Landon Donovan took a big step toward a record-tying fourth World Cup appearance when he was included Monday in the 30-man provisional squad U.S. coach Juergen Klinsmann called into this week’s training camp at Stanford.
The team will begin gathering Wednesday for three weeks of practice and two exhibitions before the June 2 deadline for paring the roster to 23 players.
“The good thing about the next three weeks is that we can see them every day,” Klinsmann said. “We can see them compete with each other day in, day out. We get a feel for the chemistry, which is very important. That spirit of the team, the way they help each other and the way they bond with each other.
“And it’s a daily competition. It’s an awesome competition to be in because it’s about going to a World Cup.”
But few spots appear to be available in that competition. The three goalkeepers called in — including Evergreen Park native and Providence alumnus Brad Guzan — look like locks for Brazil, as do at least seven of the 11 defenders. In the midfield, six of the 10 invitees appear safe, while four of the six forwards seem to have spots sewn up.
That could leave 10 players fighting for as few as three spots on the final roster.
Perhaps the most glaring omission was D.C. United forward Eddie Johnson, a 2006 World Cup veteran who played 17 games for the U.S. last year but hasn’t scored for his club this season. Klinsmann said his decision to leave Johnson off the roster was influenced by his preference for using Donovan as a forward rather than in the midfield.
Fire forward Mike Magee and goalkeeper Sean Johnson also weren’t called into the camp.
Surprising among the invitees is Nuremberg defender Timothy Chandler, who has been sidelined with a knee injury and has played just two games for the national team since 2011.
“He’s fully fit again,” Klinsmann said. “I had him scouted many, many times, also in training. And he’s a player that makes a difference if he’s on his highest level.”
The roster marks a big step forward for Major League Soccer, which will send 15 players to the camp. The U.S. team that went to South Africa four years ago had just four active MLS players.
Preliminary U.S. World Cup roster
Brad Guzan (Aston Villa/England)
Tim Howard (Everton/England)
Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla/Mexico)
Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City)
John Brooks (Hertha Berlin/Germany)