AMSTERDAM -- Though there are plenty of familiar names, US boss Bob Bradley has sprung a few surprises in his first squad since re-upping through 2014.
Thirteen 'Nats from the World Cup side in South Africa this summer will gather for friendlies with Poland and Colombia, but there will be no Landon Donovan.
It will be a bit odd to see a camp collection that does not include the USMNT poster boy, but the decision is wise. Donovan can avoid being worn down and new playmakers will be urged to step forward in his absence.
The two uncapped inclusions may register at least somewhat of a surprise: Aston Villa right back apprentice Eric Lichaj and FC Dallas attack handyman Brek Shea. Both players deserve a look and I'm quite pleased they got the call. The former forward Bradley scores again.
[inline_node:318630]I also find it notably positive to see a pair of thin-position veterans that missed out on World Cup receive a summons. Forward Eddie Johnson has looked decent in limited Fulham time, while FC Dallas left back Heath Pearce is enjoying a Best XI-caliber campaign in MLS.
Of no shock value at all is the selection of Schalke midfielder Jermaine Jones, whom Bradley has been very eager to bring to camp. I'd be appropriately gobsmacked if, over these two games, we didn't see him paired with the coach's kid Michael in the middle of the park.
Jones and fellow Bundesliga man Bradley seem a perfect match, but Maurice Edu is also likely to have a hat in the ring after a pair of strong Champions League outings.
[inline_node:317068]What absences are a little surprising and/or disappointing? With a lean strike force called in, I was hoping more than expecting that Chivas USA revelation Justin Braun wouldn't be with the group. The omission of Pachuca forward Herculez Gomez is a bit baffling, though.
Bradley did aim to steer clear of players on clubs in a some playoff race or another, which seems to have temporarily put the kibosh on a return for San Jose's Bobby Convey or even one for Columbus Crew wide man Eddie Gaven.
I am, however, thoroughly unsurprised Bradley has gone without the likes of brand spankin' new Hannover 96 winger DaMarcus Beasley, free agent defender Jay DeMerit and Pachuca midfielder José Francisco Torres, who isn't playing much these days.
All in all, I can't have too many quibbles with the coach's choices. I don't always say that, so it makes for a nice surprise.
I'll be even more taken aback if the top-light selection means Bradley is actually ready to run out a new formation. Please feel free to stun me, coach.