CHICAGO (September 6, 2015) — U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has made three changes to the roster that defeated Peru on Sept. 4 in Washington, D.C., adding Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley, Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson and Stanford University forward Jordan Morris. The three additions bring the U.S. roster to 25 players leading up to the team’s friendly against five-time World Cup champion Brazil, presented by Liberty Mutual Insurance, on Tuesday, Sept. 8 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
Along with the three additions, defender Matt Besler and goalkeeper William Yarbrough have rejoined their clubs.
“We were impressed with Matt Besler this past week,” said Klinsmann. “We definitely saw what we needed to see from him as we prepare for the Mexico clash and Sporting KC badly wanted him back for Wednesday, so we agreed to send him home.”
Though forward Clint Dempsey was originally scheduled to join the team ahead of the Brazil friendly, the decision was made to have Dempsey remain with his club team Seattle Sounders FC as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury.
“I had a good conversation with Clint,” Klinsmann said. “He’s still not 100 percent and we agreed it’s best to let him stay with Seattle to allow him to continue making progress ahead of next month’s match against Mexico.”
Kickoff for Tuesday’s friendly against Brazil is set for 8 p.m. ET and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2, UniMas and Univision Deportes Network. Fans can also follow the match live on Twitter @ussoccer.
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION: Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire)
DEFENDERS (8): Ventura Alvarado (Club America), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Greg Garza (Atlas), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), Tim Ream (Fulham), Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Joe Corona (Veracruz), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), Jermaine Jones (New England Revolution), Alfredo Morales (FC Ingolstadt), Danny Williams (Reading), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur)
FORWARDS (6): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Aron Johannsson (Werder Bremen), Jordan Morris (Stanford), Bobby Wood (Union Berlin), Andrew Wooten (SV Sandhausen), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)
As the Draw to determine the hosting priority for the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Final concluded last Wednesday, the Chicago Fire were in the air, flying to Portland for an MLS match against the Timbers.
Goalkeeper Sean Johnson had just awoken from a nap when the club’s Director of Communications Frank Stranzl beamed the good news throughout the plane: If the team won its Semifinal match at Philadelphia, they’d get to host their first U.S. Open Cup Final at Toyota Park since 2006.
“It was fantastic news,” Johnson told ussoccer.com. “Knowing the tradition this club has and the history of that tournament and the success we’ve had in the past few years, to have the ability to be back at home in front of our fans if we take care of business in Philly is great.”
In just his second year as a pro, Johnson witnessed first-hand what home field advantage in a championship match could mean as the Fire fell 2-0 to Seattle Sounders FC in front of 35,615 at Century Link Field in the 2011 U.S. Open Cup Final.
“You look at competitions around the world and you have a neutral site for the FA Cup, you have a neutral site for the Champions League, but it’s a big deal to be at home in front of your fans. They give you an extra boost, having the support we do and knowing what it would mean to win an Open Cup for the Fire, it would be second to none to win in front of our fans in Chicago.”
Few would know better about what lifting an Open Cup in Chicago would mean than Jim Curtin. The Philadelphia Union head coach did it twice as a defender with the Fire in 2003 and 2006 and says those experiences are the reason he’s made the competition a priority since taking the manager’s reins last June.
“It’s always a little strange going against your former team,” Curtin said. “You see the badge and know what it meant to you when you played, but at the same time you recognize where you are now. To have that be against a team I played with for a lot of years and have a lot of fond memories with in the Open Cup, winning it twice, it makes it a little special. I’ve tried to take the mentality and mindset that was instilled in me when I was in Chicago that the Open Cup is a major competition, it’s one of two trophies in this country that you can lift.”
With the Union and Fire sitting ninth and 10th respectively in the MLS Eastern Conference, the tournament has been a bright light for both clubs, as they’ve struggled to find consistency in league play. Though as Curtin says, “An elimination game has consequences, the most obvious is that the loser goes home.”
“Philly is an opponent that’s in a similar position to us, they’re hungry and at home,” Johnson added. “Either team can look at the season so far and see the Open Cup and know we’re both one win away from playing in a final.”
Both teams made roster additions during the window to help strengthen their sides for a push to the final. After chasing Didier Drogba, the Fire instead snared former Toronto FC striker Gilberto and also added Trinidad & Tobago international Daneil Cyrus to aid in central defense. Not to be outdone, the Union brought Swiss international Tranquillo Barnetta and made a deal with Toronto FC for Warren Creavalle to bolster their midfield.
With league position being what it is and a spot in the 2015 U.S. Open Cup Final on the line, the match may have a feeling of finality for whoever comes up short. While the Chicago Fire have played all three of their matches at home and two against lower league opposition, the Union have had to scrap through two shootouts and two matches where they’ve played down a man for a majority of the game.
Curtin says the adversity his side has faced ever since falling to Seattle Sounders in last year’s Final, has built character and confidence ahead of Wednesday’s all-important match against the Fire.
Philadelphia Union manager Jim Curtin has heaped importance on winning the U.S. Open Cup and now has the club on the cusp of a second final in as many seasons.
“The run we made last year and to get so close and to lose in extra time was devastating for our guys,” he continued. “I made the guys stand out there and watch Seattle accept their medals to see what it’s like. It should be something they remember, which drives and motivates them for this year’s competition. Has it gone smoothly? Absolutely not. The group has been through a lot together and I think every team on a cup run has gone through a wild, crazy game – we’ve just been through three of them.
“We have that going for us. Every game in this competition is a battle. You have to be prepared to go 120 minutes and a shootout if need be. You’d like to be done in 90, but it isn’t always the case.”
And while the Fire will be guaranteed Final hosts if they can down Curtin’s side, their task won’t be easy with the team currently on a 19-match road winless streak across all competitions (0-15-4). Add that the Union have taken 17 of their 23 points in the league at PPL Park this season and they’ll feel good that they’re playing the match at home.
“The home field advantage is enormous in the Open Cup,” he said. “You never know in this game how many opportunities you’re going to have to play in a final. Being one game away is something we’re not going to take lightly. There will be urgency in the game, it’ll be on our home field, we’ll have 18,000 fans backing us which will create a very tough environment.”
As this team readies for what is no doubt their biggest match of the year, Johnson says the Fire won’t let the club’s recent away woes factor into their mentality.
“Everybody that steps on that field Wednesday is going to be in the mindset that they want to be in a cup final. Philly is a good team. They have some good pieces and we have to respect that. We have got to make sure we do the things necessary to come away with a win and put ourselves in the final.”
With the USMNT’s March friendlies against Denmark (March 25, ESPN2, WatchESPN, UniMás, UDN) and Switzerland (March 31, FOX Sports 1, UniMás, UDN) quickly approaching, time is running out for the players to convince the coaching staff they should be included for the matches that start the honing process for the all-important 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup this summer. The staff will have plenty of opportunity to watch the player pool in action this weekend – and so will fans!
Check out all the MNT players in action with their clubs across the globe (All TV times ET):
The spotlight is on the kickoff of the 20th season of Major League Soccer when the 2014 defending champion LA Galaxy hosts the Chicago Fire. World Cup vet Omar Gonzalez stands at one end with MNT neophyte Gyassi Zardes as the pair stare down Fire ‘keeper Sean Johnson at the other. (10 p.m., UniMas)
The FA Cup quarterfinals kick off with a trip to famed Wembley Stadium on offer in one of the oldest and most prestigious cup competitions in the world. Brad Guzan and Aston Villa host West Bromwich Albion in the first leg (12:30 p.m., FOX Soccer Plus). In another final eight matchup, Reading midfielder Danny Williams continues his resurgence as the Royals head to League One side Bradford City (7:45 a.m., FS1). In the only Premier League match of the weekend, DeAndre Yedlin’s Spurs travel to QPR with a huge opportunity to pick up points in the race to reach European competition next season (10 a.m., NBCSN).
In Germany, Fabian Johnson is fresh off scoring his first goal of the campaign and Borussia Moenchengladbach travel to Mainz looking to keep their hold on third place in the Bundesliga table (12:30 p.m., GolTV).
South of the border, Club Tijuana look to maintain their lead at the top of the Liga MX Torneo Clausura after going 6-1-1 in the first eight matches. Joe Corona hopes to continue to earn minutes after recovering from injury, while Greg Garza will be kept out as a precaution after a minor hip injury on the weekend. Meantime, defender Michael Orozco has started all eight games for Puebla and has helped his side to fourth place as they travel to Chiapas (10 p.m., UDN).
MLS has a host of matches available on DIRECT KICK/MLS LIVE, led by the debut of Jozy Altidore alongside MNT compatriot Michael Bradley at Toronto FC when they square off against cross-coast Canadian rivals Vancouver Whitecaps (6 p.m.). Check local listings for the full MLS schedule.
Last things first – the U.S. Under-17 MNT has a chance to book their ticket to the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Currently sporting a 3-0-0 record at the top of Group A in CONCACAF Qualifying, a win against host Honduras would guarantee advancement to this fall’s tournament in Chile (FOX Soccer Plus, 10 p.m.).
The big draw will be the debut of the newest additions to MLS, with 60,000 plus packing the Citrus Bowl to watch Orlando City FC hosts NYCFC. Brek Shea is hoping for a jumpstart to his career wearing the purple of the Lions, while Mix Diskerud kicks off his domestic professional career with the Big Apple’s newest MLS entrant NYCFC (ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, 5 p.m.). Matt Besler will marshal the backline and Graham Zusi appears to be ready to go when Sporting Kansas City hosts the new look New York Red Bulls (FS1, 7 p.m.), while MLS Cup finalists New England Revolution will be without their MNT contingent in Seattle as Jermaine Jones and Lee Nguyen are still sidelined for the opener against U.S. captain Clint Dempsey, MNT defender Brad Evans and Sounders FC (FS1, FOX Deportes, 9:30 p.m.).
WHAT ELSE TO CHECK OUT …
Alejandro Bedoya returns from the infirmary to join his Nantes teammates when they meet Stade de Reims, who hover three points above the relegation zone … Jonathan Spector’s Birmingham City side have surpassed their point total from last season, and hope to climb into the top half of the table against Midlands rival Derby … It could be young versus younger in Holland when Aron Johannsson and AZ Alkmaar travel to face Rubio Rubin and FC Utrecht on Sunday … Finally, Eintracht Frankfurt’s starting right back Timmy Chandler gets an early look at the RheinEnergieSTADION in Cologne, which will host USA-Germany on June 5.
A retrospective look back through the photos of the MNT's month-long January Camp that began when head coach Jurgen Klinsmann summoned 23 players to U.S. Soccer's National Training Center in Carson, California, on Jan. 12. After a few departures and replacements the squad headed to Chile for its opening international friendly of 2015 before returning home to play Panama at StubHub Center. Along the way, the squad veterans were tasked with integrating a group of younger players who are learning what it means to compete at the full international level, while also preparing for the task of reassembling as the U-23 MNT throughout the year until qualifying begins for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Photos from the MNT's 2-0 win against Panama at StubHub Center in Carson, California, to close out its first training camp of 2015. Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey notched the goals for the USA, while Gyasi Zardes and Miguel Ibarra both made their first career starts.
The MNT next heads to Europe in March for a pair of games against Denmark on March 25 and Switzerland on March 31.
Possessing size and range, Sean Johnson has already shown promise in his young professional career. Unfazed after being thrust into the starting role in his rookie year with the Chicago Fire, he demonstrated the poise and calm which are the trademarks of a good goalkeeper. Having represented the United States at the U-20 level, he is looking to break into the ranks of the full team.
- A member of the U-20 Men's National Team that competed at the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship in 2009
- Installed as the Chicago Fire starter halfway through the year, he went on to play in 13 matches for the club
Date of Birth
May 31, 1989