US soccer team finalizes lineup for World Cup qualifying semis

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Miami, FL, United States (4E Sports) – US men’s national soccer team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has finalized his lineup against Antigua & Barbuda and Guatemala in the semifinal round of 2014 World Cup qualifying.

Klinsmann has tapped 24 players, including veterans Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley, who both missed last month’s two matches due to injuries.

Seattle Sounders striker Eddie Johnson also joins the national team for the first time in two years after an unsuccessful stint in Europe.

Klinsmann did not call up Jozy Altidore, the leading scorer in the Dutch Eredivisie, or Chris Wondolowski, whose hat trick for the San Jose Earthquakes put him within two goals of the MLS single-season scoring record.

“I communicated with Jozy that I was not happy about his latest performances with us, maybe even the last 14 months,” Klinsmann said. “The reason why he’s not coming in is mainly about the performances (last month) in Jamaica and at home and in training, also certain things that went on in the May-June camp.”

Four other players — Sean Johnson, Michael Orozco Fiscal, Jose Torres and Terrence Boyd — fielded by Klinsmann in September will not return.

The players have started reporting to Miami Monday before they depart for Antigua three days later.

“The mentality we are bringing into these two games is to get six points,” said Klinsmann. “We must have urgency within the group and a clear understanding that we need to deliver, which means each player has to bring a 100-percent effort. All our focus and energy for the next few days will be on getting the right preparation for the team so we can win the next two games.”

The US is tied with Guatemala at the top of Group A with seven points and matching totals in both goal differential and goals scored. Jamaica also has seven points but sits in third place due to a lower goal differential.

With the three nations tied on points and jockeying for the top two spots, no team will be able to secure a place in the final round until the last group matches are played Oct. 16.

The complete US lineup:

Goalkeepers (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

Defenders (8): Carlos Bocanegra (Racing Santander), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Tijuana), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Maurice Edu (Stoke City), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Michael Parkhurst (FC Nordsjaelland).

Midfielders (8): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Roma), Joe Corona (Tijuana), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City).

Forwards (5): Clint Dempsey (Tottenham, Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Herculez Gomez (Santos), Alan Gordon (San Jose Earthquakes), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders).

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