Bruce Arena reflects on January, prepares for March qualifiers

Bruce Arena

by JACK HAZZARD

With the United States men’s national team’s January camp and friendlies under wraps, Coach Bruce Arena reflected on the past month and the upcoming March World Cup qualifiers during a telephone conference call with reporters on Thursday.

In his second go-round as US coach, Arena was upbeat after the recent international friendlies against Serbia and Jamaica. On Serbia, he said that his side was not “sharp enough or coordinated enough to break” down Serbia. He added that he was impressed with his team’s win against Jamaica, especially the defense.

With the friendlies in the past, Arena and the US men’s team is now preparing for March’s important World Cup qualifying matches.

Arena said his pool of players numbers about 40 spread among Europe, the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Arena addressed a number of topics leading up the matches vs. Honduras (March 24) and at Panama (March 28):

  • The 40-player pool will be whittled to 25 by the coaching staff.
  • Fabian Johnson is not viewed as a potential option at left back. Arena said he is leaning toward Greg Garza, Jorge Villafana, or DeMarcus Beasley at the position.
  • Arena was pleased with Graham Zusi’s recent performances. He said that the Sporting KC midfielder is currently slotted in a right back.
  • European players Bobby Wood, Christian Pulisic, DeAndre Yedlin, Johnson, Timothy Chandler, and Julian Green are all expected to attend March’s camp.
  • Brad Guzan is expected to compete for the No. 1 spot in goal. Tim Howard is expected to start the MLS season for the Colorado Rapids.
  • Paul Arriola will be evaluated in the next couple of weeks to see if he will be available for the March camp.
  • Tim Ream, Chad Marshall, and Michael Orozco are currently in the Arena’s depth chart.