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U.S. roster announcement delayed until weekend, at earliest

Oct 3, 2013, 11:50 AM EDT

Clint Dempsey

U.S. Soccer officials have delayed the roster announcement, originally set for Thursday, until the weekend, at earliest.

U.S. Soccer spokesman Michael Kammarman told me late last night that Saturday is the tentative target – but it would not surprise me if this gets pushed into early next week, just before the team arrives into Kansas City for a few days of training ahead of Friday’s contest at Sporting Park.

Jurgen Klinsmann had hoped to name the roster for the remaining pair of World Cup qualifiers today. But injuries and Major League Soccer’s schedule, and the combined, complicating effect of both, are mucking up the works. It all goes to underscore just how tricky this one is for the U.S. manager, with more moving pieces than usual at work.

Thus, U.S. Soccer wanted to see out the weekend matches to access availability, and the subsequent ripple effect, of a few familiar faces.

The starting point for Klinsmann, as he has repeatedly said, is that he wants the best team possible for next week’s home match against Jamaica in Kansas City and the qualifier finale in Panama.

(MORE: Anthony Brooks, Michael Bradley ruled out for U.S. roster)

Michael Bradley and Anthony Brooks have already been ruled out. That’s according to Klinsmann himself, who also said expects Clint Dempsey (pictured) and Landon Donovan to be available.

Here’s where things get dicey – and it’s mostly twisted up in Major League’s Soccer decision to play through FIFA dates:

The Seattle Sounders stand to lose three players for two matches to the call-ups. Not only are Sigi Schmid’s men targeting a Supporters Shield, both matches are Cascadia Cup contests – and Schmid will be loath to lose Dempsey, Eddie Johnson or Brad Evans (or any combination thereof) for these contest.

Further complicating things are the whispers and wonders about how a Supporters Shield would impact Schmid’s ongoing employment around CenturyLink? Voices in the game are wondering if claiming a Supporters Shield would be enough to get Schmid a new deal, regardless of what happens in the playoffs (where Seattle has not done well previously).

(MORE: Injuries undermining U.S. plans for final World Cup qualifiers)

Then we have Sporting Kansas City, the Los Angeles Galaxy and perhaps Real Salt Lake, all three of which stand to lose two U.S. internationals each.

Los Angeles was thinking “Supporters Shield possibilities” two or three weeks ago. Now Bruce Arena’s team could be one loss away from tumbling out of playoff positioning entirely. Yikes!

So the guess here is that a little negotiating is going on. As in: “Can we keep this guy for this match, or can he arrive late into your camp?” Or perhaps, “Can we get that guy back after Friday’s qualifier in Kansas City, so that he doesn’t travel down to Panama?”

source: Getty Images

Seattle’s Sigi Schmid … tangled up in all this.

In any scenario, how one player comes through the MLS weekend – That is, 100 percent healthy or something south of that? – may have a trickle-down effect on these ongoing discussions. And for any player that may bail out for one of the U.S. matches, Klinsmann has to line up a replacement, one from abroad or from an MLS team that may also be reluctant to give up one of their best players.

Oh, one other complicating factor: several U.S. players sit on yellow card warning, set to miss the finale if they collect a booking next week at Sporting Park.

To be clear, clubs are required to release players for FIFA qualifiers, and Klinsmann values his time with these guys in camp. He wants them in camp, no question, and clubs don’t have any choice if the players are summoned. But the U.S. manager also understands the politics of it all and values relationship, so he is likely to bend here and there. After all, it’s not the players’ fault or the MLS coaches’ fault that Major League Soccer continues to plow through these FIFA dates.

  1. randomhookup - Oct 3, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    RSL doesn’t play that week. They play Oct. 5th and then Oct. 19th. Their players shouldn’t miss a match.

  2. hildezero - Oct 3, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    It wouldn’t surprise me if they’ll announce it tomorrow, which they should. Can’t wait.

  3. - Oct 3, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    maybe the MLS should change his scheduling to be more on par with European season schedule.

    • mdac1012 - Oct 3, 2013 at 2:11 PM

      That has been talked about and debated a million times. A couple of the reasons they don’t are weather, playing outdoors in Canada, New England, New York….etc in the heart of the winter, is something the league has always wanted to avoid. The second big problem is starting the season the same time the NFL and college football starts, could really overshadow MLS coverage. Starting the season in March allows them to play through the summer with really only baseball to compete with.

      I am sure there are more reasons that people can come up with, but those are the two that jump to mind right away.

      • Steve Davis - Oct 3, 2013 at 2:18 PM

        Thanks, Mdac … I didn’t know if that was a serious comment or a tongue-in-cheek kinda thing. Either way, I couldn’t even bring myself to going all the way back to the beginning of that one

  4. tylerbetts - Oct 3, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    Are we sure this isn’t because Jurgen was declared “non essential”?

    • schmutzdeck - Oct 4, 2013 at 12:55 AM

      The USMNT and the USSF have no connection to the federal government.

      They are about as federal as US Air.

    • bear06 - Oct 5, 2013 at 2:29 AM

      You’re an idiot.

  5. tylerbetts - Oct 3, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    Okay, now for a serious comment …

    Maybe instead of lobbying the US coach and trying to play that up, Sigi, Bruce, and the others impacted should use their weight to get MLS to stop playing through FIFA dates. We all know that ESPN is enamored with Seattle and Cascadia and sees it as the best thing MLS produces (we can save that debate for another time). In addition, ESPN likes to market stars … you know, guys like Donovan. We also all know that TV money is what MLS needs to continue to grow.

    Put two and two together to get five with me here, folks. The right way to leverage the league into not playing through FIFA dates is to get the right people to leverage them. The big clubs (Seattle and LA Galaxy) and the TV partners.

    Oh, and let’s not act like the only clubs impacted are those with US players. There’s plenty of CONCACAF talent around MLS. Jamaica, Panama, Costa Rica, and Honduras can all significantly impact the MLS playoff race by who they do (or don’t) call in.

  6. dfstell - Oct 3, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    This has been touched on already, but I’ll add my voice….MLS has to stop playing through these international dates. I just cannot take the league that seriously until they do this.

    The weather will always be an issue in a country as big as the US. It doesn’t make any sense to play in Boston in January, but it also doesn’t make any sense to play in Houston (or Atlanta, Orlando or Miami) in the summer. I’m not sure why the teams can be organized more regionally and let each region have the really crappy months off.

    And I know that everyone is scared under such a system of competing with American football, but the broadcasts of MLS only get ~200K viewers right now. How much can that really drop off? And shouldn’t the goal be to show a compelling product? Not to find a soft spot in the TV schedule where people will watch your games because nothing else is on TV? Even if you successfully employ such a strategy, someone just has to start a new fad of televised backgammon and you lose viewers again. The key is to have a strong product that can stand on its own.

  7. braxtonrob - Oct 3, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    Won’t this all be easily fixed (aka changed) when MLS goes to a 28 game schedule?

    Please tell me we ARE going to a 28 game schedule, (which I love)!

  8. mknow406a - Oct 4, 2013 at 2:42 AM

    What a crock of BS. The Norwegian League can fit 30 league games in during the spring/summer/fall season with teams in the artic circle AND still accommodate the international schedule (including the EUROs/World Cup break) and yet MLS insists it can’t be done because of snow? Come on. Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining! Suck it up and play more non-weekend dates. Even the EPL has multiple game weeks at points during the season to get their full 38 in. It’s not as difficult as we are being told it is, it’s just not IDEAL.

    Obviously week nights are not ‘preferred’ dates, but it’s certainly more ‘preferred’ to having the quality of your league and standings compromised because your stars are off working their ‘second’ (international) jobs. EVERY other major sport in North America plays these ‘off’ days and is able to make it work. (and the MLS travel isn’t any worse than that of the NHL and the hockey teams seem to manage it just fine…) I would much rather have single MLS games to watch on Monday, Tuesday and/or Wednesday then 4 simultaneous kick-offs on Saturday night where only 1 game is a real option to see. Yes midweek games are harder to sell, but selling ticket to those games is what you the sales staff is paid to do!

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