Dempsey, Morris to USMNT for Cup qualifiers

"Clint has a history that is nearly second to none".

The USMNT plays two important World Cup Qualifiers against Honduras and Panama next week. Howard sounds like Arena's No. 1 goalkeeper. The Sounders do not play a league match during the global break, but do face Necaxa in a club friendly.

To qualify for next summer's World Cup, the US must finish in the top three of the six-team hexagonal.

"The message is simply this: We got to bond, be a team, be supportive of each other, have good concentration during the week and be excited to play", Arena said.

Yedlin was projected to start for Arena at right back but suffered a thigh injury this month with Newcastle. Midfielder Jermaine Jones was picked, but he must serve a one-game ban. After the irregular heartbeat past year that saw him miss the November WCQs and the rest of the MLS season, it seemed like he would need a bit more time to recover.

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Dempsey has 52 worldwide goals, five fewer than all-time USA leader Landon Donovan. After months of uncertainty over whether he could carry on playing, Dempsey returned for Seattle's preseason with the approval of doctors, and has played all 180 minutes for the Sounders this season (scoring one goal in the process).

Klinsmann was sacked in November after a 4-0 loss to Costa Rica with Arena appointed for a second spell in charge of the national team. Jones has six goals in 59 career appearances, including four in 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.

Training camp will open Monday in the San Jose area. That list included DaMarcus Beasley, who should be in contention for the starting left back role, and Tim Howard, who is expected to start in goal after a successful return from surgery that sidelined him for almost four months. Michael Orozco and Geoff Cameron are also options, but Johnson is the more natural fit. With the USMNT already trailing Mexico and Panama by 4 points in the race for the automatic qualification spots, a win over los Catrachos and some kind of positive result against los Canaleros are viewed as more or less essential to American hopes. He announced his squad to face Honduras and Panama on Wednesday, and it features 13 domestic-based players. Chandler was left off because Arena didn't want him to travel for Europe for just the second game. Sebastian Lletget of LA Galaxy and the Portland Timbers' Darlington Nagbe are included, and there is room for Christian Pulisic, who has been showing some excellent form for Borussia Dortmund.

"They are going to be as calm and relaxed as they can be in a game that's this crucial - we have to win this game", Arena said.