Ten MLS players called in for qualifiers
U.S. national team head coach Bruce Arena has called in 23 players for training camp before World Cup qualifying semifinal round matches at home against El Salvador (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, FSW/FSE) and away to Panama (Sept. 8, 9 p.m. ET, live on FSW/tape delay on Telemundo 11:30 p.m. ET), 18 of whom either currently ply their trade in Major League Soccer or have done so in the past.
Ten current stars in MLS are among the ranks, with the MetroStars sending the most representatives in goalkeeper Jonny Walker, defender Eddie Pope and midfielder Eddie Gaven, who made his first full national team appearance in the USA's 1-1 draw with Poland on July 11 in Chicago.
Fresh off of their impressive 4-1 victory over the Chicago Fire last weekend, the Dallas Burn send two players to the camp. Eddie Johnson, who is still looking for his first full national team appearance, is one of four strikers selected while his teammate, defender Cory Gibbs also gets the nod.
The San Jose Earthquakes offer up their forward pairing of Landon Donovan and Brian Ching, who notched his first international goal in the U.S. team's crucial tie away at Jamaica on Aug. 18 in the first match of this round of qualifying.
Los Angeles Galaxy winger Cobi Jones is the most experienced player summoned, as he leads the squad in caps with 161. Rounding out the pool of current MLS players are defender Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew) and Kansas City Wizards midfielder Kerry Zavagnin.
However, the homegrown connections don't end there, as eight players with prior MLS experience return home to wear their national team colors.
DaMarcus Beasley and Bobby Convey both will make their first return trip after signing PSV Eindhoven (Holland Eredivisie) and Reading FC (England Coca-Cola Championship) respectively, earlier this season. In addition, Brian McBride and Carlos Bocanegra return as teammates at Fulham FC in England's top flight.
Other players called in by Arena who now compete overseas include striker Clint Mathis, who scored a goal in his first appearance with Hannover 96 in Germany, winger Eddie Lewis (Preston North End/England), defender Greg Vanney (SC Bastia/France) and goalkeeper Tim Howard (Manchester United FC).
Only captain Claudio Reyna, goalkeeper Kasey Keller, defenders Steve Cherundolo and Oguchi Onyewu and forward Conor Casey have yet to lace up their boots for an MLS match.
GK (3): Tim Howard (Manchester United/ENG), Kasey Keller (Tottenham Hotspur/ENG), Jonny Walker (MetroStars)
DF (8): Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham FC/ENG), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96/GER), Bobby Convey (Reading FC), Cory Gibbs (Dallas Burn), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege/BEL), Eddie Pope (MetroStars), Greg Vanney (SC Bastia/FRA)
MD (8): DaMarcus Beasley (PSV Eindhoven/NED), Landon Donovan (San Jose Earthquakes), Eddie Gaven (MetroStars), Cobi Jones (Los Angeles Galaxy), Eddie Lewis (Preston North End/ENG), Clint Mathis (Hannover 96/GER), Claudio Reyna (Manchester City/ENG), Kerry Zavagnin (Kansas City Wizards)
FW (4): Conor Casey (FSV Mainz/GER), Brian Ching (San Jose Earthquakes), Eddie Johnson (Dallas Burn), Brian McBride (Fulham FC/ENG)