U.S. Sets Up Camp in Colorado

20170321 MNT Training Bruce Arena

By JACK BELL

US logoThere were few surprises when Bruce Arena, the coach of the United States men’s national team, announced the names of the 27 players summoned to training camp ahead of an exhibition match and two important World Cup qualifiers.

“This camp gives me the opportunity to see six new faces we haven’t had in with the team yet – Brad Guzan, Timmy Chandler, Fabian Johnson, Ethan Horvath, Bobby Wood and DeAndre Yedlin – which is good,” Arena said, referring to his late return to coach the team. “It’s also great that we’re able to bring back 21 players that have been in with our program already in 2017. There’s some continuity there as well as the fact that we’re getting to see some new faces, which is important.”

Arena took over from Jurgen Klinsmann, who was fired after the U.S. lost its first two qualifiers in the final round of play in the CONCACAF region. Arena returned as coach as the U.S. team defeated Honduras (6-0) then grabbed a point on the road at Panama (1-1).

After playing Venezuela (June 3;, 10 p.m. Eastern; FS1, Univision) at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo., the American team will host Trinidad and Tobago (June 8; 7:50 p.m. Eastern; FS1, UniMas, Univision) in the same place, then travel to Mexico City for a match against Mexico (June 11; 8:30 p.m. Eastern; FS1, UniMas, Univision) at Azteca Stadium, where the U.S. has never won a game in qualifying. Over all at Azteca, the U.S. has had 66 meetings with El Tri since 1934.

The game against Trinidad and Tobago will mark the halfway point in the Hexagonal, the 10-game final round of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The top three finishers gain automatic entry to the finals, with the fourth-place team headed to a playoff. The U.S. is currently in fourth place. After the Mexico match, qualifying is on hiatus until two games in September (at Costa Rica, Sept. 1; vs, Honduras, Sept. 5) and wraps up with two in October (vs. Panama, Oct. 6; at Trinidad and Tobago, Oct. 10).

There are no current Red Bulls or NYCFC players on Arena’s 27-man training camp roster. There are, however, several former Red Bulls players: Jozy Altidore, Tim Ream, Michael Bradley, Tim Howard and Dax McCarty.

Arena addressed a number of issues in a Q&A at USsoccer.com, including the inclusion of FC Dallas center back Matt Hedges.

“Matt has arguably been one of the best defenders in Major League Soccer over the last couple of years,” Arena said. “It was unfortunate that he suffered an injury in January camp and wasn’t able to play in the friendlies against Serbia and Jamaica, but we’ve continued to follow him. He was a consideration for the camp in March, but we decided to go with a couple of defenders that have had a little bit more experience with us. We can’t ignore the fact that Matt’s been a good player and he needs an opportunity with the national team. Bringing him in is a plus, it’ll get him a foot in the door and hopefully allow him to move forward with a bigger role in the U.S. team.”

Training camp roster:

Goalkeepers Brad Guzan (Atlanta/MLS), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge/Belgium), Tim Howard (Colorado/MLS), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake/MLS)

Defenders DaMarcus Beasley (Houston/MLS), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City/MLS), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin/Germany), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/England), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt/Germany), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/Mexico), Matt Hedges (Dallas/MLS), Tim Ream (Fulham/England), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna/Mexico), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United/England), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City/MLS)

Midfielders Kellyn Acosta (Dallas/MLS),Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana/Mexico), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia/MLS), Michael Bradley (Toronto/MLS), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach/Germany), Dax McCarty (Chicago/MLS), Darlington Nagbe (Portland/MLS), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/Germany)

Forwards Jozy Altidore (Toronto/MLS), Clint Dempsey (Seattle/MLS), Jordan Morris (Seattle/MLS), Bobby Wood (Hamburg/Germany)