After a couple of players withdrew from U.S. national team camp earlier today, USA head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has called up Sounders midfielder Brad Evans and defender Jeff Parke as the U.S. prepare for friendlies against Venezuela and Panama on January 21 and 25. Parke and Evans will fill in for LA Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez and FC Dallas defender George John who have both withdrawn from the squad due to the fact that they both could be on the move during the Winter Transfer Period.
This is Parke's first international call-up in his 7 year career, and well deserved. And the fact that he's a solid defender makes me want to question why he's never made an international appearance yet and if he's ever gonna play for the U.S. national team. Remember we picked him up in the Expansion Draft from the New York Red Bulls and at that time, we started bringing in more defender like Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Patrick Ianni, Tyrone Marshall, and he felt like he lost his spot on the team so he leaves Seattle and signs with the Vancouver Whitecaps who were playing in the USL at the time and he doesn't do much over there. So then he returns to Seattle as a trialist in 2010 and following injuries to Ianni and Hurtado, Parke stepped in and became a consistent starter for this team ever since. So back then, maybe there wasn't much that he did to prove that he's ready for the international level, but now he's been called into camp. He also admitted earlier that he was bothered by being overlooked by the USMNT.
Brad Evans as we all know made his international debut on July 4, 2009 against Grenada in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which took place here in Seattle. So far he has capped four times for the Red, White and Blue. Even though I'm not sure he deserves a call up due to his lack of fitness these last couple of seasons, Klinsmann decided to call him into camp and Evans is a Sounder so I've got to accept the fact that he joining camp. I know Sounder fans on Facebook were bitching about Brad Evans being called into camp which I do not appreciate. He has struggled in terms of fitness, but come on, do Sounder fans really have to complain.
I was really hoping that Jurgen Klinsmann would call up Lamar Neagle because of his performance last season. But get this, he's only 24 years old, he's got a long career ahead of him and I have a feeling that Neagle will be called up soon. Hopefully that wasn't the first time I've said it, but he does have a future in the International level as you may have heard before.
18 of the 20 players on the current squad are current MLS players, four players have capped at least 10 times and the most capped player on this upcoming 20-man squad is Benny Feilhaber with 38 caps. It's always good to bring in new players as you try to build a strong team for the future with the Gold Cup, the World Cup, etc. Remember in the 2009 Gold Cup, due to the fact that the United States participated in the FIFA Confederations Cup, most of the players on the Gold Cup squad had little to no experience. That was the only time I didn't make any complaints for USA losing 5-0 in the final to Mexico, but it that was a team full of veterans like Tim Howard, Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, etc., then I would've complained. That squad he had in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup and the fact that USA failed to win the Cup I believe is the reason Bob Bradley was fired. I mean, 2011 was a year that every U.S. soccer fan would like to forget.
Players called into USMNT camp
Goalkeepers: Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire) (1/0), Bill Hamid (D.C. United) (0/0), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake) (5/0)
Defenders: Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo) (1/0), A.J. DeLaGarza (Los Angeles Galaxy) (0/0), Zach Loyd (FC Dallas) (1/0), Jeff Parke (Seattle Sounders FC) (0/0), Michael Parkhurst (FC Nordsjaelland; Denmark) (9/0), Heath Pearce (Chivas USA) (32/0)
Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake) (18/1), Ricardo Clark (Eintracht Frankfurt; Germany) (32/2), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC) (4/0), Benny Feilhaber (New England Revolution) (38/2), Jeff Larentowicz (Colorado Rapids) (2/0), Brek Shea (FC Dallas) (9/0), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City) (0/0)
Forwards: Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls) (15/2), Teal Bunbury (Sporting Kansas City) (2/1), C.J. Sapong (Sporting Kansas City) (0/0), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes) (5/0)