Kick Off: Tim Howard given USMNT captaincy ahead of Bosnia match

Kick Off Tim Howard

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USA TODAY Sports

Here are the top 14 soccer stories we’re following today:

1. USMNT ROSTER REVEALED

It seemed as if we’d learned half of the team already, but now it’s official. The US roster for the Bosnia and Herzegovina game was released on Monday, and the squad is heavily reliant on European-based players and features all the expected young names who had been linked with the team over the past couple of weeks. For head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, the chance to finally get a look at these players is very exciting.

2. JÓHANNSSON ANSWERS THE CALL, BUT NOT THE QUESTION

One of those players Klinsmann is eyeing is Aron Jóhannsson, the young forward, who has scored three goals in three games for AZ Alkmaar this season. While he defends his decision to join the USMNT he certainly won’t explain it, and it’s one that the striker seems to be sick of talking about. Jóhannsson may be in the camp but he will likely play the role of spectator on Wednesday while he waits for his new paperwork to clear FIFA.

3. INJURIES AND ISSUES

One player who definitely won’t be featuring is Herculez Gomez, who is expected to miss between four and six weeks with a knee injury. Another player out is Michael Orozco Fiscal, who was named to the roster but was forced to withdraw with a hamstring problem. With Clint Dempsey absent (more on that non-issue later), Klinsmann has also handed the captaincy for the game to Tim Howard.

4. KLINSMANN TALKS DEMPSEY

With only five players in the new national team roster coming from teams in the US or Mexico, Dempsey’s omission should be no more surprising than Landon Donovan or Graham Zusi, yet people do love to speculate. Have Jurgen and Clint fallen out? The US head coach has finally spoken about his feelings regarding Dempsey’s move to back to America, and he seems to be excited for the country as much as the player.

5. ANOTHER FUTURE US STAR?

With a trio of promising youngster getting called into the US squad, The Washington Post looks at another player who could one day play for the Stars and Stripes. Gegion Zelalem is the 16-year-old central midfielder who could potentially be Arsenal FC’s next big thing. So could he play for the US?

6. THE OTHER AMERICAN IN ROME

As AS Roma wrapped up their preseason tour of the US, SI.com’s Brian Straus spoke to the clubs American president James Pallotta, a man with big plans for the Italian club, some of which involve America and, strangely enough, Disneyworld. Pallotta, a Boston native, also gave his opinion on a potential new stadium for the New England Revolution. Think it’ll happen?

7. DEMPSEY MEDIA TOUR

Clint Dempsey may have made his debut on Saturday but yesterday he really started to earn his money. Deuce was in New York City for a media tour where he talked with a whole host of outlets about a variety of subjects. Whether it was with Roger Bennett at ESPN, Grant Wahl at SI.com or sat in on Good Morning America, Dempsey spoke at length about challenges ahead in MLS and his reason for moving back.

8. CLINTONOMICS AND MLS

Want a little deeper examination of MLS player’s wages? Steve Fenn over at The Shin Guardian has you covered with a piece that looks at the financial implications of Dempsey's arrival and what it might mean going forward.

9. BRING IT HOME

We’ve all heard the phrase “home-field advantage.” But what difference does it really make? Sounder at Heart pops up some interesting statistics.

10. MEXICO, ONE YEAR LATER

It’s a year to the day since Mexico won Gold in the Olympic soccer tournament.  Many speculated this would be the start of a golden era for Mexico on the international scene. So what happened? Tom Marshall at Goal.com takes a look.

11. ORLANDO BREAK A RECORD, ARENA BACKS MIAMI

As things progress nicely with their potential new stadium, Orlando City got another little taste of MLS at the weekend when they hosted the Seattle Sounders reserves. Not only did Orlando proceed to win that game 2-0, they did it in front of a record 10,697 fans. Elsewhere in the Sunshine state, if Orlando does secure an MLS franchise would there still be room for Miami? Bruce Arena certainly thinks so. The man spoke highly about both the city and potential owner David Beckham, both of which he knows well.

12. SUBURBS VS. DOWNTOWN

Sacramento is another city with its eyes on an MLS franchise. With the requirement of a soccer specific stadium there’s a chance the city could end up with two! But where’s the best place to build? The Sacramento Press examines the two options available as well as providing a good analysis of recent MLS trends. Which option is better?

13. PANAMA EXPRESS

Gabriel Torres had a good day yesterday. The striker scored his first goal for the Colorado Rapids in a reserve team match as he grabbed his visa, which means he’ll be eligible to play against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday. It’s a good time for Panamanians in MLS right now and Blas Pérez, who scored two against LA on Sunday, feels he deserves a lot of the credit.

14. CHASING CUNNINGHAM

After Landon Donovan’s hat trick on Sunday, the US international now has 130 regular-season MLS goals. This places him only five away from breaking Jeff Cunningham’s all-time record of 134. With 11 games still to go this season, potentially Donovan’s last in MLS, will Donovan write his name in history?

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