Good news! Chivas USA forward Juan Agudelo has been selected to the U.S. Men's National Team squad by Jurgen Klinsmann, ahead of the team's friendly against Russia Wednesday. The selection comes as something of a surprise, but is entirely understandable given the context.
Agudelo had knee surgery in the spring, and could not contribute to the U.S. U23 team's quest to make the London Olympics. Because the U.S. failed to qualify, he did not get time in London this summer, and that, coupled with his lack of production this season and the improved form of several American forwards meant that he has not been involved in the Americans' CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers this year.
Still, Agudelo is 19, and shows a great deal of talent and promise. In addition, the timing and lack of stakes in this friendly meant that some new and/or forgotten faces have re-emerged in Klinsmann's call-ups for this match. As Ryan Rosenblatt explains over at SB Nation USMNT blog Stars and Stripes FC, the FIFA friendly window this time around is only 48 hours, and that meant that some key regulars in the national team were excluded due to club commitments in Europe. Furthermore, the match will be played in Krasnodar, Russia, so players in whose teams in MLS or Liga MX are in the playoffs this week were not called up so that they could focus on their club commitments. And since this is a friendly, it gives Klinsmann a chance to get a look at some players out of the mix or on the fringe, to see if they can make a step up come hexagonal time next year.
So the good news is that a Chivas USA player remains in the mix, not to mention former Goat Sacha Kljestan. Too bad Dan Kennedy wasn't included, but we'll have to see if Klinsmann can be convinced in 2013 of DK's brilliance. At any rate, congrats Juan!
The full roster vs. Russia:
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