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Arena Picks 24 Ahead of World Cup Qualifiers

Arena Picks 24 Ahead of World Cup Qualifiers

United States coach Bruce Arena called upon forward Clint Dempsey and goalkeeper Tim Howard, both veterans coming off serious injuries, for World Cup qualifying duty Wednesday ahead of crucial matches.

The Sounders' home opener is 4 p.m. Sunday against New York Red Bulls. Additionally, midfielder Nicolás Lodeiro is set to join Uruguay for two matches in CONMEBOL Qualifying, as all five Seattle players look to get their countries closer to making the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russian Federation.

The U.S. returns to qualifying on March 24 against Honduras in San Diego. Howard was very good in his first start back with Colorado Rapids over the weekend, while Dempsey has played two 90-minute games with Seattle Sounders since recovering from a heart condition. Meanwhile, veterans such as DaMarcus Beasley and Dax McCarty get brought back into the fold. "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".

"If you put pencil to paper here, we go nowhere unless we come out of these games with points, and by that I mean three points or more", Arena said Wednesday during a Facebook Live chat.

Geoff Cameron also is back with the team for the first time since September's World Cup qualifiers after a four-month stint on the sidelines with a knee injury. "He's a domestic player, so I think that makes a little more sense".




Top young talent DeAndre Yedlin and Eric Lichaj would have made the roster if they were not now injured, a U.S. Soccer official said. Michael Orozco is the most experienced right back, and Cameron also is a possibility - even though he plays in midfield for Stoke. Five players - Clint Dempsey (36), Jozy Altidore, DaMarcus Beasley and Tim Howard (33), and Michael Bradley (31) - have over 30 games under their belt in CONCACAF qualifying.

Also named to the team were Galaxy midfielders Jermaine Jones and Sebastian Lletget.

"Jones is a different situation", said Arena.

Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the USA national team for ESPN FC.

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.

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