USMNT roster announced for World Cup Qualifying and Clint Dempsey returns


U.S. men’s national team manager Bruce Arena’s first World Cup Qualifying roster is out. With matches at the end of the month against Honduras and Panama, Arena has selected 24 players, with Clint Dempsey returning. 

Here is the roster. 

GOALKEEPERS (3): David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids)

DEFENDERS: John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dyamo), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), Tim Ream (Fulham), Jorge Villafana (Santos Laguna), Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas), Matt Besler (Sporting KC)

MIDFIELDERS: Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Jermaine Jones (LA Galaxy), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Monchengladbach), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire)

FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

Injured: Fabian Johnson, Bobby Wood
Out for personal reasons: Brad Guzan

Some observations:

  1. It’s a bit of a surprise to see Dempsey on there. After the irregular heartbeat last year that saw him miss the November WCQs and the rest of the MLS season, it seemed like he would need a bit more time to recover. But he has returned for the Sounders and is good to go. Arena wants that veteran presence, and he brings Dempsey in for that.
  2. Another surprise is Beasley. At 34, I don’t think he has the quality to play, but Arena said on the FS1 broadcast when the roster was announced that he is comfortable putting him in at any time and will count on him.
  3. Tim Howard is back. But will he start? He is still recovering from his leg injury but Arena said if he practices well and is good to go, there is no reason to believe he won’t play. Howard sounds like Arena’s No. 1 goalkeeper.
  4. No DeAndre Yedlin, as he is also recovering from an injury.
  5. Johnson is going to play in the midfield, which Arena called his natural position. He has four goals for his club this season and has down well in attack. 

The U.S. returns to qualifying on March 24 against Honduras in San Diego. The team then goes to Panama on March 28. The Americans currently sit at the bottom of the hex table with zero points from two matches.

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