USA forward Clint Dempsey (pictured) was the top scorer at the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup with seven goals. (Photo: Mexsport)
CHICAGO – United States head coach Jurgen Klinsmann invited Sunday 26 players to convene in Miami for a training camp ahead of a pair of World Cup Qualifying, fourth round matches against Guatemala.
The Americans will resume fourth-round play with a visit to the Central American runner-up on March 25 at the Estadio Mateo Flores in Guatemala City. Four days later, the sides are slated to meet again at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.
“Our goal definitely for the two Guatemala fixtures is six points. We badly want to get the job done before the Copa America Centenario if possible,” said U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “We know it’s going to be very difficult, especially in Guatemala City, but it’s also going to be difficult in Columbus, and there we have a great crowd behind us.”
The roster, which contains eight players without any previous WCQ experience, features the return of Seattle Sounders FC forward Clint Dempsey, who is tied with Landon Donovan for most World Cup Qualifying goals by a U.S. player (13). The 33-year-old was left off the squad for the opening pair of Group C games, a 6-1 home win over St. Vincent & the Grenadines and scoreless draw at Trinidad & Tobago.
“Having Clint Dempsey back is very, very important for us as well,” Klinsmann remarked. “He’s a tremendous goal scorer and when we play teams like Guatemala, you need to figure out ways to score just one or two goals that make the difference. Clint is a guy that can get that done. He started well in the CONCACAF Champions League with two goals, but he hasn’t scored yet in MLS. Hopefully he will score with us before he goes back to MLS.”
The U.S., which tops Group C with four points, is 15W-6D-4L all-time against Guatemala.
GOALKEEPERS: David Bingham Guatemala (San Jose Earthquakes), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa/England), Tim Howard (Everton/England), William Yarbrough (Leon/Mexico)
DEFENDERS: Ventura Alvarado (Club America/Mexico), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin/Germany), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/England), Edgar Castillo (Monterrey/Mexico), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/Mexico), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana/Mexico), DeAndre Yedlin (Sunderland/England)
MIDFIELDERS: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes FC/Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/Canada), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), Ethan Finlay (Columbus Crew SC), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Monchengladbach/Germany), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers FC), Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution)
FORWARDS: Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC/Canada), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (Union Berlin/Germany), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)