Goalkeeper Brad Guzan is set to start ahead of veteran Tim Howard for the U.S. national team in the Copa America tournament.
Coach Jurgen Klinsmann announced the 23-man roster Saturday during halftime of the MLS rivalry game between New York City FC and the New York Red Bulls. The roster features 15 players from the 2014 World Cup team.
“We will go with Brad Guzan as the No. 1 at the Copa America. That’s the decision that we made,” Klinsmann told FOX Sports for the halftime announcement. “We had good talks with both goalkeepers. Tim Howard is there to support Brad 24-7. But it’s important that both goalkeepers know what is the ranking right now.”
Howard, who played for Everton for nine seasons until signing with the Colorado Rapids in March, was the national team’s starter in goal for the World Cup in Brazil. Afterward, he took time off from the U.S. team and Guzan took over as starter. Upon Howard’s return, the two keepers rotated.
Perhaps the biggest surprise on the roster itself was the exclusion of Seattle Sounders forward Jordan Morris. Klinsmann named Clint Dempsey, Chris Wondolowski, Bobby Wood and Gyasi Zardes at forward.
There was the possibility that Morris might make the roster in the absence of Jozy Altidore, who was injured while taking a penalty kick for Toronto FC against the Vancouver Whitecaps last weekend. Altidore is expected to miss six to eight weeks.
“It came down to Wondo (Wondolowski) or Jordan,” Klinsmann said. “And we decided at this moment to go with Wondo. He’s in top form, he’s scoring a lot of goals for the (San Jose) Earthquakes. Obviously when you take certain players in one area you have to leave other ones out.”
The roster includes three goalkeepers, eight defenders and 12 midfielders / forwards. Eighteen players have appeared for the United States in World Cup qualifying.
The youngest player is 17-year-old Christian Pulisic, who has one previous appearance with the national team, and played with Borussia Dortmund, where he became the youngest player ever to score two goals in the Bundesliga.
The U.S. opens the 16-nation Copa America against Colombia on June 3 in Santa Clara, California. It then plays Costa Rica four days later at Chicago and closes the first round June 11 against Paraguay in Philadelphia.
A number of the players named to the Copa Roster won’t be available for Sunday’s U.S. exhibition at Puerto Rico because of Major League Soccer obligations. But most should be return to the national team for matches against Ecuador on Wednesday in Texas and Bolivia on Saturday in Kansas City, Kansas.
The roster, including club team affiliation:
Goalkeepers: Guzan (Aston Villa), Howard (Colorado Rapids), Ethan Horvath (Molde IK).
Defenders: Matt Besler (Sporting KC), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur).
Midfielders / Forwards: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Jermaine Jones (Colorado Rapids), Perry Kitchen (Heart of Midlothian), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Wood (Hamburg SV), Zardes (LA Galaxy), Graham Zusi (Sporting KC)