Star forward Clint Dempsey (pictured) in back in the USA fold after being called up for World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and Panama that will be played later this month. (Photo: Straffon Images)
CHICAGO – United States head coach Bruce Arena extended Wednesday invitation to 24 players for World Cup qualifiers against Honduras (March 24, home) and Panama (March 28, away).
The squad will begin to report to San Jose, California, on March 19 as the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup resumes. The Americans currently sit last in the six-team table with a 0W-0D-2L record after two matchdays.
"We put together a roster that we think has balance and one that gives us an option in playing a number of different ways," said Arena. "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.
“Our approach to these games is simple: We want to win."
The roster is highlighted by the return of Seattle Sounders FC star Clint Dempsey, who will play for the U.S. for the first time since last June's Copa America Centenario after being sidelined due to an irregular heartbeat. The 34-year-old forward leads the team with four career goals against Honduras.
Also meriting selection are midfielder Kellyn Acosta and defender Walker Zimmerman, both of whom play for 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League semifinalist FC Dallas.
GOALKEEPERS: Brad Guzan (Middlesbrough/England), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS: DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin/Germany), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/England), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/Mexico), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana/Mexico), Tim Ream (Fulham/England), Jorge Villafaña (Santos/Mexico), Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas)
MIDFIELDERS: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/Canada), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach/Germany), Jermaine Jones (LA Galaxy), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/Germany)
FORWARDS: Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC/Canada), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Bobby Wood (Hamburg/Germany)