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McCarthy's Musings: U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann weighs January options ahead of February trip to Honduras

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McCarthy's Musings: U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann weighs January options ahead of February trip to Honduras
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McCarthy's Musings: U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann weighs January options ahead of February trip to Honduras

United States coach Jürgen Klinsmann invited 25 players to southern California for the January training camp. Now he has to decide how many of them should make the trip to Honduras in early Feburary.

Klinsmann has told various outlets over the past few days that he expects to include somewhere between six and nine players from this gathering in the group headed to San Pedro Sula.

From a practical perspective, the exact number doesn't change the task for the players already in camp. There are few spots available for the trip to Honduras with the number of European and Mexican-based players in the mix. Many of the national team rookies harbor little chance of claiming them. Most of the other hopefuls will hope the upcoming friendly with Canada forces Klinsmann to consider their merits or offers them a way back into the picture.

In a bid to pare down the options, the Musings highlights 10 players likely to land on Klinsmann's radar as he attempts to sort through his options over the next few weeks.

Juan Agudelo (forward/Chivas USA): Agudelo is expected to return from a training spell at West Ham United to link up with the squad on Friday, according to MLSsoccer.com. He projects to fill a reserve role in Honduras, though a difficult camp or a reassessment of the attacking options could open the door to alternatives and leave him out of the squad.

Kyle Beckerman (midfielder/Real Salt Lake): Unless Beckerman picks up an injury during the month of January, he will likely feature in the squad to face Honduras. He isn't a first-choice option in midfield. He is, however, a player Klinsmann trusts to plug a hole or supply cover in high pressure situations.

Alejandro Bedoya (midfielder/unattached): This callup represents a way back into the mix for the out-of-contract winger. His relative experience and his wide play could supplement the usual selections in midfield, but it is somewhat difficult envision him in Honduras without a final resolution to his club situation.

Brad Davis (midfielder/Houston): Most qualifying efforts include the introduction of one or two established veterans capable of contributing in big matches. And few players – with the possible exception of San Jose striker Chris Wondolowski – enter this camp with a better shot at claiming that mantle. His technical abilities dovetail nicely with the expectations of this regime, but he must show he can compete physically at this level to claim the shot he deserves after his extended period of domestic excellence.

Mix Diskerud (midfielder/Rosenborg): The creative midfielder might find the ranks a bit too crowded in central midfield to make his mark at this juncture. In order to stick around for an extended period of time, he needs to reveal the type of versatility that has carried Sacha Klejstan back into the picture.

Benny Feilhaber (midfielder/Sporting Kansas City): Ability and technique aren't the issues here. Feilhaber must prove he will adhere to Klinsmann's philosophy and show his recent struggles in MLS represent a blip rather than a trend. His pedigree at the international level could entice Klinsmann to hand him a recall if all goes well.

Josh Gatt (midfielder/Molde): Gatt's pace offers a nice contrast to most of Klinsmann's midfield options. His status as a situational player – a late-match substitute in certain instances – may actually boost his chances of securing a place in the squad to face Honduras.

Omar Gonzalez (defender/Los Angeles): Klinsmann challenged Gonzalez to show he could make the transition to the highest level. It isn't a certainty that he can take the leap at this point, but the paucity of options in central defense should provide him with a chance to impress. If he falters a bit under this withering examination, Sporting Kansas City center back Matt Besler could take advantage if Klinsmann feels the need to reassess his options at center back.

Eddie Johnson (forward/Seattle): Johnson's ability to play out left (at least in Klinsmann's estimation and formation) and provide cover up front should boost his chances of making the squad. His impact on the proceedings hinges on his ability to produce the form that earned him a recall last year.

Graham Zusi (midfielder/Sporting Kansas City): A brief spell at West Ham takes precedence until Friday, but the absence won't affect his place in the pecking order. The MLS MVP finalist will feature in the travel party in Honduras and could start the first game of the Hexagonal depending on how Klinsmann wants to approach the match tactically.

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