Chicago (AFP) – US coach Jurgen Klinsmann named a veteran lineup featuring Jozy Altidore and Bayern Munich’s Julian Green on Sunday for a showdown with Mexico to open the final phase of 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying.
The Americans will entertain Mexico on Friday at Columbus, Ohio, in the opening match in the “hexagonal,” the six-team round robin qualifying series from the North American (CONCACAF) region. Four days later they continue qualifying by trying to claim a first-ever victory at Costa Rica.
US players have beaten Mexico 2-0 at Columbus in qualifying for the 2014, 2010, 2006 and 2002 World Cups, making “Dos a Cero” a catchphrase as the team launches its bid to reach Russia.
The roster includes 15 players with World Cup experience, 17 who have played against Mexico before and 11 of those who have done it in qualifying.
“Obviously the Mexico clash is a six-pointer to start the Hexagonal right away,” Klinsmann said. “We badly want to continue the tradition of beating them in Columbus.”
Among the players called up by Klinsmann was English-born 18-year-old defender Cameron Carter-Vickers, a Tottenham Hotspur developmental squad player who might get a first nod to link him to the American side after youth play on US squads.
“Having 26 players coming in gives us many different options for both games,” said Klinsmann. “It allows us to evaluate certain players, like a Jermaine Jones, to see how far he has come along fitness-wise. Bringing in the likes of Cameron Carter-Vickers, Lynden Gooch and Caleb Stanko proves that the younger players are pushing through.”
The Americans are 8-0 with three drawn at Columbus with 10 shutouts at the venue and a 7-0 with two drawn qualifying record there.
Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Middlesbrough), Ethan Horvath (Molde), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), William Yarbrough (Club Leon)
Defenders: Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur), Tim Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle)
Midfielders): Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Lynden Gooch (Sunderland), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Jermaine Jones (Colorado Rapids), Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Caleb Stanko (Vaduz), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Aron Johannsson (Werder Bremen), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Bobby Wood (Hamburg)