Jurgen Klinsmann's youth movement continues.
On Sunday, the U.S. coach announced the national team's roster for Wednesday's friendly at Denmark (3 p.m. ET, ESPN2/WatchESPN) and another on March 31 against Switzerland. While youngsters Julian Green and DeAndre Yedlin (both of whom have failed to break in with their European clubs this season) made the 23-man squad, fellow World Cup veterans Matt Besler, Geoff Cameron and Omar Gonzalez did not.
Cameron's omission was perhaps most surprising. Stoke City's handyman, the lone American field player seeing regular action in the English Premier League, made his 20th EPL appearance on Saturday, going 90 minutes in the Potters' 2-1 loss result to Crystal Palace.
Besler, Cameron and Gonzalez combined to make eight starts at the position at Brazil 2014. But the fact that Besler and Gonzalez are just a few games into the new MLS season and are expected to take part in next month's exhibition against Mexico in Texas helps explain their absence. As for Cameron, Klinsmann cited in his release his desire to see new faces as part of the reason the 29-year-old was deemed surplus this time around.
"Here and there, there are these 50-50 decisions where you have to leave a player out that is usually a regular on your team. Geoff is that one right now," Klinsmann said. "I had long conversations with him and explained that just now I would love see other players coming in and proving to us how good they are."
#USMNT Roster for Europe: GK - Cropper, Rimando, Yarbrough; D - Alvarado, Brooks, Chandler, Garza, Orozco, Ream, Shea, Yedlin
- U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) March 22, 2015
One of those newcomers is Phoenix-born, Liga MX-based Ventura Alvarado. The Mexican-American defender has been on Klinsmann's radar since he helped Club America win the Mexican title in December.
"Breaking in at a club with the caliber of a Club America is huge," Klinsmann said of the 22-year-old Alvarado. "We went down there to watch him several times, have been in touch with him for months to see his progress, and we're excited. We had conversations with him, and he was clear that he would love to represent the United States."
Alvarado also has experience playing in a three-man back line; so too does Bolton's Tim Ream, who was also included. Klinsmann experimented with a 3-5-2 formation in a 3-2 loss to Chile in January and has suggested he might try it again. John Brooks and Michael Orozco were the other central defenders called in.
Another dual-national based south of the border, Leon goalkeeper William Yarbrough, also received his first invite and could even see action with Aston Villa backstop Brad Guzan -- who is awaiting the birth of his first child back -- unavailable.
Only six MLS players -- Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, Nick Rimando, Brek Shea and Gyasi Zardes -- are on the list, mostly at positions where the Yanks would be shorthanded otherwise. Other notable inclusions are Reading midfielder Danny Williams, who hasn't appeared for the U.S. in over a year, and AZ Alkmaar forward Aron Johannsson, who will be looking for his first cap since the World Cup.
#USMNT roster Contd. MF - Bedoya, Bradley, Green, Ibarra, Johnson, Morales, Williams, Zardes; F - Altidore, Dempsey, Johannsson, Rubin
- U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) March 22, 2015
Because the roster was revealed in conjunction with the squads for the U.S. U-20 and U-23 teams, both of which have their own games in Europe this month, there was some speculation that players like Green and Yedlin (both still eligible for the U-23s) would be demoted to the youth ranks during this window.
Klinsmann explained his decision to keep the pair with the senior team for now. "I think there are certain younger players that can gain the most right now if they're with me," Klinsmann said. "At the moment, Julian struggles with Hamburg. We will have a serious talk and serious look at him and we want to understand exactly what happened in his club situation, but also he needs some support from the senior national team group."
The same goes for Yedlin at Tottenham, Klinsmann said. But if the absences of Besler, Cameron and Gonzalez don't serve as reminder enough, the coach also reiterated that even for two of the country's most promising young talents, senior team spots aren't set in stone even if they seem to have come easy this time.
"They know we are here to help them," Klinsmann said. "But at the end of the day, you've got to break through no matter what. The message is the same to all of them."