Surprise Omission From U.S. World Cup Squad
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[May 13, 2014]
By Simon Evans
(Reuters) - Striker Eddie Johnson, whose
goals helped the United States to qualify for the World Cup, was
surprisingly left out of coach Juergen Klinsmann’s 30-man provisional
squad, announced on Monday.
Johnson scored against Panama and Mexico in the final round of
CONCACAF qualifying and played a major role in the earlier rounds.
But the 30-year-old missed out on a place as Rapid Vienna striker
Terrence Boyd earned a surprise inclusion even though he is yet to
score for the national team.
Teenage midfielder Julian Green, who is on Bayern Munich’s books but
mostly plays for their lower league second team, was named along
with several other dual-nationals, including AZ Alkmaar forward Aron
Johannsson, who represented Iceland at youth level.
The United States, who finished top of qualifying in CONCACAF, will
face Ghana, Portugal and Germany in Group G at the tournament in
Klinsmann will have to cut another seven players from the squad when
he names his final 23-man lineup on June 2 and said it had already
been a tough task leaving out players who had served during the
“It is unpleasant because you give the players a message they don’t
want to hear – it hurts you because you know it hurts them,”
Klinsmann said on a conference call.
“You are missing out on the biggest tournament in your career,”
added the 49-year-old who won the World Cup as a player with West
Germany in 1990 and was coach of the Germany team that reached the
semi-finals in 2006.
Johnson has yet to score in eight games for D.C. United in Major
League Soccer this season but Klinsmann gave little insight into the
reasons behind his decision.
“I spoke with Eddie for quite a long time on the phone and tried to
explain as well as I could," Klinsmann said.
“It was a very difficult decision based on what he has done with me
the whole time and not now having the chance at the last moment, it
is a very tough one on him."
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While Klinsmann, who took over the team from Bob Bradley in 2011,
has experimented with his selections throughout his reign, he stuck
with the same experienced core that featured at the 2010 World Cup
in South Africa: goalkeeper Tim Howard, midfielders Michael Bradley
and Clint Dempsey and forward Landon Donovan.
Jozy Altidore also made the squad, a reward for his performances for
the U.S. despite his disappointing season in the English Premier
League with Sunderland, where he has scored just once.
The squad will gather in California on Wednesday for a training camp
before playing friendlies against Azerbaijan, Turkey and Nigeria in
preparation for Brazil.
(Reporting By Simon Evans; editing by Julian Linden)
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