Chicago, IL, United States (4E Sports) – After missing two crucial World Cup qualifying games, striker Jozy Altimore was among 20 players called up by US men’s soccer national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann into training camp for a friendly against No. 9 Russia Wednesday.
Klinsmann recently dropped Altidore from the USA roster for a pair of critical World Cup qualifiers against Antigua and Barbuda and Guatemala in October after a disappointing performance in matches and practice over the last year.
The AZ Alkmaar-based striker has 12 goals in all competitions, including nine in the Dutch Eredivisie which is good for the third highest total in the league.
The Americans’ final match of 2012, the friendly will be played at Kuban Stadium in Krasnodar, Russia.
Players have started reporting Sunday night into Frankfurt, Germany where they will train twice Monday before leaving Tuesday morning for Krasnodar.
“We ask for these games because they are big learning curves for us,” said Klinsmann. “We need to measure ourselves against the best teams out there and build even more confidence. We want to close the year in a very positive way and then go into a busy 2013 that includes World Cup qualifying, the Gold Cup and some exciting friendlies.”
The United States is poised to end the year with the best winning percentage in the modern era, having posted a 9-2-2 record and a (.769) winning percentage. The next best performance came in 2008 when the team earned a 9-3-2 record (.750).
The U.S. is looking for its first victory against Russia, which holds a 2-0-2 advantage in the series that dates back to a 1-0 Russia win on Feb. 13, 1993, in Orlando, Florida. The Americans have already collected historic wins on the road this year against Italy in Genoa and Mexico at Estadio Azteca.
After winning Group A in the Semifinal Round of FIFA World Cup qualifying, the US kicks off the Hexagonal on Feb. 6 in Honduras, and will play three of its first four matches on the road.
Klinsmann has selected Tim Howard (Everton), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake) as goalkeepers.
Included in his list of defenders are Carlos Bocanegra (Racing Santander), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Nuremberg), Maurice Edu (Stoke City), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim)
For midfielders, Klinsmann has Michael Bradley (Roma), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Joshua Gatt (Molde), Joe Gyau (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim).
Aside from Altidore, playing forwards for the team are Juan Agudelo (Chivas USA), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna) and Herculez Gomez (Santos Laguna).