By Michelle Kaufman
U.S. national coach Jurgen Klinsmann invited 22 players to Miami this week for a training camp as the team begins to prepare for the Copa America Centenario in June. The players chosen for this camp are based in Europe and Mexico, and just completed their club seasons. Major League Soccer players will join the group at a later date.
At the end of the week, the team will fly to Puerto Rico for a May 22 friendly in Bayamon, the first-ever between the two teams. The match will be at noon, and shown on FS1 and UniMas.
After Puerto Rico, the U.S. team plays Ecuador on May 25 in Frisco, Texas (7 p.m. CT; ESPN2 and UniMas) and Bolivia on May 28 in Kansas City, Kansas (7 p.m. CT; FS1 and Univision).
Fifteen of the players in camp -- including Weston's Alejandro Bedoya (FC Nantes) -- are eligible for the Copa America 23-man roster, as they were included in a 40-man provisional roster that was due at the end of April. The final roster for Copa America must be submitted by May 20. MLS players who make the final roster will be released by their clubs on May 23 and join the team that day in Dallas.
Among the players invited were veteran goalkeeper Tim Howard, who is headed to the Colorado Rapids after a 10-year career at Everton in England, and Bobby Wood, who just set a scoring record for American players in Germany with 17 goals for Union Berlin of the 2 Bundesliga. Wood was so impressive that on Sunday he was transferred to Hamburg of the Bundesliga.
The Mexican club most represented is Club Tijuana, with Michael Orozco and national-team rookies Paul Arriola and Amando Moreno.
"We are doing this week in Miami and finishing off the week with a game in Puerto Rico because it's really important in terms of transitioning our players coming in from Europe and some who are already done in Mexico to keep them in a flow, to keep them in a rhythm," said Klinsmann. "One of our lessons from last year's Gold Cup was because the tournament was pushed into July, we couldn't transition our European-based players and some of the Mexican players perfectly."
"We added some players coming from the younger side to look at them and to get a roster together, but the main purpose of this camp is to keep the rhythm, keep going and to transition perfectly into the preparation for the Copa America Centenario."
All the U.S. practices are closed to the public.
The Miami camp roster....
GOALKEEPERS (3) : Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), Zach Steffen (SC Freiburg)
DEFENDERS (7) : John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest), Matt Miazga (Chelsea), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), Tim Ream (Fulham), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham)
MIDFIELDERS (7) : Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Monchengladbach), Perry Kitchen (Heart of Midlothian), Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt), Caleb Stanko (SC Freiburg), Danny Williams (Reading)
FORWARDS (5) : Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Fabrice Picault (FC St. Pauli), Amando Moreno (Club Tijuana), Bobby Wood (Hamburg)
Friday Futbol Notes...
Miami FC signed former Cuban national team defender Jorge Luis Corrales.
The 24-year-old joined Pinar del Rio in 2009 and spent six years with the team. He was team MVP in 2012, 2013, 2014. He played for Cuba's U17, U20, U23 teams and the national team.
"Corrales is one of the most driven players I've had the opportunity of working with,'' said Miami FC coach Alessandro Nesta. "He impressed me in the open and invitational tryouts, so it's a pleasure to bring him on board. He has such a passion for the sport, and it's always refreshing to see someone with so much dedication take their talents to the field.''
Miami FC, the city's new NASL team, opens its inaugural season in April.
Also this week, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers signed Trinidad and Tobago national team defender Julius James. The 31-yea-old impressed Strikers coaches during the recent Florida Cup. He started and played full matches at center back against FC Schalke 04 and Independiente Santa Fe. In 2014, he played for the San Antonio Scorpions. He played college at the University of Connecticut, and was picked by Toronto in the 2008 MLS Draft. He went on to play for Houston, D.C. and Columbus.
"We are delighted to sign an experienced defender like Julius,'' said coach Caio Zanardi. "He has made tremendous progress to overcome injury and is an example for many of the younger guys in the locker room.''
Was the US loss to Jamaica Wednesday night the team's worst loss ever? It was their second loss to Jamaica in 23 meetings, and first loss to a Caribbean team on US soil since 1969.
The Portland Thorns set a NWSL attendance record tonight with 21,144 for its game against Seattle. The Thorns are averaging a league-high 13,769 per game.
Big news out of England tonight...news that may take some of the sting off US Gold Cup loss to Jamaica for US fans...
Veteran goalkeeper Tim Howard says he has enjoyed his hiatus, but is ready to re-join the US team.
Read about it here...
Meanwhile, some stats following the stunning US 2-1 loss to Jamaica in the Gold Cup semifinal...
The loss ended a 26-match home win streak for Team USA
Jamaica, 78th in the FIFA world rankings, is the first Caribbean team to reach the Gold Cup final in tournament history
The loss is believed to be the first home loss for the U.S. to a Caribbean team since 1969.