US men's national team manager Bruce Arena's first World Cup Qualifying roster is out. 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. The Sounders do not play a league match during the global break, but do face Necaxa in a club friendly.
Arena decided that was enough to include Dempsey in his squad for the March 24 match against Honduras (10:30pm ET; FS1, UniMas, UDN) and the Panama contest four days later (10pm ET; beINSPORTS, Telemundo, Universo).
Brad Guzan, the top USA goalkeeper at last year's Copa America, replaced Howard against Mexico and was in goal for the 4-0 rout at Costa Rica that led to Klinsmann's firing after 5? years.
Having lost its first two games in the final round of World Cup qualifying, Team USA now is in last place in CONCACAF's six-team "hexagonal" tournament. Some questions leading up to this announcement included the availability of fixtures like DeAndre Yedlin, Clint Dempsey, Geoff Cameron, and Tim Howard.
"Clint has a history that is nearly second to none".
And these are the players Arena thinks can accomplish the mission. Arena wants that veteran presence, and he brings Dempsey in for that. Five have played in more than 30 qualifiers: Dempsey (36), Altidore, Beasley and Howard (33), and Bradley (31). But having a seasoned presence like Dempsey would appear to be nothing but a positive development for the U.S.
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The Sounders' home opener is 4 p.m. Sunday against New York Red Bulls. "He's made great progress in preseason and his first two games with Seattle, and we think he's a player that can still help us in these games - perhaps at a reduced role - but a player that still has a tremendous history of scoring goals and creating opportunities".
The Americans face must-win situations in the coming two games starting next Friday against Honduras and then four days later in Panama. "He's a domestic player, so I think that makes a little more sense". Michael Orozco is the most experienced right back, and Cameron also is a possibility - even though he plays in midfield for Stoke.
Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the USA national team for ESPN FC.
"He keeps getting better", Arena said.
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.