Juan Agudelo's 2013 MLS season with the New England Revolution and Chivas USA didn't just get a new contract over in Europe.
Agudelo was among the 24 names on Jurgen Klinsmann's list to face Ukraine on Wednesday, March 5th next week. The match has been moved to a neutral venue in Cyprus due to the ongoing political unrest in Ukraine.
It will be the first appearance with the United States since a late 2012 game against Russia, where he appeared as a substitute and assisted on this Michael Bradley goal. Agudelo has 17 career appearances with the USMNT including 14 in 2011, a record for Americans with the national team in a calendar year.
The full USMNT roster is very European heavy, with only three players (Bradley, Dempsey and Castillo) called in from non-European leagues.
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)
There are a lot of regulars in the squad and the real battle will be in the defense. Most of Jurgen Klinsmann's starting defense, Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler and Brad Evans, all play in MLS. With the exception of Cameron, there won't be a regular starter in the defense. That means a huge opportunity to guys like Onyewu, Ream and Packwood and Castillo to make one last case for Brazil or put their names back into the conversation for competitions and qualifiers going forward.
The midfield should largely remain the same in the middle with Bradley and Jones but it's still a big game for other regulars to cement themselves on the roster going forward. Players like Mix Diskerud and Sacha Kljestan have gotten regular minutes with the USMNT but have failed to lockdown a regular position. Brek Shea had a good Gold Cup run last year but has failed to impress in England with Stoke City and subsequent loan to Barnsley.
I'd expect to see some sort of combination of Johannsson and Altidore again, as well as other combinations with attacking midfielders. But forwards also have a interesting dynamic because this could be the last chance for someone like Boyd or Agudelo to impress before the final US camps going into Brazil. Youngster Julian Green has been called up for training camp only and will not be available to play against Ukraine.
It's hard to point to any real surprises here. Danny Williams has been in good form of late and he will make his first appearance in well over a year. Morales has just one appearance, as a substitute vs. Canada in January of 2013 in his international career and would be unlikely to see action. Cropper, who just turned 21, is back in camp and despite being the third keeper has a very bright future with the USA.
The game vs. Ukraine will be televised on ESPN2 and kickoff is scheduled for 2PM EST on March 5.
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