The United States men’s national soccer team will rely on familiar faces to resurrect its 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign.
Head coach Bruce Arena on Wednesday announced the roster for upcoming games against Honduras (March 24 away) and Panama (March 28 home). The 24-man squad includes several mainstays of recent years, like DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore.
The inclusion of Dempsey, the United States’ second all-time leading goal scorer, is among the biggest surprises. He missed the last four months of the 2016 Major League Soccer season and Team USA’s most recent games due to a heart problem, but showed enough progress in preseason and in the early weeks of the 2017 season to earn a place in the squad.
Arena explained his decision to pick Dempsey on Wednesday during his appearance on “The Herd with Colin Cowherd.”
Having lost its first two games in the final round of World Cup qualifying, Team USA currently is in last place in CONCACAF’s six-team “hexagonal” tournament. However, defeating Honduras and Panama would lift the U.S. into firm contention for a spot in the World Cup with six games remaining.
Thumbnail photo via Mike DiNovo/USA TODAY Sports Images