U.S. Men's National Team
These 23 Will Rep U.S. in Copa America Centenario
May 21, 2016
PERHAPS YOU'VE HEARD a thing or two about the 2016 Copa America Centenario. Here's a bit more about the biggest soccer tournament to be played on American soil since the 1994 World Cup: the United States roster.
Brad Guzan, Ethan Horvath, Tim Howard
Matt Besler, Steve Birnbaum, John Brooks, Geoff Cameron, Timothy Chandler, Fabian Johnson, Michael Orozco, DeAndre Yedlin
Kyle Beckerman, Alejandro Bedoya, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Perry Kitchen, Darlington Nagbe, Christian Pulisic, Graham Zusi
Clint Dempsey, Chris Wondolowski, Bobby Wood, Gyasi Zardes
It's a very safe, very familiar, and very old squad. (The team features eight players 30 or older, and three more who are 29.)
Rather than giving the surging—and speedy—Jordan Morris a shot, U.S. men's national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann selected 33-year-old Chris Wondolowski. Instead of utilizing Eric Lichaj or Tim Ream along the backline, the coach chose habitual underperformers Michael Orozco and Timothy Chandler.
"This roster really was put together based on what we saw over the last year, and it’s one that makes us the strongest team possible to compete in Copa America and to hopefully surprise a lot of people,” Klinsmann said via press release. “We feel that these 23 going into the very special Copa America, they really deserved to be there.
“Obviously when you get down and you decide on the final 23-man roster, there are very close, tight decisions to make. The moment when you decide, it’s about definitely who you feel the strongest about.”
The coach added that Brad Guzan will be the default starter ahead of Tim Howard. "As of today, the No. 1 is Brad Guzan," he said via FOX TV.
The timing is a bit weird for this announcement, as it comes the day before a warm-up match against Puerto Rico (noon ET, FS1, UniMas, UDN) and the day after federations were required to finalize their teams. In a perfect world, Klinsmann would have had a chance to assess players under game conditions before submitting his roster. Instead, U.S. Soccer kept everybody waiting an extra day and announced the 23-man list during halftime of Saturday's New York Red Bulls - New York City FC match bloodbath.
Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and most of the 16 participating nations released their final rosters before the Americans. The tournament will be a star-studded affair, as Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Willian, Hulk, Alexis Sanchez, James Rodriguez, Javier Hernandez, and Luis Suarez all made the final cut. The biggest name missing from the tournament? Brazil's Neymar, who opted to represent his country in the Rio Olympics rather than in Copa America Centenario.
As for the biggest names left off Klinsmann's roster, Jozy Altidore will miss the tournament due to a recurring hamstring injury; Omar Gonzalez was left off despite a strong season in Mexico; Lee Nyguen apparently lost out to Christian Pulisic; and Mix Diskerud did not make the grade.
The United States will face Colombia on June 3 in Santa Clara, Calif., before heading to Chicago to play Costa Rica on June 7. The host nation will finish group play in Philadelphia on June 11, squaring off against Paraguay. The complete schedule is available here.
The Yanks have announced two additional warm-up matches in preparation for Copa America Centenario. The team will play Ecuador Wednesday night in Frisco, Texas, before traveling to Kansas City, Kan., to face Bolivia on May 28.
What do you think of the squad? Do you agree with Klinsmann's choices? Share your take in the Comments section below, and create a U.S. v. Colombia Starting XI with our patented drag-and-drop tool.