Newcomers add twists to evolving US roster

Veterans welcome competion ahead of Argentina matchup

Agudelo

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SECAUCUS, N.J. – Head coach Bob Bradley and the United States national team bring a developing and evolving roster into Saturday’s international friendly against Argentina at the New Meadowlands Stadium.

And there’s an onus put on a number of those fledgling US internationals – names like Juan Agudelo, Tim Ream, David Yelldell, Timmy Chandler or Mixx Diskerud – to not only make the most of the moment against Argentina, but also to not just let one instant of success define their US careers.

“For a lot of these young guys, it is important not to be a flash in the pan,” goalkeeper Tim Howard said. “It is too easy to have potential, hype. Come in, score a goal and then fall by the wayside.”

That’s the biggest challenge for the group’s newcomers, even though the team’s seasoned veterans admitted Thursday night they’re familiar with the career trajectories of their new, young teammates.

Defender and captain Carlos Bocanegra, for example, is already familiar with Ream’s career. And he’s eager for the competition from the newcomers as roster decisions for this summer’s Gold Cup inch closer every day.

“I think when people are fighting for spots like this, it means we’ll only get better,” Bocanegra said.

The competition also certainly extends to the central midfield, where there’s a struggle for starting spots among Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones and Maurice Edu.

Edu, for his part, gladly joined the US team for this camp despite a heavy fixture load recently with Scottish side Rangers.

“Anytime the national team calls, you want to be there and join in,” Edu told MLSSoccer.com. “Anytime – it is really important for me and it is a chance to play with the guys and earn my spot. There is a lot of young talent coming up so it is always a good, healthy competition among us. Even if you play a lot and lots of travel is involved, you want to be here.”

Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer