Los Angeles Soccer: Michael Parkhurst
Omar Gonzalez, the man most desired by U.S. soccer fans, has made his way onto Jurgen Klinsmann's first January roster.
Teammate Todd Dunivant was snubbed.
Gonzalez, Major League Soccer's Defender of the Year, is joined by Galaxy teammate A.J. DeLaGarza on the 20-man roster, but the fourth Galaxy backliner, Sean Franklin, who was part of the last January camp, also was left home.
Chivas USA defender Heath Pearce, who was on the 2010 World Cup preliminary roster, also is on Klinsmann's list, as are So Cal products Nick Rimando (Montclair/Montclair HS and UCLA), the Real Salt Lake goalkeeper, and Benny Feilhaber (Irvine/Northview HS and UCLA), a New England Revolution midfielder.
The team is missing its Europe-based stars, with just two players (Danish-based defender Michael Parkhurst and 2010 World Cup midfielder Ricardo Clark, who plays in Germany) brought in, both while their clubs are on winter break.
Camp opens Jan. 3 in Phoenix, heads to Home Depot Center from Jan. 13 to 20, then returns to Arizona for the Jan. 21 friendly against Venezuela at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. The team then heads to Panama for a Jan. 25 match.
The roster, as always, is filled with mostly younger, lesser-experienced MLS players, and if Gonzalez's inclusion, which was expected, is a positive -- fans and media have clamored for the big Texan's involvement with the national team most of this year -- Dunivant's omission is most curious, given the Americans' deficiencies at left back.
Dunivant, 30, is coming off a sensational MLS Best XI campaign with the Galaxy, and the annual January camp -- at least under Bob Bradley, Klinsmann's predecessor -- usually has rewarded players coming off outstanding MLS seasons.
Klinsmann's philosophy differs from Bradley's in many respects. He's brought in a smaller group -- just 20 players; Bradley had 24 in last January's camp and 30 in 2010 -- and appears to have a sharper concept of what he's looking for.
“We have an internal ranking of players in each position based on how we want to play, and many of these players are next in line,” Klinsmann told U.S. Soccer's website. “The European-based players and the Mexican-based players aren’t available, so this is their shot. Their goal has to be to move ahead of the guy in front of him in their position, and the only way they can do that is to show how good they are.
Manhattan Beach's Michael Bradley scored one goal and played a key role in another as Borussia Moenchengladbach's nightmare season in Germany's Bundesliga brightened a little with a 4-0 romp Saturday at FC Cologne, the club's first victory of any kind since Aug. 29.
Bradley, the son of U.S. national team coach Bob Bradley, scored in the 70th minute -- a long-range blast and ricocheted off Cologne's Youssef Mohamad and into the net -- and started the counterattack that led to Igor de Camargo's strike 12 minutes later. Raul Marcelo Bobadilla added two goals for Gladbach (2-6-4), which escaped the cellar with the win, changing places with Cologne (2-8-2).
Irvine's Benny Feilhaber (Northwood HS/UCLA) also scored over the weekend, converting a 90th-minute penalty kick to lift AGF Aarhus (12-0-3), the top team in Denmark's second-tier 1.Division, to a 1-0 triumph over visiting Viborg FF. Feilhaber has seven goals in all competitions for the Dettvie.
BOCANEGRA BACK: Carlos Bocanegra (Alta Loma HS/UCLA) returned to Saint-Etienne's lineup after missing four matches because of a neck injury, but his presence couldn't save Les Verts from elimination in France's Coupe de la Ligue.
Bocanegra went the distance at left back in a 2-0 defeat to Auxerre, both goals on penalty kicks, in the cup quarterfinals. Saint-Etienne, which has slipped from third to 10th place since Bocanegra suffered a sprained neck in an Oct. 17 Ligue 1 loss at Nice, has just one victory in its past seven games, all competitions.