifiers against St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad & Tobago. While the squad featured a lot of familiar faces such as Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones and Jozy Altidore, there were a couple of noteworthy absentees.
The biggest player not joining the camp had to be Clint Dempsey. The forward has been in fine form this season scoring eight times through 17 matches, but his skill level has nothing to do with his inclusion. Last week, Dempsey took a medical leave from the Seattle Sounders to get an irregular heartbeat. Klinsmann eased some nerves in the U.S. fanbase telling reporters, “…we all are very positive that things work out fine and he’s going to be cleared – hopefully very, very soon – to play again.”
In Dempsey’s absence, his teammate on the Sounders, Jordan Morris, has seen his place on the national team restored. At 33, Dempsey’s time on the international stage is certainly coming to an end sooner rather than later, and while this exclusion isn’t ideal, it should give Klinsmann a chance to see what his striking options look like without the Texan involved. Hopefully, the Stars and Stripes should be able to deal with St. Vincent and Trinidad & Tobago without Dempsey leading the line.
While one of the great young hopes of American soccer, Morris, rejoins the squad, another one still finds himself on the outside looking in. It seems like such a long time ago when Julian Green scored against Belgium in the World Cup. Since then, the 21-year-old has registered just three more appearances for the national team, and his playing time at the club level hasn’t increased much either. Just as fans in the U.S. were ready to throw in the towel on Green’s once promising career, the midfielder seems to have found a new gear.
A change of management at Bayern Munich from Pep Guardiola to Carlo Ancelotti has done wonders for Green. During a preseason match against Inter Milan, the youngster bagged a hat trick, and even earned himself a place on Bayern’s Bundesliga squad for the 2016/17 season. Despite the renewed vigor of Green’s career, he was still unable to break back into Klinsmann’s competitive roster, but the German manager said that the 21-year-old could be involved in the next couple of games.
A somewhat new name to pop up on U.S. fans’ radars is Lynden Gooch. The 20-year-old has apparently caught the eye of his new manager, David Moyes, at Sunderland. Gooch has started the Premier League club’s first three games of the season, and has arguably been one of their best players in all three games. His passion and energy on the pitch have endeared him to supporters, but his breakout start to the year wasn’t good enough to earn him a spot on Klinsmann’s roster.
A possible reason for this exclusion, according to Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle), was the heavy toll that trans-Atlantic flights could take on players. For a player like Gooch, who may not even see the pitch playing behind Bradley and Jones, this long flight across the pond, not to mention the traveling headaches caused by flying to St. Vincent, pose an unnecessary risk for Gooch and Sunderland. While we won’t see him make his national team debut this round of qualifiers, I think it’s just a matter of time before Gooch becomes a regular name on Klinsmann’s squads.