The new year has started, and the road to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil is that much shorter. With Ghana, Portugal, and Germany looming just over six months away, the traditional January camp of the U.S. men's national team takes on an added importance.
There's a strong possibility that this will be the final national team camp before the World Cup rosters are finalized, so the players called up will be getting a great chance to prove themselves one last time before Klinsmann makes his decision. For the most part, the roster is undoubtedly set, but there are still spots open to a few so-called fringe players - those few who probably won't be starting (except in dire emergencies), but could still find themselves playing a role in Brazil this summer.
Houston Dynamo midfielder Brad Davis is one of those with a legitimate chance of getting a call - something many Dynamo fans might've thought impossible a few years ago. The resurgence of his play in Houston, as well as an impressive campaign as a substitute in the Hex last year, have gone a long way towards booking him a ticket, but there's still work to be done. This is a mix of starters and fringe players - and with the exception of Mix Diskerud, all are MLS players - so the chances of Davis getting playing time seem to be good.
The same can't be said of the other Dynamo callup, though. Keeper Tally Hall has been called into camps before, but playing time has always seemed to elude him. Even without US #1 Tim Howard stateside, the road to playing time for Tally looks like a long one. The other three keepers all have caps with the squad, and any of the four could end up getting time.
Time will tell whether or not Davis and Hall see playing time in the South Korea friendly, and whether or not they'll get tickets to the World Cup this summer. Brian Ching is the only Dynamo player to ever be named to a World Cup roster, though he saw no action in '06 (Ricardo Clark and Boniek Garcia played in '10, though neither was with the Dynamo at the time). This camp might be last chance for Davis and/or Hall to change that before the next WC cycle.
Full U.S. Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (4): Tally Hall (Houston Dynamo), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (10): Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Michael Harrington (Portland Timbers), Chris Klute (Colorado Rapids), Chance Myers (Sporting Kansas City), Shane O'Neill (Colorado Rapids), Seth Sinovic (Sporting Kansas City), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Eric Alexander (New York Red Bulls), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg/Norway), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Dax McCarty (New York Red Bulls), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (4): Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Eddie Johnson (D.C. United), Mike Magee (Chicago Fire), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)