Keller and Reyna set for fourth World Cup appearances
HARTFORD, Connecticut, May 3 (Reuters) Kasey Keller and Claudio Reyna will become the first Americans to play in four World Cups after being named in the 23-man US squad yesterday.
Coach Bruce Arena left out Major League Soccer's 2005 player of the year striker Taylor Twellman in favour of Brian Ching. Defender Gregg Berhalter lost out to Jimmy Conrad.
''The naming of this 23-man roster is the end of a long and arduous process,'' Arena told a news conference.
''It has carried the US team throughout the CONCACAF region and the world over the last three and a half years,'' Arena said. ''I'm comfortable in saying that over these 59 games, I've been able to observe and evaluate a pool of very talented players.
Arena named 13 reserves who could be called up in case of injuries up until the team's opening Group E match on June 12 against the Czech Republic. The US also face Italy on June 17 and Ghana on June 22.
Twelve players have at least one World Cup under their belt, while Frankie Hejduk, Brian McBride and Eddie Pope are going to their third.
''It's unfortunate that I'm not able to bring all these players to Germany,'' Arena said. ''I'm extremely grateful for the effort and professionalism that all our players exhibited throughout the process.'' In addition to three goalkeepers, Arena selected eight defenders and midfielders along with four strikers. Twelve members of the squad are with European clubs and 11 are from MLS teams.
Reyna, 32, who recently returned from an extended injury layoff at Manchester City, is expected to play an integral role in central midfield. Capped 108 times, he is the most experienced player in the squad.
Keller, one of the top goalkeepers in the Bundesliga with Borussia Moenchengladbach over the past two seasons, will be a key member of the side. He has kept 44 clean sheets in 91 games behind a US defence which conceded only six goals in qualifying.
Brian McBride and Landon Donovan are likely to lead the attack.
''Landon is now an experienced player,'' Arena said. ''This is his second World Cup and he's a player and we'll look to, not only to lead us, but as an important figure in our attack.'' McBride has scored 29 goals in 90 appearances for his country.
Donovan has 25 goals in 78 internationals.
The US made a surprising run to the 2002 World Cup quarter-finals before losing to eventual runners-up Germany.
The squad start a training camp on May 10 in Cary, North Carolina. The US have scheduled warmup matches against Morocco on May 23, Venezuela on May 26 and Latvia on May 28.
The squad departs for Germany on June 1 and will be based in Hamburg.
REUTERS DH RN0617