Arena Selects USMNT October 2017 Roster For Final Two Hex Matches
The final round of World Cup qualifying has arrived. Known as The Hex, CONCACAF’s qualifying process ends this week. While the United States men’s national team hasn’t made the process easy for themselves, they’re still in position to punch their ticket. Bruce Arena called in 25 players to join the USMNT October 2017 roster. These are the 25 Arena believes can provide the necessary results to book a trip to Russia next summer. Training camp is underway in Orlando ahead of Friday’s match against Panama. It’s time for the Semper Soccer Blog to break down the roster.
Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan, Tim Howard, Nick Rimando
Defenders: DaMarcus Beasley, Matt Besler, Geoff Cameron, Omar Gonzalez, Michael Orozco, Tim Ream, Jorge Villafana, DeAndre Yedlin, Graham Zusi
Midfielders: Kellyn Acosta, Juan Agudelo, Paul Arriola, Alejandro Bedoya, Michael Bradley, Benny Feilhaber, Dax McCarty, Darlington Nagbe, Christian Pulisic
Forwards: Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey, Chris Wondolowski, Bobby Wood
The original roster included 26 names, but midfielder Gyasi Zardes was removed due to a groin injury.
Right now, the USA has all 25 players available for the Panama game on Friday. Although nine players are on caution watch, meaning a yellow card on Friday night would cause them to miss Tuesday’s trip to Trinidad & Tobago. Those nine players are Acosta, Arriola, Beasley, Bedoya, Besler, Bradley, Cameron, Dempsey and Yedlin.
Arena mentioned last week that this wasn’t the time to experiment with new players since these two matches are of vital importance. That didn’t mean he didn’t have some surprises in store. Benny Feilhaber is probably the biggest surprise of all. September’s team suffered from a lack of creativity and playmaking, especially in the center of the offense. With the USMNT leaning on Nagbe and Pulisic to create chances, their strengths are on the wings. Feilhaber adds a dimension of creativity to the middle of the field. He’s also improved his defensive work under Peter Vermes at Sporting Kansas City. Feilhaber can be counted on to remain unfazed if pressed into duty or counted on to start.
With Jordan Morris unavailable with a hamstring injury, Arena needed a replacement for a sure-fire roster member. It appears Juan Agudelo was tabbed for that role instead of Dom Dwyer. While no one boasts the pure speed Morris brings, Agudelo is versatile to cover all the positions that Morris is asked to drop into. Dwyer’s skill set makes him a more suitable replacement for Jozy Altidore or Bobby Wood, so his next call-up has to wait.
Finally, it’s clear by looking at this roster that Arena greatly values CONCACAF experience. Arena loaded his squad full of players who performed the job before against these very teams. Instead, Arena may be playing with his formation instead of his personnel. There’s a lot of chatter around the team that the Stars & Stripes will deploy a 3-5-2 formation this month. Defenders like Tim Ream and Michael Orozco have plenty of experience in that system, which would explain the absence of players like Fabian Johnson and Matt Miazga.
The USMNT faced a long, bumpy road through the Hex. That road included a coaching change and some disappointing results. Here’s where things stand right now.
Despite their current position, the USA has numerous paths to the World Cup. The one thing this team cannot afford is a home loss to Panama. If they lose Friday, their only path to the World Cup is through a fourth-place finish and an intercontinental playoff in November. The easiest path is clearly six points. A win against Panama and a win against Trinidad & Tobago clinch third place for the USA as long as Honduras doesn’t win both of their games and make up a nine-goal difference. You can view the rest of the scenarios, detailing the most complicated outcomes, at this link.
What are your thoughts on the USMNT October 2017 roster? Care to make a prediction no these last two games? Then follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or leave a comment here on the blog to join the soccer conversation! Soccer Savings and the Semper Soccer Blog are your places for all things soccer. Check back over the next week as we’ll be previewing both the upcoming matches. Also, be sure to check out our Fan Shop for all your soccer team gear needs.