Bruce Arena and the USMNT will have their first CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying match since Arena took over near the end of last year. The US find themselves dead last in the Hexagonal and need to pull no fewer than four points from these two upcoming games beginning against Honduras on March 24 at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, CA.
The roster includes 19 players with previous qualifying experience and ten of the 24 players named have played 12 or more qualifying games. Five players – Clint Dempsey (36), Jozy Altidore, DaMarcus Beasley and Tim Howard (33), and Michael Bradley (31) – have over 30 games under their belt in CONCACAF qualifying.
Dempsey, out of the national team picture since September 2016 with an irregular heartbeat, comes back to the team in COPA America Centenario. Howard also returns after suffering an adductor fracture in the US’ 2-1 loss to Mexico. Geoff Cameron will also return from injury (MCL sprain) and make his first appearance for the US since their 2-0 win over Cuba in October 2016.
Arena’s 24-player roster with WCQ Caps and Goals
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Middlesbrough/ENG; 13/0), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids; 33/0), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake; 0/0)
DEFENDERS (8): DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo; 33/6), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin/GER; 2/0), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG; 19/2), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX; 12/0), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana/MEX; 6/1), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 2/0), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna/MEX; 0/0), Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas; 0/0)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; 1/0), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union; 6/0, Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/CAN; 31/5), Jermaine Jones (LA Galaxy; 16/0), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach/GER; 15/1), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 0/0), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire; 0/0), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers; 3/0), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 5/2)
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC/CAN; 33/16), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC; 36/13), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 3/0), Bobby Wood (Hamburg/GER; 8/3)
Jermaine Jones will not be available for the first match against Honduras as he is serving a one-game suspension. Altidore, Bradley and John Brooks are one yellow card away from suspension.
Arena had this to say about the 24-players he selected for these two games:
“We put together a roster that we think has balance and one that gives us an option in playing a number of different ways. It’s a roster where the primary rationale is to help us be successful in these two games, but we’re also looking down the road and bringing in some young players that we think have an opportunity to be an important part of the National Team program as well. Our approach to these games is simple: We want to win.”