United States national football team calls Dempsey, Howard for WC2018 qualifyingBy Kristina Tyler Mar 17, 2017
There were surprises - large and small - sprinkled throughout the list of 24 players released by United States Coach Bruce Arena ahead of next week's crucial World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and at Panama.
The US host Honduras at San Jose, California, on March 24 (March 25 AEDT) and are away at Panama four days later.
Other key selections include forwards Jozy Altidore and Bobby Wood; defenders John Brooks and Omar Gonzalez; and midfielders Michael Bradley and Christian Pulisic. But having a seasoned presence like Dempsey would appear to be nothing but a positive development for the U.S.
Arena explained his decision to pick Dempsey on Wednesday during his appearance on "The Herd with Colin Cowheard".
The top three nations in the North and Central American and Caribbean hexagonal qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation, and the No. 4 team meets Asia's fifth-place finisher in a playoff for another berth.
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Arena, 65, was named to his second stint coaching the USA squad last November after Jurgen Klinsmann was sacked following losses to Mexico and at Costa Rica to open North American (CONCACAF) regional qualifying for next year's World Cup in Russian Federation. "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".
"Clint has a history that is nearly second to none", said Arena, who replaced Juergen Klinsmann soon after that defeat.
Clint Dempsey will return to the USMNT for matches against Honduras and Panama. Colorado Rapids goalkeeper Tim Howard saw his first minutes last weekend since undergoing groin surgery following last November's 2-1 World Cup qualifying defeat to Mexico.
"Jones is a different situation", said Arena. Our approach to these games is simple: "We want to win". "He's a domestic player, so I think that makes a little more sense". DeAndre Yedlin, however, was ruled out because of injury. It looks likely that Geoff Cameron or Michael Orozco Fiscal - usually central defenders - will slide over.
Cameron strained the medial collateral ligament in his right knee on October 22, returned as a late substitute on February 26 and has played two full matches since.
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