No surprises in U.S. 40-man preliminary roster for Copa America Centenario

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No surprises in U.S. 40-man preliminary roster for Copa America Centenario
No surprises in U.S. 40-man preliminary roster for Copa America Centenario

This summer's stateside Copa America Centenario creeps ever closer and is now just a month and a few days away. On Friday, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann filed his 40-man preliminary United States men's national team roster, which he made public on Sunday afternoon.

It contained no significant omissions or surprises, but then again, you wouldn't expect any, since practically everybody in the national team picture at the moment can fit onto a 40-man squad, which won't be culled to the final 23 until May 20.

The most eye-catching inclusions were those of back Eric Lichaj, who hasn't represented the U.S. since 2013; fellow back Timmy Chandler, who left a very underwhelming impression when last seen in a USA jersey at the 2015 Gold Cup; and Perry Kitchen, a holding midfielder buried down the depth chart.

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Left back Brek Shea did not make the preliminary roster, raising an eyebrow given that he has returned to full fitness with his club, Orlando City, and seemed to be one of the favorites in a perennial problem spot. Striker Aron Johannsson, as expected, did not make the roster, either. He has been out with a nerve injury in his right hip since October.

Fans, however, will be pleased that Klinsmann's halting youth movement could well be carried on – depending on who the final cuts are. Borussia Dortmund phenom Christian Pulisic, a 17-year-old attacking midfielder, made the team as expected, although he was listed as a forward.

So too were forward Ethan Finlay, striker Jordan Morris, playmaker Darlington Nagbe and defenders Kellyn Acosta and Matt Miazga, none of whom are older than 25.

Yet plenty of veterans remain. In goalkeepers Brad Guzan, Tim Howard and Nick Rimando; defenders Geoff Cameron, Brad Evans and Michael Orozco; midfielders Kyle Beckerman and Jermaine Jones; and forwards Clint Dempsey and Chris Wondolowski, Klinsmann has dunked 10 players who are aged 30 or older into the player pool he must pick from in this tournament.

This suggests Klinsmann will bring the strongest possible squad to the Copa, a one-off tournament, regardless of age. This is understandable on the one hand, since this high-profile event on home soil is a mid-World Cup cycle showcase for U.S. Soccer, which still yearns for significant mainstream traction in three out of every four years. On the other, a chance to better prepare for Russia, the next World Cup two years down the line, might go amiss.

Either way, the U.S. will open training camp May 16 in Miami with its overseas players, who will play Puerto Rico in a friendly in Bayamon on May 22, supplemented by some extra non-roster players to make up the numbers. The entire squad will then assemble in Texas for further friendlies against Ecuador in Frisco, Texas, on May 25 and Bolivia in Kansas City, Kan. on May 28.

The Yanks then kick off their Copa in Santa Clara, Calif. against Colombia on June 3.

USA PRELIMINARY ROSTER FOR COPA AMERICA CENTENARIO

Goalkeepers: David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Ethan Horvath (Molde), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake).

Defenders: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Ventura Alvarado (Club America), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Monterrey), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest), Matt Miazga (Chelsea FC), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), Tim Ream (Fulham), DeAndre Yedlin (Sunderland).

Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (FC Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Jermaine Jones (Colorado Rapids), Perry Kitchen (Heart of Midlothian), Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution), Danny Williams (Reading FC), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City).

Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Ethan Finlay (Columbus Crew), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund),Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (Union Berlin), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy).

Leander Schaerlaeckens is a soccer columnist for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter @LeanderAlphabet.

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