EJ omitted as Klinsmann gets ready for the World Cup

by Neil Sherwin

Eddie Johnson USAThe World Cup is less than a month away and Monday saw Jurgen Klinsmann announce his 30-man squad for the US training camp that will take place towards the end of May.

With a June 2nd deadline for final 23-man squads to be submitted to FIFA, the German has opted to include six strikers in the party, four of which come from Major League Soccer.

“We had some difficult decisions to make, and we are very excited about the 30 players coming into camp,” Klinsmann said regarding his selections.

“There is competition in every position, and these next couple of weeks will allow us to make the final determinations on the best 23-man unit to represent the United States in the World Cup.”

Exactly half of those chosen for camp are from the domestic competition, though there was no place for veteran Eddie Johnson of DC United.

The 30-year-old striker, who has 63 caps and 19 goals to his name, played in two games at the 2006 World Cup in Germany but was part of the final cuts made in 2010 and stayed at home.

“It was a very difficult decision based on what he has done with me the whole time,” said Klinsmann.

“I always recognise Eddie’s value and his strengths overall, not only scoring very important goals for us but getting us to Brazil.

“He is a player who can make a difference within a second of being on the field with scoring a goal or making an assist.”

Johnson also released a statement via his club, who has failed to score for in eight appearances since joining from the Seattle Sounders for the 2014 MLS season.

“While I am disappointed not to have the chance to represent the U.S. team in Brazil, I respect Coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s decision,” the statement read.

“I believe in, and support, my US teammates, and I wish the best for our team and our nation at the World Cup.”

Johnson did little to endear himself to his club mates last week when he gave the impression that they were inferior to those he left behind at the Sounders.

“In Seattle – and no disrespect to the guys that are here – I felt like I didn’t have to run as much because we had better guys that had more quality on the ball,” he told mlssoccer.com.

An apology was hastily issued shortly afterwards and DC United boss Ben Olsen confirmed that the matter is now closed, while Klinsmann stressed that the incident had no bearing on the World Cup decision.

It’s quite remarkable how quickly Johnson’s stock has fallen; along with DeMarcus Beasley, he played the most games (17) for the USA in 2013 as they claimed the Gold Cup and qualified for the World Cup finals.

Johnson also scored the opening goal in a crucial qualifier against Mexico back in September as the US claimed a 2-0 win and sealed their spot in Brazil.

At club level, he averages 81.5 minutes so far in 2014 but has managed a mere 12 shots at goal of which just six have been on target.

With Klinsmann considering Landon Donovan a striker, Terrence Boyd netting 20 goals in 38 games for Austrian side Rapid Vienna, and Aron Johannsson scoring 26 times in 51 appearances for AZ Alkmaar in the Eredivisie, the Johnson decision becomes a lot more understandable when the numbers are crunched.

US 30-man squad

Goalkeepers

Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

Defenders

DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Nürnberg), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders)

Midfielders

Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Maurice Edu (Philadelphia Union), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Jermaine Jones (Besiktas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

Forwards

Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

This article first appeared on the excellent bsports, who provide great statistical analysis. You can also find them on Twitter.

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