As expected, Philadelphia Union midfielder Maurice Edu was named to U.S. men’s national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s 30-player World Cup training camp squad on Monday.
"I'm very excited to go there representing not only myself and my family, but also the Unoin. Now I need to go in there and work hard and get on that plane to Brazil.
Training sessions will begin Wednesday, May 14 at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. Edu has ben permitted to report after the Union's game at Sporting Kansas City that night, as have Sporting's Matt Besler and Graham Zusi.
Here is the full 30-man roster:
Goalkeepers (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa/England), Tim Howard (Everton/England), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
Defenders (11): DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla/Mexico), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin/Germany), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Nürnberg/Germany), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Omar González (Los Angeles Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim/Germany), Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders)
Midfielders (10): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes/France), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana/Mexico), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg/Sweden), Maurice Edu (Philadelphia Union), Julian Green (Bayern Munich/Germany), Jermaine Jones (Beşiktaş/Turkey), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Forwards (6): Jozy Altidore (Sunderland/England), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna/Austria), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Aron Jóhannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
Klinsmann has until June 2 to decide which of those 30 players make it on to the final 23-player team. He said he'll make the cuts after the June 1 game against Turkey at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.
"The next three weeks are definitely about the form that they are in," Klinsmann told reporters on a conference call Monday afternoon. "The players know - I don't have to name them right now - that they have a battle ahead of them."
Those words could apply to Edu in particular. He played at the 2010 World Cup, his chances of making it to Brazil are precarious. Union fans might not want to hear this, but regardless of his own performances, the team's overall struggles likely haven't helped.
Looking at the squad, it could be inferred that Edu and Beckerman are competing to back up Jermaine Jones at the defensive midfield spot. Geoff Cameron could also fill in that role if necessary. Cameron's ability to also play both at centerback and right back makes him a lock to be on the plane - as does his strong form for Stoke this season.
Overall, the most surprising exclusions are D.C. United striker Eddie Johnson and Puebla (Mexico) central defender Michael Orozco Fiscal.
Johnson played a big role in World Cup qualifying, with two goals in five games, and scored three times in 11 other U.S. appearances after qualifying started. He also showed some unexpected versatility in qualifying, playing well on the left wing as well as centrally. But he hasn't scored all year for D.C., and because of that he fell down the depth chart.
"It has to do a little bit with that we only take only six forwards into the 30-man roster, and in those forwards I also see Landon Donovan competing for one of those spots," Klinsmann sad. "You try to make them understand that it's very little things that move a coach toward this or that player. That's what I did in my conversation with him."
Klinsmann added that he did not see Johnson's recent public cricticism of his D.C. United teammates as a reason to keep him out.
Johnson tweeted a brief lament:
ESPN's Doug McIntyre noted that Johnson continues a bit of an odd trend over the U.S.' World Cup history:
Player who scored WC berth-clinching goal for #usmnt won’t make final roster for 3rd straight cycle (Ralston ’05, Casey ’09, EJ ’13).— Doug McIntyre (@DougMacESPN) May 12, 2014
Orozco Fiscal provides valuable depth in the middle of the back line, but suffered an injury last month. That ruled him out.
"You try to encourage them as much as you can to look ahead," Klinsmann said. "They're still part of the national team program after the World Cup."
Klinsmann added that he made the calls in just the last few days.
The most surprising inclusions are outside defenders Timmy Chandler and DeAndre Yedlin.
Chandler has loads of talent and potential, but hasn't played for the national team in 15 months. His last appearance was the World Cup qualifier at Honduras on February 6, 2013, and he has pulled out of some announced call-ups since then.
That led to quite a bit of criticism from U.S. fans and media. It has died down over the last few months, but only because Chandler has seemed to be totally out of the picture.
"He knew that he had to do a lot more work to come back into our picture," Klinsmann said. "He had to be very patient, but he kind of got the message and worked harder, and played at a very high level throughout the season."
Or at least Chandler did until February, when he tore the meniscus in his left knee and had to sit out two months.
"I encouraged him always to keep going, and he's fully fit again," Klinsmann said. "I think he's a player that can make a difference if he's on his highest level. He has the experience to play against very good and strong players throughout Europe, and that's why he earned his way back into the group."
Yedlin definitely has the commitment, but he's just 20 years old. No one questions his talent or potential, but can he really handle the world's top attacking players? Given Klinsmann's lack of depth at outside back, Yedlin could get thrown into the fire.
It's more likely, though, that Yedlin will join Edu in leaving the training camp when the final cuts are made.
Of both Yedlin and fellow youngster Julian Green, Klinsmann said simply: "We'll see over the next three weeks whether they are ready for the World Cup or not."
Here is a schedule of public events from now until the U.S. leaves for Brazil. All times are Eastern unless otherwise noted.
Monday, May 26
5:00 p.m. Pacific Time: Public training session at Candlestick Park, San Francisco, Calif. (8:00 p.m. Eastern, but the local time of more relevance for people who are going)
Tuesday, May 27
10:00 p.m. Eastern/7:00 p.m. Pacific: United States vs. Azerbaijan at Candlestick Park, San Francisco, Calif. (ESPN2, UniMás)
There will be a Fan Fest outside the stadium starting at 5:00 p.m. PT, which is also when the suite and hospitality gates open. General gates open at 5:30 p.m. PT. In addition to the usual raft of promotions, games and so forth, there will be appearances by former U.S. national team players.
Friday, May 30: Fan Appreciation Day in New York
8:00 a.m.: U.S. team players appear on ABC’s “Good Morning America” with famed rapper 50 Cent. The show is free and open to the public for watching from Times Square, at 44th Street and Broadway.
1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.: Fan fest in Times Square, free and open to the public
5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.: Special live “ESPN FC” show broadcast from Times Square
7:30 p.m.: ESPN’s “Men in Blazers” podcast hosts a show from the Town Hall Theater, 44th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues, with members of the 2014 and 1994 U.S. World Cup teams. Tickets range from $20-35 and are available here.
Saturday, May 31
11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Free public training session at Red Bull Arena, Harrison, N.J.
Sunday, June 1
2:00 p.m.: United States vs. Turkey at Red Bull Arena, Harrison. N.J. (ESPN2/UniMás)
There will be a Fan Fest outside starting at 12:00 p.m., similar to the one in San Francisco. Suite and hospitality gates will open at the same hour. General gates open at 12:30 p.m.
Friday, June 6
5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.: Free public training session at EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Fla.
Saturday, June 7
6:00 p.m.: United States vs. Nigeria at EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Fla.
There will be a Fan Fest outside the stadium starting at 4:00 p.m., similar to the one in San Francisco. Suite and hospitality gates will open at the same hour. General gates open at 4:30 p.m.