AMSTERDAM — Even the grinchiest US national team observer would have trouble fussing and frowning over the January camp squad named by head coach Jurgen Klinsmann on Thursday. The truth, cold as winter, is the boss ticked off several highly-anticipated boxes with a compelling selection.
Of course, it's so incredibly easy to sit at the computer and pick at the edges — so let's go ahead and get that out of the way. If there is any complaint to be made, it's that a roster of 20 seems overly small for this annual look-see camp. As such, we present five guys that may deserve a belated invite.
It's great to have natural 4-3-3 wingback Heath Pearce healthy again and in the mix. He is the only one for the left side, however, that tiny roster can make one wonder why a pro so steady they should have named him Eddie isn't invited.
The shameful reality for a soccer bubble always echoing with left back whines: Dunivant, a 2011 Best XI selection, has won more MLS Cups (three) than US caps (two) in his eight-year career.
Upon initial sight of the call-up list, the first name that popped into my head as being conspicuously absent belongs to the Aalborg BK attack engine. Rolfe's had a good season, displaying big-play capabilities in Denmark, and the camp wing options are a little thin.
To that end, it's doubtful Houston's Brad Davis couldn't also be along. Upon arrival, he'd be the best restart man, if not also the best crosser.
So Klinsi is desperate for a central defender that can hold fort and move the ball along efficiently. Yes, we've finally got Geoff Cameron into camp, but there's room for more in January. It says here Parke is long overdue for a look.
Speaking of centerbacks comfortable on the ball, why has the Crew stalwart been on a USMNT milk carton for nearly two years? Enough said.
Nick LaBrocca/Dax McCarty
You can pick your favorite of the two or just take them both in place of curious choice Ricardo Clark, who hasn't appeared in a club match since July and was slipping down the US depth chart before then.
It's understandable to want to help keep his form up, if not also spur job transfer interest, but is that proper reason for selection in a group of just 20? The roster looks light on midfielders comfortable covering ground with both bite and ideas going forward.