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Klinsmann Calls in 24 Players for Training Camp in Preparation for March 5 Match Against Ukraine in Cyprus

CHICAGO (Feb. 27, 2014) – U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has called in 24 players to training camp in Frankfurt, Germany, to begin preparations for its match against Ukraine on March 5 in Larnaca, Cyprus.

The match was previously set to be played in Kharkiv, Ukraine, but the location was changed due to current conditions in the country. Kickoff at Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium in Larnaca is set for 2 p.m. ET (9 p.m. local), and the match will be broadcast on ESPN2, WatchESPN and UniMas. Fans can also follow the match live on Twitter @ussoccer.

“In conjunction with the Football Federation of Ukraine, we have moved the match on March 5 to Larnaca, Cyprus,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “We appreciate the efforts of Ukraine and the Cyprus Football Association as we worked through this situation.”

The last time the U.S. Men’s National Team played an international friendly on neutral ground was against Poland on March 1, 2006, in Kaiserslautern, Germany, where a goal from current U.S. captain Clint Dempsey sealed a 1-0 USA victory.

“Finding a solution and moving the game outside the country and playing in Cyprus is helpful for both of us,” said Klinsmann. “It’s definitely a very good ‘Plan B,’ and we very much appreciate it and say thank you to the Ukraine Federation and the Cyprus Federation.

The match falls on the only FIFA international fixture date before May, making this the one opportunity for European-based players to play for the National Team prior to the start of the World Cup preparation camp. The team will begin gathering in Frankfurt on Sunday, March 2, for two days of training before traveling to play for the first time in Cyprus.

“This game is a huge opportunity, mainly for our European-based players, for those guys to prove to us that they are eager and hungry to jump on the train to the FIFA World Cup,” said Klinsmann. “With this game being the only chance for these players before our World Cup preparation camp begins, it’s even more important they have a good showing.”

A total of 21 players on the roster ply their trade in Europe. Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley, Seattle Sounders FC forward Dempsey and Club Tijuana defender Edgar Castillo are the only representatives on the squad from North American teams. In addition, 18-year-old Bayern Munich forward Julian Green will participate in training camp, but is not yet eligible to play in a match for the United States.

U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION – DETAILED ROSTER
GOALKEEPERS (3): Cody Cropper (Southampton), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton)
DEFENDERS (7): John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt), Oguchi Onyewu (Sheffield Wednesday), Will Packwood (Birmingham City), Tim Ream (Bolton Wanderers)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Besiktas), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Brek Shea (Barnsley), Danny Williams (Reading)
FORWARDS (6): Juan Agudelo (Utrecht), Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar)

ROSTER NOTES

  • Clint Dempsey finished with six goals in 2013, which equals a career high that he set last year. He is concluding a two-month loan spell with Fulham and will return to Seattle following the match against Ukraine.
  • Tim Howard has earned 96 caps and is four shy of becoming the third goalkeeper in U.S. history to reach 100 appearances. He also has 34 career shutouts for the United States, holding second place all-time ahead of National Soccer Hall of Famer Tony Meola.
  • Jozy Altidore had eight goals in 2013 and has 21 all-time, including four in World Cup Qualifiers. He set a team record by scoring in five consecutive games, and with his three-goal performance against Bosnia became the third player to score two career hat tricks for the U.S. National Team, joining Landon Donovan and Peter Millar. Altidore’s Sunderland side faces Manchester City in the League Cup final on Sunday at Wembley Stadium.
  • AZ Alkmaar striker Aron Johannsson has posted 22 goals in all competitions this season, including nine in league play. Johannsson scored the game-winning goal against Panama in the USA’s last World Cup Qualifier in the 2014 cycle, a 3-2 win on Oct. 15, 2013, in Panama City. Born in Mobile, Ala., he completed his change of association from Iceland in time to enter as a substitute in the 63rd minute of the USA’s 4-3 win against Bosnia.
  • Terrence Boyd has 13 goals in all competitions for Rapid Vienna in this campaign, including eight in the Austrian Bundesliga and five in the Europa League.
  • Mix Diskerud is the only player on the roster to participate in the USA’s opening match of 2014, a 2-0 win against Korea Republic. He has appeared in 14 of the USA’s last 15 matches dating back to July 5, 2013, against Guatemala. Remarkably, the United States holds a record of 13-1-3 all-time in games in which Diskerud has appeared.
  • Geoff Cameron has snatched the regular role as right back at Stoke City, starting in 26 of 27 games in the Premier League this season. Having played as a central and wide defender as well in central midfield for the USA, he started in a total of six matches in 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying
  • Brad Guzan backstopped three huge results in qualifying in 2013, collecting back-to-back clean sheets against Costa Rica in the Snow Clasico and the historic 0-0 draw against Mexico four days later, and then helping the U.S. to a 3-2 win against Panama in the final game of the Hexagonal. He has posted five shutouts in eight career World Cup qualifiers.
  • Jermaine Jones joins the squad for the first time since moving to Besiktas on loan in January, although a groin issue has prevented him from seeing action so far in Istanbul.
  • Midfielder Fabian Johnson has secured a move next season from Hoffenheim to Borussia Moenchengladbach – the former club of Michael Bradley.
  • Hertha Berlin defender John Brooks gets his third look with the Senior Team. The 20-year-old dual citizen of the United States and Germany has made two previous appearances, having started in the win against Bosnia and the game in Austria.
  • Alejandro Bedoya, who transferred to Nantes in Ligue 1 in France last summer, got on the scoresheet for the first time in his international career when he tallied in the USA’s 6-0 win against Guatemala on July 5 in San Diego.
  • Brek Shea is back in the squad for the first time since helping the U.S. to the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup title. Shea scored the lone goal in the USA’s 1-0 win against Panama in the championship final.
  • Oguchi Onyewu returns to the U.S. fold for the first time since being a part of the squad that won the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup last July.
  • Tim Ream, a regular starter at Bolton, gets his first call up since the 4-3 win against Bosnia-Herzegovina in August.
  • It has been more than a year since Reading midfielder Danny Williams saw action for the U.S., having last earned minutes in the 2-1 loss to Honduras on Feb. 6, 2013, in San Pedro Sula. He has started the last 15 league games for Reading and has scored twice this month.
  • Will Packwood has the chance to earn his first cap for the Senior National Team. The 20-year-old defender plays alongside Jonathan Spector at Birmingham City. A leg injury prevented Packwood from participating in the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

MNT Weekend TV Schedule: Race for the World Cup Roster

Another weekend will see a smattering of U.S. Men’s National Team players take the field across Europe and south of the Rio Grande as well. Only a few matches featuring U.S. players will be broadcast on TV in the States, but the offering of do-or-die FA Cup matches in England and a chance for Puebla to knock off Liga MX leaders Cruz Azul offer an excellent opportunity to scout a handful of players that will also be playing to earn a call up to the U.S. squad for its next friendly on March 5 against Ukraine in Kharkiv.

U.S. Men’s National Team on TV (all times ET) :

SATURDAY
FOX Sports 2
SUNDERLAND-SOUTHAMPTON (live) 7:30 a.m. (FA Cup)
Jozy Altidore

FOX SoccerPlus
SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY-CHARLTON ATHLETIC (live) 10 a.m. (FA Cup)
Oguchi Onyewu

beIN SPORTS Play
NICE-NANTES (live) 1:45 p.m. (Ligue 1)
Alejandro Bedoya

Univision
CRUZ AZUL-PUEBLA (live) 6 p.m. (Liga MX)
DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Orozco

SUNDAY
FOX Sports 1
EVERTON-SWANSEA (live) 8:30 a.m. (FA Cup)
Tim Howard

FOX Soccer Plus
SHEFFIELD UNITED-NOTTINGHAM FOREST (live) 10 a.m. (FA Cup)
Eric Lichaj

beIN SPORTS
QPR-READING (delay) 1 p.m. (English League Championship)
Danny Williams

Career Memories Against Jamaica

The 20 lifetime matches against Jamaica have produced some special moments for players in their careers - Joe-Max Moore scoring the pair that led to the USA’s qualification for the 2002 FIFA World Cup immediately comes to mind. But there are three players on this particular roster that will count experiences against Jamaica as some of their most memorable. Did you know…

- Clint Dempsey earned his first cap against Jamaica, appearing as a sub in the 1-1 draw on Nov. 17, 2004, in Columbus. He has two career goal against the Reggae Boyz, scoring the fastest goal in U.S. history when he struck 36 seconds in to the 2-1 loss in the Semifinal Round qualifier here in Jamaica. He also netted the insurance goal in the 2-0 win on June 19, 2011, in the quarterfinal of the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

- The game-winner that day was scored by Jermaine Jones, marking his first international goal for the United States against Jamaica. Born to American father who served in the U.S. military, Jones famously saluted in his goal celebration to recognize his dad. Jones has added one more goal to his tally, scoring in the 5-1 thrashing of Scotland on May 26, 2012 in Jacksonville.

- Danny Williams officially became cap tied to the United States after he represented the U.S. in
official competition, starting in the qualifier on Sept. 7, 2011, here last year. A dual German-American citizen, he played his first match for the United States on Oct. 8, 2011, against Honduras. He now has 12 appearances overall.

MNT in Action Today

Fans that can’t wait to see the U.S. Men’s National Team in action again starting on May 29 can get a taste today as MNT players are involved in some crucial fixtures today. Edgar Castillo, Joe Corona and Club Tijuana look to continue their magical run in Copa Libertadores in the first leg of the quarterfinals at home against Atlético Mineiro (that game can be seen at 8:30 ET on Fox Deportes); and Fabian Johnson, Danny Williams and Hoffenheim face a tough test against Kaiserslautern in the first leg of the German relegation playoffs (That game can be seen at 2:30 ET on Gol TV).

Hoffenheim is going into one of the most important fixtures in club history with an abundance of much needed momentum. In its latest fixture, Hoffenheim earned an impressive 2-1 victory in one of the most thrilling games of the season against German giants and UEFA Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund by converting two late penalty kicks in the final 15 minutes of the match. Hoffenheim also holds the head-to-head advantage with Kaiserslautern, posting four wins and two draws the last six times these sides have met.

Club Tijuana will meet Ronaldinho and top-seeded Brazilian side Atlético Mineiro as considerable underdogs, which has been a central theme for Los Xolos during their unexpected run in Copa Libertadores. Tijuana earned an impressive 2-1 win against Palmeiras, with all goals coming in the second leg on the road in Brazil. To recreate that result in the quarterfinals Tijuana will need to get off to a good start tonight at home, where they have been one of the tournament’s best teams.

MNT Weekend Recap

With most of the European seasons heading for their climactic conclusion, members of the MNT still have plenty to play for. Here’s a snapshot of the weekend activity that saw some clubs move closer to places in Europe next season, others battling to avoid relegation and league titles left on the line.

Clint Dempsey kept Tottenham Hotspur’s Champions League hopes alive with a goal and an assist in its 2-1 victory against Stoke City. With one game remaining, Spurs sit in fourth place in the Premier League and would currently qualify for Champions League Qualifying. There’s still room to move up as they are three points behind Chelsea, and also room to drop with Arsenal just two points behind and a game in hand.

In a week that he was voted Aston Villa Player of the Year, Brad Guzan made a trio of saves in the 2-1 loss to Chelsea on Friday. Currently in 16th place and five points clear of relegation, the season finale against Wigan Athletic this Sunday could turn into a winner-take-all.

Michael Bradley and AS Roma played to a 0-0 draw against third place AC Milan at the San Siro. While spoiling Milan’s opportunity to clinch Champions League Qualifying, the result left Roma outside of qualifying for the Europa League through league play. They still have a shot with a win in the Coppa Italia Final on May 26 against Lazio.

Steve Cherundolo set a new appearance record for Hannover 96, playing in his 299th Bundesliga game for the German club in a 3-1 loss to Bayer Leverkusen. “The Mayor of Hannover” is in his 14th season, having joined Hannover in 1999.

Jermaine Jones and Schalke are still in the running for the Champions League Qualifying despite a 2-1 loss to VfB Stuttgart. Jones played 90 minutes as he continues to reach full fitness after recovering from an ankle injury suffered in the 1-0 win against Costa Rica on March 22 in Denver.

Fabian Johnson came off the bench and picked up an assist in Hoffenheim’s 2-1 loss to Hamburg SV, leaving the side in 17th place and needing a win on the final matchday to have a shot at avoiding relegation. Danny Williams didn’t dress for the match, still on the mend from an ankle injury.

Jozy Altidore completed his record-breaking season for AZ Alkmaar against Willem II. His 31 goals in all competitions is a new record for most goals scored by an American in Europe, surpassing the mark set by Dempsey last season.

Clarence Goodson scored the opening goal of the match for Brondby in their 1-1 draw against Aalborg BK. Brondby sits in 10th place in the Danish Superligaen with 33 points, just two points away from relegation. Goodson’s goals have proved fortuitous in Denmark, the team having never lost when Goodson’s name is on the scoresheet (3-0-2)

Herculez Gomez and Santos Laguna beat Atlas 3-1 and advanced to the semifinals of the Liga MX playoffs. Santos will face Cruz Azul in the first leg Thursday, with Monterrey and Club America paired in the other semifinal. Gomez could have a second shot at a trophy this season, having previously reached the finals of the CONCACAF Champions League.

Crunch Time

With less than three weeks to go before the National Team convenes in California for the start of the “super summer,” domestic leagues are heading toward their conclusions and there is still much to be decided. For many of the MNT players there is still plenty to play for, with spots in European competition up for grabs and relegation fights still ongoing. In either case, it’s the type of pressure and competition that U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann wants to see his players face and overcome. Here are some of the things to watch for this weekend.

(For a complete list of the MNT on TV click here)

ENGLAND
Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard remain locked in tight races to see who will qualify for Champions League and Europa League next season. Only six points separate third through sixth place, but the difference in final position is huge. Third means an automatic spot in the Champions League, while fourth gets you in qualifying and fifth into the Europa League. As it stands, Spurs hold the fifth spot on 62 points and Everton sit three behind. Spurs will host Southampton (Saturday at 10 a.m. ET on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes), while Everton face a visit to Anfield for the Merseyside derby, hoping to win there for the first time in 14 years (Sunday at 8:30 a.m. on FOX Soccer).

At the other end of the table, Brad Guzan and Aston Villa can take another huge step toward avoiding relegation when they travel to Norwich (Saturday at 10 a.m. ET on FOX Soccer). The Villains are 4-2-1 in their last six and are coming off a confidence-boosting 6-1 thumping of Sunderland. On 37 points and tied with Newcastle and Sunderland with three games remaining, they are currently five points clear of the drop zone.

In the League Championship, the race is on for spots in the Promotion Playoffs and it’s a virtual win-and-you’re-in scenario for Stuart Holden and Blackburn. Currently in sixth place and holding the last spot, they are tied with Nottingham Forest on 67 points but ahead on goal differential (plus-8 to plus-5). A victory at home to Blackpool should get the job done for Rovers. Nottingham Forest host Leicester City, who are two points off the pace and must win to have any hope of advancing.

GERMANY
Jermaine Jones and Schalke are facing stiff competition from Eintracht Frankfurt and Freiburg for the Champions League qualification spot. Schalke are in the pole position on 49 points, three ahead of Frankfurt and four beyond Freiburg with three games to go. Back from an injury, Jones looks to start against Moenchengladbach this afternoon (2:30 p.m. ET on GolTV). Fabian Johnson and Danny Williams are still trying to help Hoffenheim avoid relegation. Currently in 17th place, they are three points adrift and have a huge opportunity away to Werder Bremen, who is one of two teams just above them. Williams continues to be sidelined with an ankle injury. U.S. MNT scouts Andi Herzog and Matthias Hamann will be on hand.

ITALY
Michael Bradley and Roma are locked in a tight contest for a Europa League spot, with the Romans currently holding fifth place and the last spot with four games to play. Udinese, Inter Milan and derby rivals Lazio are still knocking on the door, and Roma faces a tough tie at fourth place Fiorentina (Sunday at 2:45 p.m. ET – delay at 4 p.m. ET on beIN SPORT).

BELGIUM
Two-time defending champion Anderlecht are in second place in the Belgian league playoffs with four games remaining, one behind group leaders Zulte-Waregem. With only four points separating the top five teams, the truth is it’s anybody’s ball game at this point, and Sacha Kljestan and Co. take their next step Sunday at home against Standard Liege.

MEXICO
First place in the 2013 Liga MX Torneo Clausura comes down to the final matchday and a top of the table clash with Club America and Tigres. Jose Torres has been a regular starter for Tigres, who are even on points with their hosts but behind on goal differential, which means only a victory would put them over the top. (Saturday at 6 p.m. on Univision)

A resourceful player who is industrious and technically sound, Williams can be deployed in a variety of positions. A dual citizen of Germany and the United States, he has chosen to represent the U.S. Men’s National Team and appeared against Honduras on Oct. 8, 2011, becoming the first player to earn his first cap under head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. Williams joined Hoffenheim in the German Bundesliga at the end of August in a three-year deal from SC Freiburg. 

  • Earned his first start in the 1-0 win against Honduras on Oct. 8, becoming the first player to debut for the United States under Jurgen Klinsmann
  • Started four of six FIFA World Cup qualifiers in the Semifinal Round
  • Played in all four matches for which he was eligible in 2011, starting three
  • Established himself as an important players for Hoffenheim soon after his arrival in 2011
2012: Officially tied to the U.S. National Team after appearing in the World Cup qualifier in Jamacia on Sept. 7 ... Started the next three qualifiers ... Injuries made him unavailable for the matches in May and June ... Etched places in the first XI for the historic 1-0 wins against Italy and Mexico ... Appeared in seven games overall, six as a starter ... 2011: Made four appearances for the U.S., including three starts … Started in three consecutive matches, beginning with the 1-0 win against Honduras on Oct. 8 in Miami … Received his first call up to the national team ahead of the matches against Honduras and Ecuador in October … First Appearance: Oct. 8, 2011, vs. Honduras … First Goal: None.
2012: Played in all but three of the first 17 Budesliga games to begin the season, starting 13 ... Along with U.S. teammate Fabian Johnson, scored in the 3-1 win against Hannover on Sept. 23 ... 2011-12:  Became a regular fixture on the field in only his first season for Hoffenheim, making 24 league appearances ... Added an assist in his debut for the club in the 4-0 win against FSV Mainz on Sept. 10 … Joined Bundesliga club 1899 Hoffenheim on Aug. 31, 2011 … 2010-11: Had two starts in his nine games with SC Freiburg in all competitions … 2009-10: Started five of his six appearances for Freiburg … Made his senior debut on Jan. 22, 2010, against Stuttgart after working his way up through the SC Freiburg youth and reserve system.
A dual citizen of Germany and the United States, he was born to an American father who served in the U.S. military and a German mother … Secured his U.S. passport on Sept. 30, 2011 … Lists Miami Heat as his favorite NBA team, attending one of their home games in the 2011 NBA Finals. 
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