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Steve Birnbaum makes 23-man USMNT roster; Taylor Kemp sent home

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Only one D.C. United player will suit up for Bruce Arena’s first friendlies

US Soccer announced the roster today for Bruce Arena’s first two friendlies, against Serbia and Jamaica. Steve Birnbaum, D.C. United center back and a semi-regular at this point for USMNT callups, will make the trip to Carson and Chattanooga, while Taylor Kemp will join D.C. United for preseason after his first invitation to national team camp.

Birnbaum has been a regular member of the USMNT’s 23 man roster since his first January camp two years ago. While he’s probably not at the top tier level of starters when the entire men’s national team is together (John Brooks and Geoff Cameron still lead there), Birnbaum is right behind them and will probably look to start one, if not both, of these January games.

Taylor Kemp is being sent home, with the two left backs remaining being DaMarcus Beasley (who still doesn’t have a club team) and long-sought Jorge Villafana, who was ignored by Jurgen Klinsmann for unknown reasons. Had Villanfana not been a late call-in, Kemp would have probably made the 23 man roster. This camp is by no mean a waste: Bruce Arena needs to prep his team for the crucial qualifiers coming up in March, and so Kemp could still receive more call-ups once the immediate panic has passed.

Also sent home were Keegan Rosenberry, Brian Rowe, Wil Trapp, and Chris Wondolowski, and Gyasi Zardes has a slight knee contusion and will not play. The full 23-man roster for these friendlies is below.

GOALKEEPERS (3): David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls)

DEFENDERS (8): DaMarcus Beasley (Unattached), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Greg Garza (Atlanta United FC), Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders FC), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna, MEX), Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

MIDFIELDERS (9): Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Jermaine Jones (LA Galaxy), Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Chris Pontius (Philadelphia Union)

FORWARDS (3): Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution), Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC)