USMNT opens 2017 slate Sunday with friendly vs. Serbia in San Diego
CHICAGO (Via U.S. Soccer) – The U.S. Men’s National Team kicks begins 2017 under the direction of new head coach Bruce Arena on Sunday when they host Serbia at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. The first match of the year kicks off at 1 p.m. PT on ESPN2, UniMas and UDN.
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION (Club; Caps/Goals)
GOALKEEPERS (3): David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes; 2/0), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake; 21/0), Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls; 2/0)
DEFENDERS (8): DaMarcus Beasley (Unattached; 123/17),Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United; 9/1), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC; 26/1), Greg Garza (Atlanta United FC; 9/0), Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders FC; 11/1), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna, MEX; 0/0) Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas; 0/0), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City; 42/5)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union; 55/2), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC; 126/15), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City; 41/1), Jermaine Jones (LA Galaxy; 67/4), Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls; 51/6), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 0/0), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire; 5/0), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers; 10/1), Chris Pontius (Philadelphia Union 0/0)
FORWARDS (3): Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution; 21/3), Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC; 99/37), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 12/1),
BRUCE ARENA BEGINS SECOND TENURE AS MNT BOSS
Bruce Arena received his second appointment as U.S. Men’s National Team head coach on Nov. 22, 2016. Having recorded 71 victories during his first tenure (1998-2006) and leading the MNT to it’s best finish in the World Cup since 1930, Arena is the winningest coach in U.S. history and is charged with getting the USA back on track to qualify for its eighth-straight FIFA World Cup.
There is precious little time with this group, and virtually all of the players in camp are coming in from a long off-season. Arena has used the last three weeks to get acquainted with the domestic pool of players and try to get them up to speed, and will utilize Sunday’s friendly against Serbia and next Friday’s match against Jamaica as the only international tune-ups ahead of crucial World Cup Qualifying matches against Honduras (March 24) and away to Panama (March 28).
JOZY ALTIDORE SET TO BECOME LATEST MEMBER OF 100 CAP CLUB
It’s a pretty good bet that Jozy Altidore will play some part in Sunday’s friendly against Serbia. Should he do so, the Toronto FC striker will become the 17th player in U.S. MNT history to record 100 all-time international appearances. Having made his debut two weeks after his 18th birthday in 2007, Altidore will also become the second-youngest U.S. player to hit the century mark (27 years, 84 days) behind only Landon Donovan, who made his 100th appearance in 2008 at 26 years, 96 days. Learn more about the MNT’s 100 Cap Club .
JANUARY CAMP A PROVING GROUND
During his first tenure in charge of the U.S. Men’s National Team, it was head coach Bruce Arena that normalized the idea of January Camp, focused mainly on getting the MNT’s domestic-based player pool a jump on their club seasons and to give extended looks to players who had recently impressed. Many regular MNT contributors have jumpstarted their careers in January Camp, with the list including Pablo Mastroeni (2002), Tim Howard (2003), Jonathan Bornstein and Ricardo Clark(2007), Jozy Altidore and Maurice Edu (2008), Sacha Kljestan (2009), Geoff Cameron and Graham Zusi (2012), Matt Besler (2013), DeAndre Yedlin (2014), Gyasi Zardes (2015) and Steve Birnbaum (2016).
- This is the first meeting between the United States and the independent nation of Serbia, who is recognized by FIFA and UEFA as the predecessor to the Yugoslavian National Team.
- The USA twice before met Yugoslavia, falling 9-1 in the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne and 1-0 in the final Group Stage match of the 1998 FIFA World Cup.
USA ROSTER NOTES:
- A total of eight players have been part of a final World Cup roster, while 13 players have previous World Cup Qualifying experience for the U.S.
- Sitting at 99 international appearances, Jozy Altidore will look to become the 17th player to earn 100 caps for the U.S. MNT. Set to be 27 years, 84 days on Sunday, should he appear against Serbia, he would become the second-youngest player to hit a centenary number of caps behind only Landon Donovan (26 years, 96 days).
- Three players enter the match with hopes of earning their first MNT caps: Sebastian Lletget, Jorge Villafaña and Walker Zimmerman.
- Last appearing at MNT camp in October 2015, DaMarcus Beasley highlights a list of players that are looking for their first cap in more than a year. Other notable players include Chad Marshall (January 2010), Dax McCarty (January 2011), Benny Feilhaber (January 2013), Greg Garza (July 2015) and Rimando (April 2015).
- Seven players have previously played on Arena-led teams. Beasley, Michael Bradley, Marshall and Rimando were part of U.S. squads during his first tenure in charge of the MNT, while Arena managed Altidore during his time with the New York Red Bulls, and Sebastan Lletget and Gyasi Zardes with the LA Galaxy.
- Four players are alumni of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy: Juan Agudelo, Steve Birnbaum, Jordan Morris and Darlington Nagbe.
- With his next assist, Bradley will tie Cobi Jones for second on the MNT’s all-time assist list (21). Landon Donovan holds the record with 58.
GOALKEEPERS (2): Ognjen Cancarevic (Radnik Surdulica), Filip Manojlovic (Crvena Zvezda)
DEFENDERS (6): Nemanja Calasan (Spartak Subotica), Nikola Cirkovic (Vozdovac), Marko Klisura (Backa Panaka), Vladimir Kovacevic (Vojvodina), Nikola Maras (Rad), Nemanja Miletic (Partizan)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Enver Alivodic (Novi Pazar), Jovan Djokic (Atyrau, KAZ), Marko Gobeljic (Napredak Krusevac), Marko Javtovic (Partizan), Stefan Panic (Metalac), Srdjan Plavsic (Crvena Zvezda)
FORWARDS (4): Lazar Jovanovic (Borac Cacak), Sasa Jovanovic (Mladost Lucani), Marko Mrkic (Radnicki Nis), Aleksandar Palocevic (Vojvodina)
- Coming in at No. 45 in January’s FIFA World Rankings, Serbia (2-0-2; 8 points) are second in Group D of UEFA 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying , sitting two points behind Republic of Ireland for the group lead.
- Following Sunday’s friendly, the team’s next fixture away to Republic of Georgia on March 24 will mark the halfway point in their bid to qualify for their first major international competition since the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
- Much like January Camp is a gathering of mostly out-of-season domestic players, Serbia’s roster is composed almost entirely of players that play in the home SuperLiga, which is on winter break until Feb. 17.
- In selecting his roster, head coach Slavoljub Muslin has handed a chance to a number of players that were major contributors for their clubs in the first half of the SuperLiga campaign.
- Forwards Marko Mrkic (Radnick Nis) and Aleksandar Palocevic (Vojvodina) sit tied for fifth in the Serbian league with eight goals.