There will be plenty of questions surrounding the US men’s national team roster as the World Cup inches closer, but for now, at least, health isn’t one of them.
Speaking to reporters on a conference call on Monday afternoon after the USMNT’s 30-man preliminary World Cup roster was unveiled, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann was quick to downplay any injury concerns on his team in the lead-up to camp in Palo Alto, Calif., notably in the cases of Omar Gonzalez (knee), Julian Green (shoulder), and Timothy Chandler (knee).
The LA Galaxy’s Gonzalez, pencilled in by most observers as the USA’s starting center back in Brazil, was perhaps the most pressing concern, having departed at halftime of the Galaxy’s 1-0 loss to the Colorado Rapids on May 3 with an injury to his left knee. And though Gonzalez did not feature in the Galaxy’s May 11 match on the Portland Timbers’ artificial turf, LA head coach Bruce Arena earlier that week called his defender’s injury “a short-term issue” and projected he’d be out one to two weeks.
Klinsmann was similarly optimistic when the issue was broached on Monday, and said he has been in regular communication with the Galaxy on Gonzalez’s status.
“We are not concerned at all about Omar’s situation,” the German coach proclaimed. “It’s a very short period of time that he can’t go at 100%. By the end of the week he should be at 100% already. It kind of runs him just a few days late, which is alright.”
Another player who will be getting plenty of attention in camp is Green, the 18-year-old Bayern Munich winger who recently filed a one-time change of association in order to represent the US instead of Germany and wound up with a chance to go to Brazil less than two months after making his USMNT debut.
After suffering a recent scare with a shoulder injury, though, Green will be healthy and in a position to show his new coaches more of what he can do.
“Julian is completely healthy and training with the second team of Bayern Munich for about a week, I think,” Klinsmann explained. “We had [USMNT assistant coach] Andy Herzog check on him and [USMNT scout] Matthias Hamann check on him, and we also got it confirmed from the club, from the club doctors. He’s all ready to go, he’s going to come in on Wednesday and obviously he’s very excited.”
During the call, Klinsmann also confirmed a clean bill of health for Germany-based right back Timothy Chandler, but did not discuss any other injury issues for the team heading into camp.