During this September camp, the U.S. Men’s National Team goalkeepers have been coached by National Team legend and soon-to-be National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee Kasey Keller. The MNT’s all-time leader in clean sheets, Keller’s most famous shutout and performance of his 102 international appearances came in the 1998 CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal against Brazil. Playing the then four-time World Cup champions just four months after France ’98, Keller made 10 memorable saves and Preki scored the lone goal as the U.S. beat Brazil 1-0 at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Legendary Brazilian striker Romario was so impressed by Keller’s performance that night that he shook the American goalkeeper’s hand after he’d made a save on his header in the 43rd minute, with the 1994 FIFA World Player of the Year remarking post-game, “That is the best performance by a goalkeeper I have ever seen.”
In 17 meetings, the win stands as the MNT’s only result against the five-time World Cup champions. With Keller serving as goalkeeping coach ahead of Tuesday night’s match against Brazil, he took a look back at that memorable evening of Feb. 10, 1998.
As the U.S. Men’s National Team ramps up its final preparations for next month’s CONCACAF Cup playoff with Mexico, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has brought several veteran faces back into the fold to compete for spots in October’s playoff.
Three of the players that return to the mix are midfielder Jermaine Jones, defender Matt Besler and goalkeeper Tim Howard – a trio that played nearly every minute of every match at last summer’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil. All recently absent from the team for different reasons, the three returned to MNT camp this week with joy at seeing teammates again and anticipation for the task ahead.
“It’s always nice to be back with the boys,” Jones told ussoccer.com Monday. “I think every player is happy to represent his country and I always want to play.”
Set to join the National Team for June’s friendlies against the Netherlands and Germany, Jones suffered a groin injury in his last match with the New England Revolution prior to leaving for the games. The injury required surgery, which subsequently kept him from last month’s CONCACAF Gold Cup.
While he got to see his teammates when they came to Boston for their second group match against Haiti, all he could do was watch. In the end, he felt the same disappointment as his teammates on the field when the U.S. fell 2-1 to Jamaica in the tournament semifinals, setting up October’s showdown with Mexico.
“It’s always bad if you have to fix an injury and be out because of it,” he said. “I was sad to sit upstairs and not play and watch on TV. I think the whole team isn’t happy with the result at the Gold Cup, but we have a chance on October 10 where we can fix it. This is the goal, and now we have two games with Brazil and Peru. I think we see them differently than other friendlies.”
Having first returned with New England a month ago, Jones has gradually built up his fitness, playing the first hour of the Revolution’s 1-0 win against the Philadelphia Union over the weekend.
“I try to get my fitness back,” he added. “I got 60 minutes with my club team now. It’s good to get a little bit harder training and get some good balance. I want to get my body to 100 percent as quick as possible.”
ussoccer.com: What was the approach to putting this roster together?
Jurgen Klinsmann: “The bigger picture is to get some answers for how we put things together for Mexico game a month from now. Obviously we want to continue to have a good flow of guys from the Gold Cup, but also to bring back guys who are in position to compete for a spot on the roster for Oct. 10. Our message to these guys is simple: prove a point that you want to be at the Rose Bowl.”
“With these games, it is not the time to be patient. This is really now time for the guys to make a really strong impression that they understand the situation we’re in because of what happened in the Gold Cup. These games are not about developing things for the future. This is about proving a point towards the Mexico game.”
ussoccer.com: What is the objective for these matches?
JK: “Coming into two games like this against Brazil, whose accomplishments speak for themselves, and Peru coming off a third place finish in Copa America, this is now a huge opportunity for the players to show us that they deserve to go to the Mexico clash. Initially with the games – and also going back to the games against Holland and Germany – our goal was to get these experiences for World Cup qualifying and Copa America next summer. Now obviously the focus has shifted and we are zoomed in on the CONCACAF Cup and qualifying for the Confederations Cup 2017 in Russia.”
ussoccer.com: How will having some of the veterans back help this team in camp?
JK: “We will just want to make it very, very intense and competitive from the first day on in training, so the veterans need to set the tone and they need to understand that there's a high energy there. The ones that were not a part of the Gold Cup, and the other ones that were with us before like a Danny Williams or a Bobby Wood, they need to prove a point now. This is really now about truly competing. It’s about competing for spots, competing for the Rose Bowl and obviously also towards the World Cup qualifiers.”
ussoccer.com: You said that you have been tracking Andrew Wooten for a while. What do you like about him and what kind of opportunity does he have with this camp?
JK: “We've been watching him for more than two years now and we like how dynamic he is and we like his nose for goals. He has a very good instinct of where the ball will drop in the box and knows how to finish things off. We don’t look at him as a youngster coming in because he's 25 years old and in a certain way he's a late bloomer. For him it's important not to lose one second of time to impress his teammates and obviously the coaching staff. It's a chance that he has been waiting for for a long time, and because he’s on a good run right now he deserves that chance, but he needs to jump in the cold water and right away swim really fast.”
ussoccer.com: Is there an opportunity for a player to step up in the striker position?
JK: “I think the situation with our forwards is wide open. Obviously the most consistent player over the last years with us has always been Clint Dempsey, but Clint right now also has some injury issues and is obviously not the youngest anymore, so we constantly try to develop the next wave of forwards and so far nobody has a real big advantage over another guy. This is really crucial for them to understand. There's a time period to break in and make yourself comfortable and be a part of a group, but there's also a time to understand the moment to step up and build your future in the team. Now after a year that we called a transition year where we developed young forwards like an Aron Johannsson and a Bobby Wood and obviously some others, we are eager to see the next generation of forwards becoming consistent. By that I mean first of all scoring goals.”
CHICAGO (Aug. 30, 2015) – U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has named the initial 23-player roster that will gather for friendlies against Peru and Brazil in the final preparation games before the decisive Oct. 10 playoff against Mexico at the Rose Bowl for a spot in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.
The U.S. faces Peru, which finished third in Copa America this summer, on Sept. 4 at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. (7 p.m. ET; FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports Go, UniMas, Univision Deportes Network) and four days later meets five-time World Cup champion Brazil at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts (8 p.m. ET; ESPN Networks, UniMas, Univision Deportes Network).
“The bigger picture is to get some answers for how we put things together for the Mexico game a month from now,” said Klinsmann. “Obviously we want to continue to have a good flow of guys from the Gold Cup, but also to bring back guys who are in position to compete for a spot on the roster for Oct. 10. Our message to these guys is simple: prove a point that you want to be at the Rose Bowl.”
A total of 15 players from the group were a part of the team that represented the United States this summer at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, and 12 join from the 2014 FIFA World Cup squad. The roster is loaded with experience, boasting an average of nearly 27 caps. Three players have 50 or more appearances, while only five have 10 caps or less.
Matt Besler and Jermaine Jones could see action for the first time since February and fellow 2014 World Cup teammates Geoff Cameron and Tim Howard are back in the mix for the first time in 2015. Meantime, SV Sandhausen forward Andrew Wooten will make his first appearance in an MNT camp, the 25-year-old having scored five goals in the first five games this season.
Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley and Seattle Sounders FC forward Clint Dempsey will be added to the U.S. roster for the match against Brazil, and goalkeeper William Yarbrough will return to his club and be replaced by Chicago Fire ‘keeper Sean Johnson. Any additional changes will be determined following the game against Peru.
U.S. Roster by Position: Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), William Yarbrough (Club Leon)
DEFENDERS (8): Ventura Alvarado (Club America), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Greg Garza (Atlas), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), Tim Ream (Fulham)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), 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 (5): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Aron Johannsson (Werder Bremen), Bobby Wood (Union Berlin), Andrew Wooten (SV Sandhausen), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)
While the MNT works on the east coast, the U-23 Men’s National Team will hold a camp of its own in England, where it will play both England and Qatar in its final preparation before it competes for a spot in the 2015 Olympic Games in Rio at the 2015 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Championship, which runs from Oct. 1-13 in the United States.
- Six different players from this roster have scored for the USA in 2015: Jozy Altidore, John Brooks, Mix Diskerud, Aron Johannsson, Danny Williams and Gyasi Zardes
- Brad Guzan earned Golden Glove honors as the top goalkeeper at this summer’s Gold Cup. He has posted a 7-2-3 record since September of last year.
- DaMarcus Beasley aggravated a right calf injury on Aug. 29 in a 2-0 win for Houston Dynamo and is not available for selection.
- Gyasi Zardes was called in for his first MNT camp in January and has appeared in 13 games in 2015, starting in 10. The LA Galaxy forward has scored twice and assisted on three goals for the United States
- Bobby Wood was given the summer off to settle in with his new German club, Union Berlin. Wood has started all three of the team’s 2 Bundesliga games and scored his first goal on Aug. 16. The Hawaii-native scored late game-winners in back-to-back appearances in June, burying a goal in the 90th minute against Netherlands and following up with another against Germany five days later.
- The last time Tim Howard was on the field for the USA, he made 15 saves in the MNT’s Round of 16 matchup with Belgium in the 2014 World Cup.
- Matt Besler is back in the mix for the first time since the Feb. 8 win against Panama. Besler is the captain of MLS club Sporting KC and is one of three MNT players on this roster – along with Tim Howard and Jermaine Jones - to have appeared in all four matches in the 2014 World Cup.
- John Brooks has a pair of clutch international goals to his name. He headed in the game-winner against Ghana in the USA’s 2014 World Cup opener and scored the first of the MNT’s three second-half goals in the 4-3, comeback win against sixth-ranked Netherlands in June.
- Ventura Alvarado has appeared in seven of the last eight MNT matches since making his debut in a U.S. uniform on March 25 against Denmark. He became cap-tied to the U.S. after starting in the first match of the Gold Cup against Honduras on July 7. Alvarado is a regular starter for the Club America team that captured the CONCACAF Champions League title and earned a trip to the FIFA Club World Cup.
- Geoff Cameron has started and played 90 minutes in all of Stoke City’s 2015 Premier League matches. He last appeared for the MNT on Nov. 18, 2014, against Ireland. The game against Brazil will be a homecoming of sorts for the center back, who was born and raised in Attleboro, Massachusetts.
- Michael Orozco returns to the MNT for the first time since June. Orozco – who moved to Club Tijuana this summer - came on in the second half of the game against Netherlands, where he played a part in the MNT’s comeback win.
- Tim Ream, who recently completed a transfer to Fulham, earned honors as the Player of the Year for his former club Bolton in each of the last two seasons.
- Jermaine Jones has recovered from the injury that kept him out of this summer’s Gold Cup and is back with the MNT for the first time since February.
- Alfredo Morales played a key role in FC Ingolstadt securing first place in the second division in Germany last year and its subsequent promotion to the Bundesliga. Morales, who holds Peruvian citizenship through his father, has started in each of the team’s first three matches.
- Yedlin has appeared in 13 of the 14 MNT matches in 2015 and has tallied three assists, which ties for second on the team with Gyasi Zardes, behind Michael Bradley’s five.
- Jozy Altidore has two goals and an assist this year with the MNT. The Toronto FC forward was with the U.S. for the group stage of the Gold Cup. In six appearances with Toronto since the summer tournament he has scored three goals.
- Aron Johannsson recently completed a transfer from Dutch club AZ Alkmaar to Bundesliga team Werder Bremen. In his final season with AZ, he recorded four goals in the team’s last three matches to help the team snatch the third spot in the Dutch Eredivisie and a place in the 2016 UEFA Europa League. Johansson made his Bundesliga debut in the opening game of the season against Schalke and followed up with his first start a week later in Werder’s match against Hertha BSC.
- This will be the first camp with the senior MNT for Andrew Wooten. The German-American is off to a hot start in 2 Bundesliga at SV Sandhausen, having scored five goals in five games.
An athletic and intelligent goalkeeper, Howard has cemented his place in the line of great U.S. goalkeepers. Since 2007, Howard has occupied the No. 1 position for the USA, and his leadership and big-game credentials have continued to flourish year after year. Howard is equally indispensable for Everton, where he has served as the undisputed starter for several years, making more than 200 appearances, and has led his team to places in European competition and the FA Cup final. Howard is a commanding veteran personality who is relied upon by his teammates for calmness and the ability to make key saves.
- Made 16 saves against Belgium on July 1 in the Round of 16 of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, a World Cup record
- Started all of the U.S. MNT's 2014 FIFA World Cup games
- Howard has the most wins (55) and appearances (104) among U.S. goalkeepers, and also sits in second place in shutouts (35)
- Became the 15th player in U.S. history to get 100 caps when he started against Nigeria on June 7
- Moved ahead of Tony Meola with his 33rd-career shutout in a 2-0 victory against Jamaica on Oct. 11, 2013, that helped the U.S. MNT win its third straight Hexagonal
- Tied for first in team appearance with 15 in 2011 – a career high
- Holds second place on the all-time list for victories amongst U.S. goalkeepers
- His stellar effort in the 1-1 draw against England in the USA’s opening match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup earned him the Best Performance: Player award for the 2010 Best of U.S. Soccer Awards
- One of five U.S. players to play every minute of the World Cup in South Africa
- His shutout against then No. 1-ranked Spain in the semifinal of the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup helped him earn the Golden Glove award as the tournament’s best goalkeeper
- Finished the 2010 World Cup qualifying cycle with 13 appearances, earning six clean sheets and registering a 0.92 GAA as the team topped the final round standings while booking a place in South Africa
- Named the English Premier League Goalkeeper of the Year in 2004 while playing for Manchester United
Date of Birth
Mar 6, 1979
North Brunswick, N.J.