Jurgen Klinsmann's boys are hoping to put a rocky 2015 in the past with a stated goal of making the Copa America semifinals. That would go a long way toward erasing the disappointment of the 2015 Gold Cup semifinal elimination and the failure to clinch a 2017 Confederations Cup place after a heartbreaking CONCACAF Cup loss to Mexico. Through it all, the boss has been bleeding young talent as the team continues aiming for the elusive next level.
- Michael Bradley – The US midfield maestro has become Klinsmann's Swiss army knife. He controls the tempo, directs traffic, takes restarts and has become the team's top playmaker. Bradley can set up chances from a deep position, with his lob feeds particularly troublesome. He's also an intense emotional presence on the field and loves to break up opponents' rushes. In 2015, he won both major USMNT Player of the Year prizes for the first time.
- Fabian Johnson – Though sometimes used as a wingback, Johnson pays his bills as a starting left winger on one of the best clubs in the Bundesliga. He's a slippery dribbler in traffic who also loves to break out on the counter. The Munich native put away eight goals and notched six assists in all competitions during the recently concluded campaign, including two tallies and two assists in five games in his first exposure to the UEFA Champions League.
- Clint Dempsey – Though now 33, folks would do well not to sleep on the Texas tornado. Dempsey can score in a variety of ways and has a knack for popping up in the right place at the right time. He is just one goal away from becoming the 47th player in soccer history (and the 10th active player) to bag 50 international goals. Bullish on the ball, the veteran is also capable of helping the team forward out of midfield, but he will most likely be counted on to be the team's target forward at the Copa America given the absence of starter Jozy Altidore due to injury.
Jurgen Klinsmann – After a sterling playing career that saw the striker bag 324 goals for club and country while winning a World Cup, a European Championship and two UEFA Cups, Klinsmann started his managerial resume by guiding Germany to a third place finish at World Cup 2006. A couple years later, he had a contentious 10-month spell in charge of Bayern Munich, and then was named as US boss midway through 2011. There have been some lowlights along the way, but Klinsmann has also led his adopted country to a surprising group win at World Cup 2014, as well as first ever road wins over Germany, Italy, Mexico and the Netherlands.
Copa America Group A Schedule
June 3 vs. Colombia (9:30 pm ET, Levi’s Stadium – Santa Clara, Calif.)
June 7 vs. Costa Rica (8 pm ET, Soldier Field – Chicago, Ill.)
June 11 vs. Paraguay (7 pm ET, Lincoln Financial Field – Philadelphia, Pa.)
Copa America Squad
Goalkeepers (3): Brad Guzan, Ethan Horvath, Tim Howard
Defenders (8): Matt Besler, Steve Birnbaum, John Brooks, Geoff Cameron, Timmy Chandler, Fabian Johnson, Michael Orozco, DeAndre Yedlin
Midfielders (7): Kyle Beckerman, Alejandro Bedoya, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Perry Kitchen, Darlington Nagbe, Graham Zusi
Forwards (5): Clint Dempsey, Christian Pulisic, Chris Wondolowski, Bobby Wood, Gyasi Zardes
Starting XI (4-2-3-1)
- GK: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa)
- RB: DeAndre Yedlin (Sunderland)
- CB: Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United)
- CB: John Anthony Brooks (Hertha Berlin)
- LB: Fabian Johnson (Borussia Moenchengladbach)
- RM: Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
- CM: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake)
- CM: Jermaine Jones (Colorado Rapids)
- CM: Michael Bradley (Toronto FC)
- LM: Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)
- FW: Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders)
Style of play
Under Klinsmann, the USMNT modus operandi has been a fluid animal. The team still aims to feast offensively on counters and set pieces, but they now play out of the back rather than hoofing long balls. At times, the Nats run out in a familiar 4-4-2 empty bucket set, but the coach also uses a more modern 4-2-3-1 on certain occasions. In either formation, their possession game, defensive cohesiveness and final third acuity have been rather inconsistent since World Cup 2014.
How they qualified
As co-hosts, they had an automatic invite.
Copa America history
The USMNT has made three Copa America appearances, with the last coming when they went three-and-out with a split squad in 2007. The US also bowed after the group phase in 1993, but earned a fourth place finish two years later in Uruguay. Led by head coach Steve Sampson and Eric Wynalda's three goals, the team won their group ahead of Argentina before disposing of arch nemesis Mexico on penalties in the quarterfinals. A slim 1-0 loss to Brazil in the semis ended the Cinderella run.
Though the US has yet to win a major tournament outside CONCACAF, they've enjoyed plenty of excitement, starting with a third-place finish at the first World Cup in 1930. They pulled a shock upset of England at the 1950 edition and came close to the final four after a stirring deep 2002 run. More recently, the Nats also halted Spain's 54-game unbeaten streak in the 2009 Confederations Cup semis before blowing a 2-0 halftime lead to Brazil in the final. Closer to home, they've raised the CONCACAF Gold Cup five times.