Published: Fri, March 17, 2017
Sport | By Stephen Hansen

U.S. boss Arena recalls veterans for crucial qualifiers

U.S. boss Arena recalls veterans for crucial qualifiers

US coach Bruce Arena has picked an experienced team for a pivotal World Cup qualifying game March 24 at Avaya Stadium in San Jose.

The US lost 4-0 to Costa Rica right after going down to Mexico and need to start putting points on the board at home to Honduras on March 24 and away to Panama four days later if they are to stand any chance of qualifying for Russian Federation 2018. The squad consists of 14 MLS-based players and 10 who play overseas.

DaMarcus Beasley, who has played in World Cups since 2002, got the call ahead of Greg Garza to provide depth at left back.

"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".

Seattle Sounders' Dempsey had been sidelined due to an irregular heartbeat and rejoins the U.S. squad for the first time since Copa America Centenario last June. But having a seasoned presence like Dempsey would appear to be nothing but a positive development for the U.S. United States won 1-0.

"Clint has a history that is nearly second to none", said Arena via a team spokesperson.

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"We know there are some good days still ahead for Clint", Arena said.

Howard, the starting goalkeeper at the past two World Cups, returned to active duty last weekend with the Colorado Rapids after undergoing groin surgery in November. "To have that kind of player available I think is invaluable".

But that has changed as Dempsey, whose 52 U.S. goals rank second on the all-time list, was approved for full training and play for Seattle last month.

For fans of the New York Red Bulls, perhaps the biggest shock was the exclusion of the team's captain and midfielder Sacha Kljestan. Michael Orozco and Geoff Cameron are also options, but Johnson is the more natural fit. His return should allow him to resume his partnership with John Brooks in the center of the defense.

No DeAndre Yedlin, as he is also recovering from an injury. Timothy Chandler was not called in for these matches, and Arena addressed his decision regarding the Eintracht Frankfurt fullback. "Jones is a different situation". "He's a domestic player, so I think that makes a little more sense".

Neither team will be a pushover: Honduras has qualified for the last two World Cups while Panama beat the the third-place game of the 2015 Gold Cup.

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