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May 12, 2014
Klinsmann trims pre-World Cup roster to 30

By Michael Lewis Editor

Midfielder Michael Bradley is part of Jurgen Klinsmann’s 30-man U.S. pre-World Cup roster.
Midfielder Michael Bradley is part of Jurgen Klinsmann’s 30-man U.S. pre-World Cup roster.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Jurgen Klinsmann knows it will only get more difficult after this.

The U.S. national team coach pared down his World Cup roster to 30 players on Monday, with another seven cuts to be made by June 2.

The usual suspects made the USA’s preliminary World Cup roster as Klinsmann selected several players who played vital roles in the Americans' successful qualifying run last year.

Those key players included goalkeeper Tim Howard, midfielder Michael Bradley and forwards Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan.

"The clock is ticking," Klinsmann said during a conference call. "That's good on our end because we can make decisions and move forward. It's been quite a process over the last 2 1/2 to three years. Naming our 30 players, it's not that easy because you have to leave [several] players that were part of this important process and took us actually to Brazil. Making those phone calls and not being part of that 30-man roster was unpleasant because you give the players a message that they don't want to hear."

Klinsmann's most difficult decision was the surprise exclusion of forward Eddie Johnson, who scored four times during CONCACAF qualifying last year. That included both goals in a win at Antigua and Barbuda and the game-winner in the 2-0 victory over Mexico that clinched a U.S. spot to Brazil.

Johnson, who was critical of his D.C. United teammates last week, has not scored a goal this season.

“His comments and recent couple weeks actually had nothing to do with the decision,” Klinsmann said.

“It’s really difficult because he is also a player that brings so much to the table and he’s done tremendously well for us over the last two years and scored very important goals for us,” Klinsmann said. “He can also play a left wing or a right wing, which he played in several games. But at the end of the day, you have to put them together and you have to make your rankings and how you look at it, and in that way we don’t see Eddie in this roster right now.

Donovan, a three-time member of the U.S. World Cup team, hasn’t scored for the LA Galaxy this season, but Klinsmann took the veteran anyway. He enjoyed a marvelous competition at South Africa 2010, scoring a dramatic goal in a 1-0 win over Algeria that boosted the Americans to the group title.

Donovan took several months off last year and had to work his way back onto the team in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

"What he did for the National Team is amazing," Klinsmann said. "You give him every compliment. He deserves every compliment for that. Since he took his break, I told him, 'If you take a break like that, then you have to fight your way back into the picture, and you have to put in week in and week out with your club team.' "

"Soccer is about what happens today ... and hopefully what you do tomorrow. We're not building the group together based on the past. We build that group based on what we kind of experience and go through together and what we believe as of today is the right decision."

“I think it’s very important that you understand the phase a player is in right now, as of today. What phase of his career he’s in, what he’s learned so far throughout his career, and what he’s able then to do in the future time," Klinsmann said. "Jozy [Altidore] is still a very young player and he is going into his learning curve. We have worked with him now over the last three years, and he’s gone from a much younger player into a more mature player, playing very good games for us and scoring important goals for us. Still, we see Jozy in his development phase. Jozy is not built yet. Jozy has not reached his potential yet. Our job, as coaches, is to help him reach his highest potential."

The 30-man roster was split 15-15 between players based in Major League Soccer and overseas. Four players who perform in Germany also were picked -- defenders John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Timmy Chandler (Nürnberg) and Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), and midfielder Julian Green (Bayern Munich).

The Americans start their training camp in Palo Alto, Calif. on Wednesday and don't have to file their 23-man roster until June 2. They will play Azerbaijan in San Francisco on May 27, Turkey in Harrison, N.J. on June 1 and Nigeria in Jacksonville, Fla. on June 7 before flying to Brazil.

U.S. roster:

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

DEFENDERS (11) : DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Nürnberg), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)

MIDFIELDERS (10) : Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Maurice Edu (Philadelphia Union), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Jermaine Jones (Besiktas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

FORWARDS (6) : Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

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