Making sense of this USMNT 22-man roster for friendly against Puerto Rico

Making sense of this USMNT 22-man roster for friendly against Puerto Rico

OK, so this is fairly complicated. Bear with us.

The United States men's national team kicks off the Copa America Centenario on June 3. It will have to release a finalized 23-man squad from its 40-man preliminary roster by Friday. But this roster, the one we're posting below, is not that roster. Even though it will play a game on May 22, after the May 20 Copa roster deadline. This is a temporary roster.

[ FC Yahoo: USMNT's most sensible 23-man roster for Copa America Centenario ]

Because before the Copa, the Americans are playing three friendlies. Against Puerto Rico on Sunday, against Ecuador on May 25 and against Bolivia on May 28. But for that first game, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann doesn't yet have his Major League Soccer players available yet. He does, however, have those who play in the Mexican league or overseas at his disposal.

So he called up 22 players in all – none of them MLSers – yet only 15 of them are actually eligible for the Copa team because they're on the preliminary roster. The other seven are basically placeholders, although they'll be happy for the opportunity to make an impression. MLS players will be released by their clubs on May 23 and join the national team then.

So even though this team will play a game after the final roster is announced, it is not the final roster.

Got it?

Let Jurgen explain. "We are doing this week[-long camp] 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," he said in a statement. "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," Klinsmann added. "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."

Those players are goalkeeper Zach Steffen, midfielders Emerson Hyndman and Caleb Stanko, and forwards Paul Arriola, Julian Green, Fabrice "Fafa" Picault and Amando Moreno.

They are all highly regarded prospects, although Hyndman and Green's stocks with the national team had dropped off after early introductions.

The full roster is below:

Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), Zach Steffen (SC Freiburg).

Defenders: 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 Hotspur).

Midfielders: 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: Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Fabrice Picault (FC St. Pauli), Amando Moreno (Club Tijuana), Bobby Wood (Hamburg).

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