By Don Ruiz The News Tribune
The Seattle Sounders contributed more players to the United States men’s national team preliminary World Cup roster than any other club in the world.
Sounders goals-leader Clint Dempsey and defenders Brad Evans and DeAndre Yedlin were included on the 30-man roster announced Monday by U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann. Half of the roster plays in Major League Soccer, with two players selected from Los Angeles, Salt Lake, San Jose and Kansas City. In all, 24 clubs from nine leagues are represented.
“As an organization right now, we’re proud that we could have three guys named to the squad of 30,” Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said before the official announcement. “If my math’s right, that’s 10 percent. That’s a good number.”
Dempsey was Seattle’s surest bet for the roster. He has 103 international appearances and ranks second on the USA’s all-time list with 36 goals.
“Any time you can represent your country it’s an honor and a privilege,” Dempsey said Monday. “You want to make the most of it because you want to keep having that feeling of being called in.”
Evans also seemed likely. He has 17 national team appearances and has scored one goal.
Yedlin, 20, was considered more on the bubble. He participated in the USA’s January camp and earned his first two caps this year in friendlies against Korea and Mexico.
Making up the remainder of the roster are goalkeepers Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton) and Nick Rimando (Salt Lake); defenders DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Nürnberg), Omar Gonzalez (Los Angeles), Clarence Goodson (San Jose), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim) and Michael Parkhurst (Columbus); midfielders Kyle Beckerman (Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Brad Davis (Houston), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Maurice Edu (Philadelphia), Julian Green (Bayern Munich) Jermaine Jones (Besiktas) and Graham Zusi (Kansas City); and forwards Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose).
Among the top names left off the roster was former Seattle goals-leader Eddie Johnson, now with D.C. United.
“We had some difficult decisions to make, and we are very excited about the 30 players coming into camp,” Klinsmann said through U.S. Soccer. “There is competition in every position, and these next couple of weeks will allow us to make the final determinations.”
Training will begin at Stanford, California, on Wednesday in advance of three friendlies: versus Azerbaijan on May 27 in San Francisco; Turkey on June 1 in Harrison, New Jersey; and Nigeria on June 7 in Jacksonville, Florida. Then the roster will be whittled to the 23 players who will continue on to Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
“You’ve got to work hard, you’ve got to make the most of these training sessions, of these games, to prepare so that you can make it to the roster that’s going to Brazil,” Dempsey said. “And also you want to fight for that starting 11 spot so you can be on the field.”
The call-ins also mean the MLS-leading Sounders will be without three key players for the next four league matches, beginning Saturday when the San Jose Earthquakes visit CenturyLink Field.
“It’s going to be a big (hole) to fill in terms of your starting 11,” Dempsey said. “But there’s a lot of depth with the Sounders. I’m sure that they will be able to do fine.”