In a conference call on Monday afternoon, United States head coach Jürgen Klinsmann answered questions from media all over the country.
Here are some of the highlights, including his discussion on Eddie Johnson and what Sigi Schmid has done for Johnson’s career revival.
On Eddie Johnson: ” “I’ve talked many times over the last couple of months with Sigi [Schmid], and I think Sigi has done a tremendous job with him. I think Eddie is back into that position because he worked very hard for it.
If you watch his games and his drive, his hunger that he has, the way he chases defenders and the way he creates himself and his striking partners chances. The way he also finishes things off speaks for him. And he’s not a newcomer.
He’s part of that program now over the last ten years or so and he also had difficult times. He went through that and he struggled in Europe and Sigi found a way to get him back on track and it’s exciting to see. We already played with that thought for the last camp, and I think this camp opened the door for him and now we’re curious to see him in the middle of his old buddies. I think he really deserved that call.””
The coach added that:
“We wanted to bring in Eddie and Alan because both are really strong in the air. We expect two difficult games where the opponent will probably play more defensively, so we need to get really strong in the air. That’s why we brought in Eddie and Alan, two guys who are good in the air and can lay balls off.”
He also vilified Jozy Altidore saying he had ‘more trust for these upcoming games in Eddie Johnson and Alan Gordon coming in (than Jozy Altidore)’.
He added he wasn’t happy about Altidore’s performances with the team over the last 14 months, including in Jamaica and in training.
Klinsmann is expecting these two games to be against packed-in defenses, which will require better finishers off the cross.
On Donovan and Jones’ injuries, Klinsmann said both are looking good and should be good to go for both games. The side needs to to “find ways to play through a difficult field or difficult conditions.”
On Maurice Edu, he said:
“He’s a very serious option for us as a center back,” and added he can play as a #6 or #8.
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (3) : Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (8) : Carlos Bocanegra (Racing Santander), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Maurice Edu (Stoke City), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Michael Parkhurst (Nordsjaelland)
MIDFIELDERS (8) : Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Roma), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (5): Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Herculez Gomez (Santos), Alan Gordon (San Jose Earthquakes), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders)