El Paso, TX — U.S. Men's National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has called in 20 players to begin preparations for the final matches of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying cycle. The U.S. closes out the Hexagonal with a home match against Jamaica on Oct. 11 in Kansas City, before completing the campaign on the road against Panama on Oct. 15 in Panama City. One of them is former Mayfield Trojan Edgar Castillo, who currently plays professionally in the Mexican First Division with Club Tijuana.
The team will begin gathering Oct. 6 in Kansas City in advance of Friday's match. Kickoff at sold-out Sporting Park is set for 5:30 p.m. CT, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN, WatchESPN, UniMas and ESPN Deportes Radio. Four days later, the U.S. closes out the final round when it faces Panama at Estadio Rommel Fernandez (8:30 p.m. CT, beIN Sport). Fans can follow both matches live on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker and on Twitter @ussoccer.
Currently ranked No. 13 in FIFA's world rankings, the United States holds a one point lead over Costa Rica at the top of the group and has the chance to finish in first place in CONCACAF qualifying for the third-consecutive cycle. The matches have huge implications for the rest of the participants, as only two of the three automatic berths from CONCACAF have already been determined. Honduras sits in third place on 11 points, while Mexico and Panama are even with eight points in the fourth position.
"We want to finish qualifying on a high note and prove a point in our region," said Klinsmann. "We don't view these games as the end of World Cup qualifying. For us, it's the start of preparations for the World Cup, and therefore we have to continue to raise the bar. We have had such amazing support from our fans throughout the last two years, and we owe it to them to put our best foot forward."
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION - DETAILED ROSTER
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (6): DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City) Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Jermaine Jones (Schalke), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC)
• This is the second World Cup Qualifier in this cycle hosted by Sporting Park. In the last game of the semifinal round, the U.S. collected a 3-1 win against Guatemala on Oct. 16, 2012. A goal by Carlos Bocanegra and two from Clint Dempsey secured the USA's passage to the Hexagonal.
• A total of 17 of the 20 players on the roster were part of the last camp that saw the United States qualify for the World Cup for the seventh-consecutive time.
• Landon Donovan has eight goals and eight assists in 2013, leading all U.S. scorers. He captured the Golden Ball as the MVP in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, and also earned a share of the Golden Boot as top scorer in the tournament.
• Donovan is the USA's all-time leader in World Cup Qualifying appearances (39), and currently sits on 24 points (8 goals, 8 assists) in 2013, which surpassed the single-year point record of 22 he set in 2007 (9 goals, 4 assists).
• A total of 10 players were part of the Gold Cup-winning squad: DaMarcus Beasley, Kyle Beckerman, Alejandro Bedoya, Matt Besler, Edgar Castillo, Mix Diskerud, Donovan, Gonzalez, Eddie Johnson, and Nick Rimando.