The U.S. men's national team (USMNT), which is training today in Frankfurt, will have Jozy Altidore and Timmy Chandler on its roster when it travels to Russia for a friendly on Wednesday.
Both selections could be good news for American fans.
Altidore was the notable exclusion prior to the latest two qualifying games for the Brazil World Cup in 2014.
The 23-year-old striker has been lighting up goals with AZ Alkmaar recently. Altidore already has nine goals for the Dutch club this season, his second with Alkmaar. He scored a brace during a 2-2 tie with Ajax, which always will be appreciated by Alkmaar fans.
In September, he had his first hat trick with the club against Roda JC. From that performance Altidore won a new nickname, "The President," after a local journalist jokingly noted he would be the clear electoral favorite in Alkmaar.
Arguably more important given the USMNT's desperation to find a stable defensive unit is the Chandler selection.
Chandler is a German-American who plays RB among other positions for FC Nuremberg. He is not cap-tied to the USMNT, despite Coach Jurgen Klinsmann's subtle coaxing in that direction.
He is important enough to Klinsmann's plans that, when Chandler begged off on earlier invitations either to focus on club play or nurse injuries, Klinsmann made it clear the door was not closed on the young defender.
The 22-year-old will not be cap-tied after this friendly, either, but it is no secret this is a more important friendly than some.
With the final round of World Cup qualifiers set to begin in less than three months, this one is not oriented toward developmental exploration. This is a game to build familiarity among the players likely to carry American hopes into and through the hexagonal.
In other words, it is a fair assumption that Chandler would not be on the roster for Russia if he had not given Klinsmann some indication he will be available for qualifiers.
Update: Chandler is fully committed to the USMNT, according to a report from Sports Illustrated today.
As is always the case, geography, availability and even convenience play a role in the selections. This roster draws heavily from European clubs, which also could explain Chandler's (and Altidore's) presence. However, it should be noted that RB Steve Cherundolo is not on the roster, suggesting a start at that position for Chandler.
The full roster includes:
Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra (Racing Santander), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Chandler (Nuremberg), Maurice Edu (Stoke City), Clarence Goodson (Brondby) and Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim);
Midfielders: Michael Bradley (Roma), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Joshua Gatt (Molde), Joe Gyau (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim); and
Forwards: Juan Agudelo (Chivas USA), Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna) and Herculez Gomez (Santos Laguna).
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