Somewhere amid all of that NFL training camp news, Major League Baseball looking into A-Rod's alleged gambling and the college football rankings coming out, there came the news that newly-hired U.S. men's national soccer team coach Jurgen Klinsmann called in 22 players for a friendly against rival Mexico Aug. 10 in Philadelphia.
It's an interesting group, and certainly a departure from former coach Bob Bradley's preferences with the exception of a few players, including Bradley's son Michael and Landon Donovan. This is a big match for the USMNT, a real chance at revenge for the Gold Cup loss and an opportunity for Klinsmann to gain instant support from soccer supporters in the U.S. in his first high-profile match as head coach.
Only one selection is slated for the English Premier League, goalkeeper Tim Howard, another favorite of Bradley. The EPL opens next month. The rest of the roster plays in other parts of Europe, Mexico and Major League Soccer.
Klinsmann, known for his time as German national team player, has been critical of the soccer system in the U.S. He's also indicated that the USMNT should have more of a Latino presence, and to that end, his team vs. Mexico features American-born-or-raised Latinos Carlos Bocanegra, Edgar Castillo (who plays for Mexico's Club America and was in Arizona for a match just last month), Michael Orozco Fiscal and Jose Torres and Juan Agudelo.
Klinsmann's team also features a pair of American citizens born in Germany -- defender Timmy Chandler and midfielder Jermaine Jones.
The roster features a number of players trying to re-establish themselves in the good graces of the national team. Not much has been heard from Castillo, Torres, Orozco Fiscal, Kyle Beckerman, Ricardo Clark and DaMarcus Beasley in some time. Klinsmann is clearly experimenting and taking a look at who might be good fits for World Cup 2014 qualifying, but he also is in need of a statement win, especially against Mexico.
El Tri is taking this match very seriously. Players who were suspended for the Gold Cup, such as Sinha and goalkeeper Memo Ochoa, are back on the team, as are scorers Giovani Dos Santos, Andres Guardado and Pablo Barrera. But the biggest absence will be Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, who has an EPL season to prepare for with Manchester United.