On Thursday, United States Men’s National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann called up 22 players for the team’s upcoming friendlies against Honduras and Ecuador. While Oguchi Onyewu will make his well deserved return to the team, here are four Americans who deserved, and didn’t get, a call-up.
Despite a fantastic Gold Cup, a strong season with Orebro in the Swedish league and a late summer transfer to perennial European qualifier Rangers, Alejandro Bedoya has failed to make any of Klinsmann’s first three rosters. Even though Bedoya has seen burgeoning playing time with Rangers in recent weeks, he has once again been left out in the cold.
Surely, if there is room for perennial USMNT retread DaMarcus Beasley, there is room for Bedoya. Bedoya is younger, more likely to be a part of the national team’s future and, frankly, more productive than Beasley, who is clearly past his best.
In Klinsmann’s first two rosters, it could be argued that it was better to leave Adu off, as he first looked to find a new club and then looked to settle in with the Philadelphia Union, once his transfer was completed. However, now that he has settled in with his club, there is no excuse for Adu not to be on this roster.
Yes, it is true that Major League Soccer does not take breaks for the international calendar unlike most leagues and the Union’s spot in the playoffs is not secure, but Klinsmann also called up players from the New York Red Bulls, Colorado Rapids, DC United, FC Dallas and Sporting Kansas City, all in tight races for the remaining playoff spots.
With Stuart Holden and Jose Torres both recently hurt, now would be the perfect time to experiment with Adu as an attacking midfielder. Adu is also left-footed which would make him seem like a much better choice for a wide left midfielder than DaMarcus Beasley who somehow managed to get called up again. With a solid Gold Cup underneath Adu’s belt and many of his past troubles seemingly behind him, it is disappointing there is no room for a creating playmaker like him on the roster.
One has to wonder what exactly Michael Parkhurst is going to have to do to get a National Team call-up. Parkhurst is a consistent starter for his team in the Danish League, consistently plays in the Europa League against some of the best competition in the world and can play the type of possession soccer that Klinsmann has been urging the U.S. to play.
Parkhurst is also 27, the perfect blend of youth and experience, especially considering he’ll be 30 at the next World Cup and in the prime of his career. Yes, Carlos Bocanegra and Clarence Goodson seem to be the No. 1 choices at center back for the National Team right now and deservedly so, but Bocanegra is 32 and one has to wonder if his legs will hold out for three more years. Goodson, while solid, is not exactly fleet of foot and is also 29.
Parkhurst is surely better than Tim Ream and Michael Orozco Fiscal, both of whom have already proven they are not ready for the international level and both of whom have made all three of Klinsmann’s rosters.
Herculez Gomez, who was a late surprise call-up for the 2010 World Cup roster, has been on a hot streak again with four goals in ten games for Estudiantes Tecos in the Mexican Primera Division. Gomez has done this despite often coming on as a substitute.
His results, goals per minute and goals per game far outperform those of Juan Agudelo and Teal Bunbury, both of whom did receive a call-up. Agudelo has six goals in 24 games for the New York Red Bulls and Bunbury has seven goals in 26 games for Sporting KC. Both Agudelo and Bunbury have bright futures for the National Team, but they are still young and not quite ready for the National Team. Gomez, on the other hand, has been playing his best soccer over the past two years and has a knack for goal that the U.S. needs right now.
John D. Halloran