17 year old rising star Christian Pulisic makes the roster.
The name Eric Lichaj will cause some eyebrows to be raised. Lichaj was getting regular playing minutes under Bob Bradley but the former Aston Villa wing back has been kept in the fringes by Jurgen Klinsmann since he took over five years ago. His only appearances came as a sub against Scotland and Austria in November 2013. Now at Nottingham Forest, the defender is a surprising inclusion in Klinsmann’s 40 man call up.
The roster is a mix of veterans as well as a group of younger players who have rotated through various cup competitions. Highly rated 17 year old Borussia Dortmund striker, Christian Pulisic, who became the youngest non-German to score in the Bundesliga this past April, gets a call. He and Bobby Wood of Union Berlin are the only overseas players in the strike force which is dominated by MLS players. In midfield, Benny Feilhaber having the season of his life has been left out because of unresolved contretemps with Klinsmann. MLS champs Portland Timbers have their man in Darlington Nagbe and the New England Revs’ Lee Nguyen also get the nod.
In defence, Klinsmann seems to have reversed the MLS heavy pattern with most defenders from the overseas leagues. The exceptions are Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), and Steve Birnbaum (DC United). Matt Miazga makes the roster with the Chelsea man making his first Premier League appearance last month in a 4-0 blowout against Aston Villa.
More at stake, Klinsmann’s future as coach, with soul sapping, nerve shredding losses in the Gold Cup and the Confederations Cup playoffs. The Copa America Centenario gives the opportunity for the USA to shine against some of the world’s best teams and to carry momentum into the Hexagon and then to the 2018 World Cup. The MNT looks reasonably solid at the back but there are significant weaknesses in attack. Clint Dempsey is the only proven goalscorer and he’s slowed down considerably. Which is why Pulisic might make the final 23 due May 20th.
Christian Pulisic highlights: