Bruce Arena will call some tantalizing talents from across Major League Soccer into the US national team's January camp next month, the first gathering of his second stint in charge of the Yanks.
Answering fans' questions in a Facebook live chat on Friday, Arena revealed a long list of MLS-based players he will bring back into the fold after periods of marginalization under his predecessor Jurgen Klinsmann, part of his plans to rely heavily on MLS as he looks to correct the USMNT's off-color start to the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.
“We hope to announce our January camp [roster] in the near future – you're going to see many of the typical faces, I think, [but] if I can give you a little bit of insight, a couple of players that haven't been around for a bit will be back in camp,” said Arena.
“An example would be Benny Feilhaber, Juan Agudelo, Gyasi Zardes, Darlington Nagbe, Jordan Morris, Chris Pontius, Dax McCarty, [Keegan] Rosenberry from Philadelphia, the two center backs [Matt] Hedges and [Walker] Zimmerman from Dallas … We're excited about looking at some of these MLS players to see if they're going to be in position to help us in 2017.”
Arena also mentioned Vancouver Whitecaps speedster Kekuta Manneh, a Gambian-born winger who recently attained US citizenship, and Clint Dempsey, the Seattle Sounders star who is currently sidelined by a heart condition. Manneh's first USMNT call will hinge on his return to health from the foot injury that sidelined him for the second half of Vancouver's season, however, while Dempsey awaits clearance from his doctors.
“I've spoken to Clint recently and I've been in touch with the people in Seattle,” said Arena. “Our goal is to bring him into January camp on a limited basis,” with the hopes that Dempsey will be medically cleared for full activities in time for crucial qualifiers vs. Honduras and at Panama in March.
The former LA Galaxy coach was asked about other players, including Columbus Crew SC winger Ethan Finlay and former New York Red Bulls standout Matt Miazga, presently under contract with England's Chelsea but on loan in the Netherlands. Neither of those two are in Arena's immediate plans, but somewhat surprisingly, an older name is: DaMarcus Beasley.
“He's a player we've invited into camp,” said Arena of the 34-year-old free agent, who made his USMNT debut back in Arena's first stint in charge and recently concluded his contract with the Houston Dynamo. “[He's] still a reliable, steady left back. We need to look at him and see where he is right now.”