U.S. Men's National Team
Fabian Out, Benny In as Desperate Yanks Scramble
October 01, 2017
DEANDRE YEDLIN is healthy again, and will no doubt line up at right back as the United States men's national team plays two absolutely critical World Cup qualifers in the next week-and-a-half.
Before you get too excited about that piece of information, keep in mind that John Brooks (injury) and Fabian Johnson (coach's decision) were left off the squad, while a recovering Geoff Cameron will be shaking off considerable rust as the Yanks fight for their World Cup lives.
Think the defense is OK? You might want to think again. Eric Lichaj, now a sub with Nottingham Forest, and Timothy Chandler, who has fallen out of favor with the national team, did not make the roster. Neither did Gold Cup contributors Matt Hedges, Matt Miazga, and Justin Morrow. Michael Orozco, DaMarcus Beasley, and Graham Zusi did.
Tim Howard's ongoing struggles with the Colorado Rapids suggest the veteran may watch from the sidelines.
It's a big mess, people.
"Yedlin has been playing now over the past couple of weeks," Arena said, "and Cameron played 90 minutes this weekend, which is a good sign. We’ll see what they look like when they come into camp."
Yes, we'll see. Here is the roster.
Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), Tim Ream (Fulham), Jorge Villafana (Santos Laguna), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution), Paul Arriola (D.C. United), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)
Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (Hamburg)
"It’s a roster we’ve selected that we believe will give us success in these next two games," Arena added. "We have a pretty balanced roster with experienced players and if any issues arise, I think we have cover in all positions. We need to anticipate some issues with players with injuries, as well as suspensions."
Arena, known for his no-nonsense approach to dealing with players and the media, seemed to be in spin mode as he announced the roster.
“In 2017 we’ve had one blip—in the Costa Rica game. All the other results went along as we expected, and maybe even an extra point in Mexico. I think if it comes down to where we need four or six points in our last two games, I think that’s fine and we’ll get it done.”
“The players always give the commitment, that’s never an issue. The issue is whether or not we get the results we need, and I think we’re positioned to do that. When I took the job last November, if you said to me, "[If] you’d be in position in game nine to play a game at home that you had to win, would you take that? I would say ‘Yes.’
Fair enough. But a win against Panama on Friday doesn't necessarily resolve anything. If the Americans finish third in the Hexagonal, they book a ticket to Russia. If they end up in fifth, they miss out. A fourth-place finish means the U.S. will face either Syria or Australia with a World Cup berth on the line.
You can scrutinize the different scenarios here, but the upshot is that the Americans absolutely need a win against Panama on Friday.
What do you think of the roster, and the Yanks' chances? Share your take below.