Europe-based US talent get call for Italy match

23 February 2012 06:16

Fulham striker Clint Dempsey and Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard were among 16 European-based US players named Thursday to the 21-man American roster for next Wednesday's football friendly against Italy.

Los Angeles Galaxy striker Landon Donovan could play alongside World Cup front-line partner Dempsey for the first time since German legend Jurgen Klinsmann took over last year as coach in the match at Genoa.

The Azzurri will be playing their 2012 opener ahead of June's European Championships in Poland and Ukraine. The Italians have been drawn alongside world champion Spain, Croatia and Republic of Ireland.

The Americans enter on a three-game win streak that began with a 3-2 victory over Slovenia last November and continued with 1-0 triumphs last month over Venezuela and Panama.

"We're looking forward to having all the European-based players back in the roster and picking up where we left off with them from the Slovenia game," said Klinsmann.

"It's very important we get these games and in particular playing them on the road. That?s when you really get players out of their comfort zone and they have to deal with a difficult environment on a physical and psychological level.

"Our roster is highly competitive and ready to give them a real fight."

Midfielder Michael Bradley is the only member of the US squad who is playing in Italy, having started 22 Serie A matches for Chievo.

"It's going to be a special game for Michael Bradley," said Klinsmann, who replaced Bradley's father Bob as the US coach. "It speaks well for him that he has already established himself as a consistent starter in a difficult league."

The Americans will prepare for their start of North American World Cup 2014 qualifying with home friendlies on May 26 against Scotland and May 30 against Brazil and a June 3 match at Canada.

The first CONCACAF regional qualifying match for the Americans will be at Tampa on June 8 against Antigua and Barbuda. Guatemala and Jamaica are also in the group, which will send two teams into next year's final qualifying for the 2014 showdown in Brazil.

Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa/ENG), Tim Howard (Everton/ENG), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra (Rangers/SCO), Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo), Timmy Chandler (Nuremberg/GER), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96/GER), Clarence Goodson (Brondby/DEN), Michael Parkhurst (FC Nordsjaelland/DEN), Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City/ENG)

Midfielders: Michael Bradley (Chievo/ITA), Maurice Edu (Rangers/SCO), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim/GER), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04/GER), Jose Torres (Pachuca/MEX), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim/GER)

Forwards: Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar/NED), Terrence Boyd (Borussia Dortmund/GER), Edson Buddle (LA Galaxy), Clint Dempsey (Fulham/ENG), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy)

Source: AFP