The United States Men's National Team have always liked a challenge. Apparently, manager Jurgen Klinsmann has decided that just traveling to play the Netherlands and Germany in Amsterdam and Cologne was not enough. No, the challenge will be made infinitely more difficult due to the fact that the Americans will be heading to continental Europe without captain Clint Dempsey or defenders Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez.
Dempsey misses due to the impending birth of his fourth child, while the other two will remain with their club sides until likely being called up for the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July. The Americans will also be without regular starters Alejandro Bedoya and Jozy Altidore. Bedoya is receiving treatment for a knee injury and faces a battle to be fit for the Gold Cup while Altidore is out with a hamstring injury. However, the USMNT will have their ranks bolstered by the return of Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan and New England Revolution defender/midfielder Jermaine Jones.
Although missing those players will be difficult, the importance of these matches pales in comparison to that of the Gold Cup. Should the Americans win it, they will not only solidify their standing as top dogs in CONCACAF, but they would also clinch automatic qualification to the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.
Klinsmann released a statement with the roster that acknowledged this, and reiterated that there is a transitional period for all national teams after a World Cup. The statement reads: "Our time since the World Cup has been a transition period which now winds down before the Gold Cup. Playing against top teams like Germany and the Netherlands provides valuable experience, especially for the younger players here. More and more they must understand we come to meet these opponents eye to eye. Obviously it's a bit tricky when we are without some of our core players, but that creates a huge opportunity for the guys here to benchmark themselves against some of the best players in the world."
The full 22 man roster reads:
Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), William Yarbrough (Club Leon).
Defenders: Ventura Alvarado (Club America), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Michael Orozco (Puebla), Brek Shea (Orlando City SC), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur).
Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), Miguel Ibarra (Minnesota United), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Jermaine Jones (New England Revolution), Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt), Danny Williams (Reading).
Forwards: Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Bobby Wood (1860 Munich), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy).
The United States Men's National Team travels to face the Netherlands in Amsterdam on June 5th and Germany on June 10th in Cologne. Check back with VAVEL USA for the latest coverage of the national team.