U.S. Men's National Team
Pulisic, Wood, Johnson on 26-Man Qualifying Roster
August 27, 2017
FACED WITH A NUMBER of key injuries, especially along the backline, U.S. men's national team coach Bruce Arena today announced a 26-man roster for World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Honduras.
First-choice starters John Brooks and DeAndre Yedlin will both miss out due to health issues, opening the door for the likes of Omar Gonzalez (also returning from a knock) as well as Eric Lichaj, Tim Ream, and Graham Zusi.
“I think we have a good roster," Arena said. "The decisions are simply based on the fact that we need our best roster possible in order to achieve what we want to achieve here, and that’s to earn points in both games. I think we’re strong in the goal, up top very strong, and I like our midfield combinations.
"Our back line has had some injuries over the past month that will hurt us a little bit, but I think if everyone comes into camp healthy, we have good options in our back line and good depth. I think overall we have a pretty solid roster here. We’ve called 26 players because we come into camp with six guys that have yellow cards, and we also have some players that are dealing with injury so we have to be smart.”
The Yanks will host Costa Rica Friday (6:30pm ET; ESPN, Univision, UDN) at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. Four days later Arena's men will take the field at Estadio Olimpico in San Pedro Sula, Honduras—a foreboding venue in a dangerous city.
Here is the full roster.
Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Paul Arriola (D.C. United), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC)
Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (Hamburg)
Arena did not call up Timothy Chandler, a Bundesliga starter, but that doesn't really qualify as a shocker since the coach has not yet seen the Eintracht Frankfurt fullback in a U.S. kit since taking over as head coach last fall. Dom Dwyer, Jermaine Jones, Danny Williams, and Gyasi Zardes all missed out as well.
“We’re far from being in Russia," Arena noted. "I think one country is a little bit comfortable in this competition right now, which is Mexico with 14 points. Costa Rica is in pretty good shape with 11 points, then you have the U.S. with eight, Panama with seven, Honduras with five and Trinidad with three, so things can change real quickly over these next two games.
"We have to make sure we’re the team that secures points at home and hopefully get some points on the road. If we do that, we’re getting a lot closer to Russia. No one is safe at this point and a lot of things are going to happen over this next weekend.”
The roster is loaded with veterans, including Houston Dynamo fullback DaMarcus Beasley, who is seeking to become the first American to play in five consecutive World Cups, and Chris Wondolowski, the San Jose Earthquakes striker who has been on the fringes of the team for the past three years.
What do you think of the squad? Happy with Arena's selections? Share your take in the Comments section below.