May 25, 2012, 10:34 AM EDT
For Juan Agudelo, Alfredo Morales, Danny Williams and Graham Zusi, the summer of U.S. national team involvement is over, barring an injury or something else unforseen.
U.S. national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann has trimmed the roster from 27 to 23 for three upcoming friendlies and the first two qualifiers for World Cup 2014.
He’ll talk later today about the released foursome and about his final 23 selections during a national media teleconference.
As for the four released players, we already know this:
- Agudelo was a victim of injury, to some extent. Hurt back in the Olympic qualifying effort in late March, he returned to the field just two weeks ago. That’s hardly enough time to get into the kind of international-level shape that Klinsmann has stressed. Either way, this will give Agudelo a chance to get fit and get established at his new club address, Chivas USA.
- Morales, 22 years old and uncapped internationally, was always a long shot. This was probably just an opportunity for Klinsmann to get a closer look at the defender-midfielder, who has yet to establish himself as a regular for 2 Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin.
- Zusi was just OK in January national team matches, used out wide in a less familiar role. The Sporting Kansas City man has grown into a quality league-level man who may need to add another element to his game to grab hold of the international rung.
- Williams, 23, would be the one surprise cut, except that he’s recovering from injury. He started as a right midfielder in the big February win over Italy. (Surely the best win of the Klinsmann era, in fact.) He was just OK that night, which isn’t that surprising considering his lack of international experience. Still, the Hoffenheim man (pictured above) seems to have a big upside, and he might well be on the “approved” list but for the recent physical setback.
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