Steve Birnbaum continues to establish himself as a member of the US Men's National Team after his performances in Camp Cupcake, having been called up for the US's crucial qualifiers at the end of the month. The United States will play Guatemala twice, on March 25 and March 29, and these games will be their hardest in the fourth round. Birnbaum looks to miss United's March 26 game against FC Dallas but should be back for their April 2 game against San Jose Earthquakes.
After a disappointing January camp in 2015, Birnbaum made the most of the 2016 camp by scoring a goal and giving an assist of the bench against Iceland, and then putting together a complete offensive and defensive performance against Canada. Jurgen Klinsmann was obviously impressed enough to find a spot for Birnbaum on the field, even if it had to be at right back.
Birnbaum has a decent chance to start at right back in these upcoming games, with most of the defenders called in actually being center backs. His primary competition would be Geoff Cameron, who often plays right back for his club but is probably the USA's best center back, Michael Orozco, and DeAndre Yedlin.
Congrats to Birnbaum!
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION (Club; WCQ Caps/Goals)GOALKEEPERS (4): David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes; 0/0), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa; 9/0), Tim Howard (Everton FC; 30/0), William Yarbrough (Club Leon; 0/0)
DEFENDERS (9): Ventura Alvarado (Club America; 0/0), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City; 8/0), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United; 0/0), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin; 0/0), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City; 15/1), Edgar Castillo (Monterrey; 4/0), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca; 8/0), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana; 4/1), DeAndre Yedlin (Sunderland; 0/0)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake; 6/0), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes FC; 3/0), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC; 26/5), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC; 3/0), Ethan Finlay (Columbus Crew SC; 0/0), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Monchengladbach; 11/1), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers FC; 2/0), Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution; 0/0)
FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC; 28/12), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC; 34/13), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes; 0/0), Bobby Wood (Union Berlin; 2/1), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy; 2/1)