14 MLS players called to US national team for upcoming World Cup qualifiers

US national team callups - March 15, 2017

Editor's note:In addition to the 14 MLS players originally called in, San Jose's David Bingham and Sporting KC's Graham Zusi were called in to replace Brad Guzan (birth of his child) and Fabian Johnson (thigh injury). On March 19, New York's Sacha Kljestan and SKC's Matt Besler were added to the roster, with Kljestan replacing the injured Bobby Wood and Besler called in to add to backline depth. On March 20, San Jose's Chris Wondolowski was added to the roster.

Fourteen MLS players were named on Wednesday to a 24-man roster called up by head coach Bruce Arena for the US national team's upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and Panama.

Goalkeepers Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids) and Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), defenders DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo) and Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas), midfielders Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Jermaine Jones (LA Galaxy), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire) and Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers) and forwards Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders) and Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders) were all named to the squad.

Goalkeeper Brad Guzan, who is currently with English Premier League club Middlesbrough but is set to join Atlanta United FC in the summer, was also called up by Arena, who is getting set for his first World Cup qualifying matches since taking over managerial duties from Jurgen Klinsmann in November.

The roster will begin reporting to San Jose, California, on Sunday, ahead of the US's match against Honduras at Avaya Stadium on March 24 (10:30 pm ET | FS1, UniMás, Follow on the MLS App). The Americans will travel to Panama for another qualifier on March 28 (10 pm ET | beIN Sports). The US lost their first two Hexagonal matches, and currently sit in last in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying.

"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 released by US Soccer. "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."

Wednesday's call-ups mark a return to the USMNT for Dempsey, who hadn't been with the team since last June's Copa America Centenario due to an irregular heartbeat that sidelined him for the second half of 2016.

"Clint has a history that is almost second to none," Arena said. "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."

Howard is also returning to the US for the first time since suffering an adductor fracture during November's 2-1 World Cup qualifying loss to Mexico. Both players have played in the opening weeks of the MLS season, with Dempsey starting both of Seattle's games and scoring one goal and Howard making his season debut in the Rapids' 1-0 loss at the New York Red Bulls on Saturday.

Stoke City defender Geoff Cameron recovered enough from an MCL strain to make the roster, while two other defenders – DeAndre Yedlin and Eric Lichaj – were slated to make the roster but kept off due to injuries.

Four players on the roster – Lletget, McCarty, Zimmerman and Santos Laguna defender Jorge Villafaña – had never before received a call-up to a World Cup qualifier. All four of those players were involved in Arena's January camp, as were eight other players named to Wednesday's roster.

Surprising omissions from the roster include Sporting Kansas City midfielder Benny Feilhaber and New York Red Bulls midfielder Sacha Kljestan, both of whom had shots at the playmaker role during January camp.

Other notable call-ups include defender John Brooks, midfielders Fabian Johnson and Christian Pulisic and forward Bobby Wood.

Four teams – Dallas, LA, Seattle and Toronto – led the way with two players called to the roster.

USMNT Roster

Goalkeepers (3)
GKDavid Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes)
GKBrad Guzan (Middlesbrough/Atlanta United)
GKTim Howard (Colorado Rapids)
GKNick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
Defenders (10)
DMatt Besler (Sporting KC)
DJohn Brooks (Hertha Berlin)
DDaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo)
DGeoff Cameron (Stoke City)
DOmar Gonzalez (Pachuca)
DMichael Orozco (Tijuana)
DTim Ream (Fulham)
DJorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna)
DWalker Zimmerman (FC Dallas)
DGraham Zusi (Sporting KC)
Midfielders (9)
MKellyn Acosta (FC Dallas)
MAlejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union)
MMichael Bradley (Toronto FC)
MJermaine Jones (LA Galaxy)
MFabian Johnson (Borussia Monchengladbach)
MSacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls)
MSebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy)
MDarlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers)
MDax McCarty (Chicago Fire)
MChristian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund)
Forwards (4)
FJozy Altidore (Toronto FC)
FClint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders)
FJordan Morris (Seattle Sounders)
FChris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
FBobby Wood (Hamburg)