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Clint Dempsey rejoins U.S. team for key World Cup qualifiers

Clint Dempsey rejoins U.S. team for key World Cup qualifiers”

"Obviously being suspended for the first game, I didn't think it was worth having Timmy travel from Europe", Arena said. "It's a roster where the primary rationale is to help us be successful in these two games, but we're also looking down the road and bringing in some young players that we think have an opportunity to be an important part of the national team program as well".

The U.S. team is as close to full strength as it has been since the Copa America, with DeAndre Yedlin the one projected starter not in the squad after recently suffering a thigh injury with Newcastle.

Neither team will be a pushover: Honduras has qualified for the last two World Cups while Panama beat the U.S.in the third-place game of the 2015 Gold Cup.

"We know there are some good days still ahead for Clint", Arena said.

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The Seattle Sounders forward suffered from an irregular heartbeat late last summer and missed the end of the 2016 Major League Soccer season, all of the MLS playoffs, and multiple matches with the national team. He selected just 13 of the 26 players on Klinsmann's final roster for the first competitive matches of Arena 2.0, against Honduras on March 24 at San Jose, California, and at Panama four days later.

The inclusion of Dempsey, the United States' second all-time leading goal scorer, is among the biggest surprises.

Arena says they will monitor him throughout the buildup to the March 24 match against Honduras, and he'd likely get the nod if he looks ready.

Howard, who turned 38 on March 6 and was a US starter at the last two World Cups, injured the adductor muscle in his right thigh on November 11 during the 2-1 loss to Mexico and had surgery six days later. Our approach to these games is simple: "We want to win". The team then goes to Panama on March 28.

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He was not included in the annual January camp for domestic players. Michael Orozco is the most experienced right back, and Cameron also is a possibility - even though he plays in midfield for Stoke. Five have played in more than 30 qualifiers: Dempsey (36), Altidore, Beasley and Howard (33), and Bradley (31).

Also named to the team were Galaxy midfielders Jermaine Jones and Sebastian Lletget. Nineteen players have World Cup qualifying experience and 10 have made 12 or more qualifying appearances.

"He keeps getting better", Arena said.

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