Jurgen Klinsmann continues to ignore the USMNT claims of the New York Red Bulls. His latest squad - a 26-man roster that will contest USA's two remaining qualifiers in CONCACAF's fourth round of World Cup qualifying - contains not a single RBNY player. No Sacha Kljestan. No Dax McCarty (recovering from injury; so, fair enough). No Luis Robles. Or Mike Grella.
This is no surprise. It has long been clear that Klinsmann favors other options in all the positions for which RBNY might be able to supply options.
And this squad is about exploring options. The USMNT hasn't quite qualified for the next step on CONCACAF's road to Russia 2018 - the six-team, "Hexagonal" tournament that will see the region's representatives decided. But it is very close: all USA needs to do is finish in the top two of its four-team group. And currently it is in second place. All that remains is a trip to over-matched St. Vincent (zero points from four games in the group to date) and a visit from group-leading Trinidad and Tobago.
Klinsi has selected a blended team: there are the usual favorites and stalwarts on the roster, and a few new faces. He's giving himself options, and the chance to deepen the player pool. St. Vincent is one of the simpler tests USA will face in this qualifying cycle, and the match against T&T might well be moot by the time it rolls around. If Klinsi can afford to take his foot off the gas and indulge other priorities on September 6 when T&T comes calling, it looks like he will do so.
Five players - Kellyn Acosta, Ethan Horvath, Paul Arriola, Rubio Rubin, and Caleb Stanko - could get their first taste of World Cup qualifying, and advance their claims to a more regular place on the roster for the next round of games.
Klinsmann also keeps the faith with some players he's recently taken a liking to: Christian Pulisic, Darlington Nagbe, and Steve Birnbaum retain their involvement with the senior men's national team set-up.
There are some interesting selection decisions ahead.
USMNT roster for World Cup qualifiers against St. Vincent and the Grenadines (September 2) and Trinidad and Tobago (September 6):
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Middlesbrough), Ethan Horvath (Molde FC), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids)
DEFENDERS (9): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), John Brooks (Hertha BSC), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Monchengladbach), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake),Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Jermaine Jones (Colorado Rapids), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Caleb Stanko (FC Vaduz), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)