With Landon Donovan heading back to LA, Jurgen Klinsmann can now move forward with his new squad to prepare for the 2018 World Cup. Donovan was not the only player to be sent home following the Ecuador friendly, as Luis Gil, Omar Gonzalez, John Brooks, and Joe Gyau have all been sent back to their clubs. Gyau looked to be a promising star, but was injured only 15 minutes into the Ecuador match and was sent home to Germany, where the doctor decided that he will need surgery on his knee, keeping him out until January.
Fans will recognize some familiar faces, and some of the MLS veterans come to the national team after helping their clubs in the playoff race. Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Matt Besler, and Graham Zusi all join the national team for the first time since the World Cup, while keeper Sean Johnson is being called in despite Nick Rimando getting the start for the US. We did not see Miguel Ibarra play in the Ecuador game, but the young NASL star certainly has plenty of people buzzing after being called into Jurgen Klinsmann’s camp.
The US will certainly be interested to have a look at CONCACAF opponents Honduras for the first time post-World Cup. After qualifying for the World Cup, Honduras was held without a point while in Brazil, being eliminated in the group stage. The Hondurans have called in a relatively young squad, with nine players who have 10 or less caps for the senior team. The beginning of a new World Cup cycle is a great time for national team managers to call in young players and begin preparing themselves for what is sure to be another rigorous qualifying campaign.
One of the bright youngsters for the US squad is 23-year-old Greg Garza, who played quite well in the Ecuador game. The Club Tijuana defender is one of the very few natural left backs that has been called in by Jurgen Klinsmann for the national team. It will be interesting to see how Klinsmann will mix and match the older veterans with the new young talent.
We saw DeAndre Yedlin deployed as a right midfielder in the Ecuador game, so it will be interesting to see if Klinsmann continues to play Yedlin in the midfield, or as a right back where he plays for the Seattle Sounders. Another interesting piece on Yedlin is when he will be moving to London to join Tottenham Hotspur. Yedlin is applying for a Latvian passport due to his family ancestry, which could speed up the process. Latvia is a member of the EU, so the American can get around the regulations in the Premier League of having to apply for a work permit by having an EU passport. Jurgen Klinsmann has made it very clear that he wants his players to play in the best leagues in the world, and Yedlin’s move to the Premier League will certainly make his manager happy.
As always, this Friendly will be a great opportunity to see how the players will perform on an international level. Expect to see Jurgen experiment with his squad and prepare for the next cycle. Check out the game on ESPN at 8pm (Eastern).