Clint Dempsey will have his sights set on scoring goals for the U.S. against Honduras and Panama in WCQ. (Andy Mead/YCJ Photo)
CHICAGO – Clint Dempsey, who missed the first two qualifying matches of the CONCACAF hexagonal with heart problems, was among 24 players who were called into the U.S. national team by head coach Bruce Arena for two vital World Cup qualifiers this month.
Dempsey, who has scored 13 times in 36 qualifying matches, will be on the team for the March 25 match against Honduras in San Jose, Calif. and in Panama City vs. host Panama March 28.
Having worked closely with the medical staffs from the Seattle Sounders and U.S. Soccer, Dempsey was cleared to return to game action this preseason and started the Major League Soccer campaign, by scoring in Seattle’s 2-1 loss at Houston Dynamo last week.
“Clint has a history that is almost second to none,” Arena said about the national team’s second all-time leading goal scorer. “We know there are some good days still ahead for Clint. 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. To have that kind of player available I think is invaluable.”
Players will begin report to San Jose on March 19 ahead of the USA-Honduras encounter at Avaya Stadium (10:30 p.m. ET March 24) on FSI, UniMas and Univision Deportes.
“We put together a roster that we think has balance and one that gives us an option in playing a number of different ways,” Arena said in a statement. “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 U.S. roster (club; qualifying caps/goals):
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Middlesbrough/ENG; 13/0), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids; 33/0), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake; 0/0)
DEFENDERS (8): DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo; 33/6), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin/GER; 2/0), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG; 19/2), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX; 12/0), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana/MEX; 6/1), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 2/0), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna/MEX; 0/0), Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas; 0/0)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; 1/0), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union; 6/0, Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/CAN; 31/5), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach/GER; 15/1), Jermaine Jones (LA Galaxy; 16/0), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 0/0), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire; 0/0), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers; 3/0), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 5/2)
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC/CAN; 33/16), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC; 36/13), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 3/0), Bobby Wood (Hamburg/GER; 8/3)