U.S. Men's National Team
Bruce Arena Names 27 for June World Cup Qualifiers
May 28, 2017
IF YOU WERE HOPING to see some new names, or perhaps a few adventurous selections, from United States men's national team coach Bruce Arena, sorry.
The coach played it safe with his latest World Cup qualifying roster, and it's hard to fault his logic. The U.S. currently sits in fourth place in the Hexagonal standings and needs to lock down points in qualifiers against Trinidad & Tobago (8pm ET June 8th; FS1, UniMas, UDN) and Mexico (8:30pm ET Jne 11; FS1, Univision, UDN).
The time for experimentation is later this summer, in the Gold Cup. For now, Arena has his sights set on a more prestigious tournament.
“I think we have a good group, and in my case I’m still in the early goings with this team and I haven’t seen all of our players," Arena said. "This camp gives me the opportunity to see six new faces we haven’t had in with the team yet—Brad Guzan, Timmy Chandler, Fabian Johnson, Ethan Horvath, Bobby Wood, and DeAndre Yedlin—which is good.
"It’s also great that we’re able to bring back 21 players that have been in with our program already in 2017. There’s some continuity there.”
The team will assemble in Denver starting today and will play a warm-up match against Venezuela in Sandy, Utah, on June 3 (10pm ET; FS1, Univision networks). Here's the complete squad.
Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timothy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Tim Ream (Fulham), Jorge Villafana (Santos Laguna), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund)
Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Bobby Wood (Hamburg SV)
None of the names listed above qualify as surprises but DaMarcus Beasley and Matt Hedges likely did not make many prognosticators' lists. The former is 35-years-old and the latter, 27, has just one senior team appearance—more than two years ago.
"We can’t ignore the fact that Matt’s been a good player and he needs an opportunity with the national team," Arena said. "Bringing him in is a plus, it’ll get him a foot in the door and hopefully allow him to move forward with a bigger role in the U.S. team.”
Arena made no apologies for including Beasley.
"He’s still been a good player in Major League Soccer," Arena said of Beasley, "and that’s why we still have him on the roster. We haven’t found any players that can push DaMarcus out of the position he has right now with the national team. He’s not only a good player, he’s a good teammate and he’s going to do whatever is necessary to make our team successful.
"It’s a real plus to have him, and it would be a fabulous accomplishment if he becomes the first U.S. player to appear in qualifiers for five different World Cups."
Given the three-day turnaround between qualifiers, quite a few players are expected to see the field: "I can guarantee we will not be playing the same team from game one to game two," Arena offered. "There will be a number of changes for the game in Mexico, so we’ve built a strong roster to allow us to do that.”