Sports WebXtra: Nacogdoches native Clint Dempsey back on United States national team

Mar 17, 2017, 01:20
Sports WebXtra: Nacogdoches native Clint Dempsey back on United States national team

Forwards Clint Dempsey and Jordan Morris have been named to Bruce Arena's roster for the U.S. Men's National Team, while defenders Román Torres and Joevin Jones have been called in to Panama and Trinidad & Tobago, respectively, for a pair of CONCACAF Hexagonal Round Qualifiers. Clint Dempsey is back with the national team for the first time since last summer's Copa América after dealing with an irregular heart beat; goalkeeper Tim Howard will again vie with Brad Guzan now that Howard has returned to the Colorado Rapids after sustaining a groin injury that required surgery; and Jeff Cameron only recently regained his starting spot at Stoke City.

The USMNT plays Honduras in San Jose, California on March 24 and Panama in Panama City on March 28.

"Clint has a history that is nearly second to none", Arena said about the USA men's national team's second all-time leading goal scorer.

Having lost its first two games in the final round of World Cup qualifying, Team USA now is in last place in CONCACAF's six-team "hexagonal" tournament.

Paul Arriola, Matt Besler, Steve Birnbaum, Greg Garza and Graham Zusi also were left off, and Galaxy forward Gyasi Zardes is still recovering from a knee injury.

"We know there are some good days still ahead for Clint", Arena said.

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Arena says they will monitor him throughout the buildup to the March 24 match against Honduras, and he'd likely get the nod if he looks ready. "To have that kind of player available I think is invaluable". "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". Dempsey, and the US face Honduras on Friday March 24th. Our approach to these games is simple: "We want to win".

Dempsey, the second-greatest scorer in USA history, started the Seattle Sounders' first two matches of the season after recovering from a heart condition, diagnosed last summer.

He was not included in the annual January camp for domestic players.

"Jones is a different situation", said Arena.

Another fullback set to sit out the qualifiers is Timmy Chandler, who is suspended for the Honduras match but would have been eligible to face Panama.

Arena intends to use Fabian Johnson at left midfield, where he plays for Borussia Moenchengladbach, leaving left back options to include 34-year-old DaMarcus Beasley and Villafana, who has never made a competitive worldwide appearance.

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