Dempsey, Bedoya back with US for qualifiers vs Guatemala
CHICAGO (AP) — Clint Dempsey and Alejandro Bedoya are rejoining the U.S. national team for the first time since October for a pair of World Cup qualifiers against Guatemala.
Jozy Altidore, coming off a hamstring injury, and Fabian Johnson, who injured a groin Friday, also were among 26 players selected Sunday by coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
Toronto announced Altidore’s injury Feb. 24, and after missing his team’s first two games, he returned in the 77th minute of Sunday night’s match at Kansas City. Johnson was hurt Friday playing for Borussia Moenchengladbach.
The Americans have a 21-game unbeaten streak against Guatemala. Only 23 players can dress for the games, but Klinsmann chose a larger group because it is the final time the team will gather before he picks his roster for the Copa America Centenario in June. Fifteen players from the 2014 World Cup roster were among those selected.
Also back with the national team are John Brooks, who hurt a hamstring in September against Peru, and Edgar Castillo, who hasn’t played for the Americans since March 2014. Forwards include Bobby Wood, who has 14 goals this season for Union Berlin in the German second division.
Brooks and fellow defender DeAndre Yedlin will be with the national team rather than the under-23 team, which plays at Colombia on Friday in the first leg of a playoff for the final Olympic soccer berth.
Jermaine Jones will miss the game while serving a six-game MLS suspension for a confrontation with a referee in last year’s playoffs.
Klinsmann has said Tim Howard or Brad Guzan will start in goal.
Colorado announced an agreement Sunday to acquire the 37-year-old Howard from Everton at the end of the season. The U.S. starter at the last two World Cups, Howard was benched in England and has not played since Jan. 24.
Guzan, 31, was benched by last-place Aston Villa for seven straight league games this winter but has started the last four.
Players will train in Miami from Monday through Wednesday along with the under-23s.
The Americans (1-0-1) play at Guatemala (1-1) on Friday, then host the Guatemalans on March 29 at Columbus, Ohio. Seeking its eighth straight World Cup appearance, the U.S. concludes the semifinal round of North and Central American and Caribbean qualifying at St. Vincent and the Grenadines (0-2) on Sept. 2 and at home against Trinidad and Tobago (1-0-1) four days later. The top two teams advance to the six-nation regional finals, which will produce three qualifiers for the 2018 tournament in Russia and send the No. 4 team to a playoff against Asia’s fifth-place nation.
Goalkeepers: David Bingham (San Jose), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa, England), Tim Howard, Everton), William Yarbrough (Leon, Mexico).
Defenders: Ventura Alvarado (Club America, Mexico), Matt Besler (Kansas City), Steve Birnbaum (D.C.), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin, Germany), Geoff Cameron (Stoke, England), Edgar Castillo (Monterrey, Mexico), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca, Mexico), Michael Orozco (Tijuana, Mexico), DeAndre Yedlin (Sunderland, England).
Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes, France), Michael Bradley (Toronto), Mix Diskerud (New York City), Ethan Finlay (Columbus), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Moenchengladbach, Germany), Darlington Nagbe (Portland), Lee Nguyen (New England).
Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Toronto), Clint Dempsey (Seattle), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose), Bobby Wood (Union Berlin, Germany), Gyasi Zardes (Los Angeles).