Netherlands 2014 roster

ESPN FC's Taylor Twellman looks ahead to the United States men's national team's upcoming friendly against the Netherlands, and discusses the lack of stars on the squad.

Jurgen Klinsmann says the U.S. national team's experimental post-World Cup transition period is ending, and that's bad news for three starters from the squad that reached the round of 16 in Brazil in 2014.

Klinsmann left Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez and Graham Zusi off the 22-man roster he named Sunday for friendlies at the Netherlands on June 5 (2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN/WatchESPN) and five days later in Germany against the defending world champs.

Fellow veterans Jozy Altidore (hamstring) and Alejandro Bedoya (knee) are also missing, as is captain Clint Dempsey, who is expecting his fourth child next month. Other regulars (Geoff Cameron, Greg Garza) were excused so they could look after minor injuries.

But central defenders Besler and Gonzalez and midfielder Zusi each played in their most-recent game at club level, and a U.S. Soccer spokesman confirmed their absences came down to a coaching decision.

With several of the 13 new players that Klinsmann has auditioned in the 10 games since the Americans were eliminated in the Round of 16 last summer now entrenched, it seems that the trio, who started nine games between them in Brazil, are on the outside looking in ahead of July's CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Eight players on the roster have 10 caps or fewer, including promising young center-backs Ventura Alvarado and John Brooks.

The U.S. roster for a pair of June friendlies is a mix of experienced veterans and rising stars.

"I want to see Ventura Alvarado or John Brooks play in games like this, " Klinsmann said in a release that didn't mention Besler or Gonzalez, the Los Angeles Galaxy star who performed well in the 2-0 win against Mexico in April.

Michael Orozco is the only other central defender named. Jermaine Jones is listed as a midfielder after having manned the middle of the back line in his past four international matches.

"He's going to be back in midfield because of the fact that we have so many high-quality center-backs, " Klinsmann said of Jones. "He will be back in his No. 6 or No. 8 role, wherever he fits best."

With Altidore and Demspey ruled out, young forwards Juan Agudelo, Aron Johannsson and Gyasi Zardes have a golden opportunity to earn big minutes against two of the sport's titans.

The 22-year-old Agudelo and 24-year-old Johannsson have been in fine form for their respective clubs, and both scored in their most recent U.S. appearances. Meantime, the 23-year-old Zardes has started the Americans past four games.


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