It wasn’t a surprise in the end, but Sounders FC forward Eddie Johnson was named to the U.S. men’s national team’s 23-man roster leading into FIFA World Cup qualifiers Friday (versus Costa Rica in Colorado) and Tuesday (at Mexico).
Johnson wasn’t with the group Sunday for Seattle’s reserve game; he was likely en route to Denver, where coach Jurgen Klinsmann will hold training camp leading into Friday’s game at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
“We know we have a big task ahead of us, and we are confident our group will get the job done,” said Klinsmann in a news release. “Obviously there are many players out with injuries, and that means the next person in line has a chance to step up. Getting points at home in World Cup qualifying is huge, and we are looking forward to having an awesome crowd supporting us in Denver on Friday night.”
Those injuries? Edgar Castillo (facial fractures), Timmy Chandler (hamstring), Steve Cherundolo (knee), Tim Howard (back), Fabian Johnson (hip), Jonathan Spector (ankle), Jose Torres (hamstring), Danny Williams (illness).
Here is the squad, nine from MLS:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa, England), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire, MLS), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake, MLS)
DEFENDERS (6): Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake, MLS), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City, MLS), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City, England), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy, MLS), Clarence Goodson (Brondby, Denmark), Justin Morrow (San Jose Earthquakes, MLS)
MIDFIELDERS (9): DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla, Mexico), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake, MLS), Michael Bradley (Roma, Italy), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana, Mexico), Maurice Edu (Bursaspor, Turkey), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04, Germany), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht, Belgium), Brek Shea (Stoke City, England), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City, MLS)
FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar, Holland), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna, Austria), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur, England), Herculez Gomez (Santos Laguna, Mexico), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC, MLS)
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Here are some notes from U.S. Soccer…
- Clint Dempsey has six goals in World Cup qualifying in this cycle and 11 overall, good for second place on the USA’s all-time list.
- Eddie Johnson has 10 career goals in qualifying to his credit, tied for third all-time with Brian McBride.
- Jozy Altidore has tallied 18 goals in league play and 25 in all competitions for AZ Alkmaar this season.
- Herculez Gomez is also tearing it up for Santos, with nine goals in all competitions. Gomez potted a pair during the Semifinal Round, including the game-winner against Jamaica on Sept. 11 in Columbus.
- Dempsey is the only player to appear in all seven matches in this qualifying cycle.
- Brad Guzan has three shutouts in five matches played in qualifying in his career, posting a 3-1-1 record. Guzan started in the 2-0 win against Guatemala on Nov. 19, 2008, here at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
- Jermaine Jones led all U.S. field players in games played (12) and minutes (1,002) in 2012.
- Entering 2012 with only one previous cap, Geoff Cameron ended the year with the second-most minutes played in the field.
- DaMarcus Beasley has 26 career caps in World Cup qualifying, tied with Jeff Agoos for fifth most in U.S. history. He sits on 97 appearances overall.
- Eight players from the January camp roster earned a spot on the roster – Kyle Beckerman, Tony Beltran, Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez, Eddie Johnson, Sean Johnson, Justin Morrow and Graham Zusi. Beckerman served as team captain in the 0-0 draw against Canada.
- Joe Corona has been a regular starter for Liga MX champion Club Tijuana, which has jumped out to a lead in Group 5 of the Copa Libertadores.
- Four players are carrying yellow cards: Michael Bradley, Dempsey, Maurice Edu and Zusi. Their next caution will result in a one-match suspension.