Frequent contributor Jon Marthaler has written about virtually every sport in the Twin Cities, and fills in on Saturdays for the RandBall blog on StarTribune.com. He'll cover the professional soccer scene in the Twin Cities, whether at the Metrodome or at the National Sports Center.
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Goalkeeper Cody Cropper has earned his first-ever call-up to the full national team, and is part of a 23-man squad for Wednesday's friendly with Bosnia-Herzegovina in Sarajevo. The 20-year-old Maple Grove native has long been a part of the Under-17 and Under-20 national teams, including a trip to the Under-20 World Cup this summer in which he started all three games, and he's impressed sufficiently to now be part of the senior men's national team.
Keepers Tim Howard and Brad Guzan, who have shared national team duty this year, are also in the squad, making it semi-unlikely that Cropper will see much in the way of playing time. Cropper, who plays for Southampton in England, had the advantage of being one of the few national-team keepers based in Europe, along with Howard and Guzan. Only five players in the 23-man squad are currently playing for North American clubs, most notably the Seattle Sounders duo of Eddie Johnson and Brad Evans.
Also making his debut in an American squad is Icelandic striker Aron Jóhannsson, who was born in Mobile, Alabama but had played for Iceland at various youth levels. Two weeks ago, the 22-year-old announced his intention to play for the USA rather than the country where he was raised, thus causing some rather hurt feelings in Iceland.
Wednesday's game will be the USA's final tuneup match before their final four 2014 World Cup qualifiers, the first of which is September 6 in Costa Rica.
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