The rosters are out. The scene is set. Now all that remains is the game itself.
On Saturday evening, the US Soccer Federation announced the final 23-man CONCACAF Cup roster Jurgen Klinsmann will employ on Oct. 10 against Mexico (6:30 pm ET; FS1, Univision, UDN) at the Rose Bowl as the USMNT look to seal a berth in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia. More than half the roster – 12 of 23 players – ply their trade in MLS, including captain Michael Bradley of Toronto FC.
Klinsmann opted for experience for the winner-take-all match, calling up 16 players who were on the US team that fell in the Round of 16 of the 2014 World Cup, seven with 50 or more international appearances and four – Bradley, DaMarcus Beasley, Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard – with more than 100 caps.
“This roster is obviously full of experience,” Klinsmann said in a statement. “This is about having a group of players who understand exactly now what this is all about. This is about momentum. This is about high energy. This is about representing my country. This is about belief and a high-level of aggressiveness in a one-off game to beat Mexico and to get to the Confederations Cup. It’s a unique opportunity, and you have to embrace it and give everything you have.”
Left at home because of injury issues, Klinsmann said, were defender John Brooks, fullback Greg Garza and forward Aron Johannsson. LA Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez and New York City FC midfielder Mix Diskerud, meanwhile, were surprise omissions that came down to form and need.
“Every time you have to cut down a roster like now from 35 to 23, there are some players that do not make it and it looks like they are not good enough, which is not the case," Klinsmann said. "The competition is very, very tight. Not having Omar Gonzalez or Mix Diskerud on this roster, for example, is not because they are not good enough, it’s just because you see another player that is better in their position right now in this specific moment."
US Roster By Position (MLS players in bold)
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (9): Ventura Alvarado (Club America), DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), Tim Ream (Fulham), Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Jermaine Jones (New England Revolution), Danny Williams (Reading), DeAndre Yedlin (Sunderland), Graham Zusi (Sporting KC)
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)