By Kevin Baxter
3:51 PM EDT, October 6, 2013
With some of his first-choice team sidelined by injury and other issues, U.S. national team Coach Juergen Klinsmann called up only 20 players Sunday for the final two World Cup qualifiers.
In the past Klinsmann has typically summoned 23 players to training camp. Left off the roster this time were three players who took part in the last U.S. game, a 2-0 win over Mexico in September that earned the Americans an automatic berth in next summer’s World Cup in Brazil. Fabian Johnson (ankle) and Clint Dempsey (hamstring) did not dress for their club teams this week, nor did Michael Parkhurst, who hasn’t played for Bundesliga's Ausburg for eight months. Also left off the team was midfielder Michael Bradley, who continues to deal with a severely sprained ankle.
Still, 17 of the 20 players selected Sunday were also in the national team camp in August. Of those asked back, eight play in Major League Soccer, including forward Landon Donovan and defender Omar Gonzalez of the two-time defending league champion Galaxy.
The U.S. finishes its 10-game regional qualifying schedule against winless Jamaica on Friday in Kansas City and Panama four days later in Central America.
"We want to finish qualifying on a high note and prove a point in our region," said Klinsmann, whose team is ranked 13th in the world in the latest FIFA rankings. "We don't view these games as the end of World Cup qualifying. For us, it's the start of preparations for the World Cup, and therefore we have to continue to raise the bar. We have had such amazing support from our fans throughout the last two years, and we owe it to them to put our best foot forward."
Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
Defenders: DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City) Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (Galaxy)
Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Jermaine Jones (Schalke), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Landon Donovan (Galaxy), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC)
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