U.S. Men's National Team

Arena names 23-man squad for Serbia, Jamaica friendlies

Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA Today Sports

Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA Today Sports

Bruce Arena has confirmed the 23-man squad that will compete for selection in his first game back as U.S. Men’s National Team manager.

The former LA Galaxy boss kept many of the regular starters like Michael Bradley, Alejando Bedoya, Jozy Altidore and Jordan Morris in the squad, but he also opened the door for some MLS-based players to make an impact on the pitch after an impressive two-week training stint in California.

Chris Pontius, Sebastian Lletget, Walker Zimmerman and Chad Marshall are among those coming off a successful 2016 campaign on the domestic level that will have a chance to impress Arena on Sunday against Serbia in San Diego.

Jorge Villafana, who just joined the USMNT camp this week, is one of eight defenders included in the squad for Sunday’s trip to San Diego and Friday’s clash with Jamaica in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Keegan Rosenberry, Wil Trapp, Taylor Kemp, Brian Rowe and Chris Wondolowski were sent back to their respective clubs, while Gyasi Zardes will not travel with the team due to a minor contusion in his right knee.

Here’s a closer look at the roster:

GOALKEEPERS: David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls)

DEFENDERS: DaMarcus Beasley (Unattached), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Greg Garza (Atlanta United FC), Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders FC), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna), Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

MIDFIELDERS: Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Jermaine Jones (LA Galaxy), Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Chris Pontius (Philadelphia Union)

FORWARDS: Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution), Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC)


  • wychijeff

    Interesting that you see 3 natural LBs on the list and 0 natural RBs. I assume Brad Evans and Zusi are the RBs. Will be interesting to see how the playing time gets distributed.

    I’m fine with the players sent home.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Horsewhistle

        Villafaña > Garza and has a great left foot cross for striker like Altidore.


    • Old School

      From a defensive standpoint, I could also see Steve Birnbaum getting minutes there potentially. While I prefer him at CB, he certainly has the athleticism to play on the outside even if he sacrifices the service Grandma Zusi can provide.

      Evans, on the other hand, offers great utility but I don’t think he has any business at this level. I guess it’s just Jamaica and Serbia, but against better competition he’s an orange cone on the back line.


  • John Coctostan

    Anyone else read that as “due to a minor confusion”.

    My mind races thinking “maybe something with the airline tickets.” Then I decided to actually finish the sentence… “to his right knee”.

    That doesn’t make sense!? So I double back. “due to a minor contusion”.

    I’m glad to know that a minor confusion would not keep Gyasi from playing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • SilverRey

      Would have liked to see Rosenberry stay to get some game time at RB, even if he’s not quite ready yet. Neither Evans nor Zusi is going to see qualifying time in that spot (hopefully), and Rosenberry has a bright future – get him some experience!

      Liked by 1 person

  • beto

    disappointed to see Rosenberry go otherwise pretty straight forward.

    looking forward to Lletget, Villafana, Agudelo off the bench.


    • Old School

      Not feeling this 4-3-3 I keep seeing. I don’t think it suits Altidore, and if we’re interested in utilizing our best option up top I think he benefits from having a partner.

      I’d be surprised to see Arena go away from the classic 4-4-2, but maybe he’s truly up for experimenting.


  • trey

    Diamond with Bradley at cdm..Feilhaber/kljestan cam..Nagbe on the left..Bedoya on the right..Agudelo and altidore at fw. Garza, birnbaum, Zimmerman, and zusi. Eh??

    Liked by 1 person

  • the TX 2 Stepper

    I open we get A 4-3-3

    Sebastian – Jozy- Agudelo

    Benny – – – – – – Bradley

    Random back four


  • troy2

    Smartest choice to send someone home: Chris Wondolowski. For the Quakes the guy is gold. For the USMNT, well, he’s a choker.


  • Lost in Space

    Well at least the dead end, Wondo, was sent back to his club. I for one am hoping that this finally signals the end of his involvement with the USMNT. Still a little disappointed that Evans, Marshall, & McCarty are still hanging around.

    Wish that Rosenberry, Mennah, Hedges, & Acosta weren’t released to back to their clubs (Injury/Etc…), but hopefully they’ll get time in this summer at the Gold Cup.


  • Dennis

    Way too much hate on Wondo.

    While Agudelo is faster, he has not been able to score at the rate Wondo has against the same level of competition. The team may need goals against CONCACAF competition and Wondo can do that better.

    That said, age is a big factor in who will be around in 2018 and Wondo likely loses out then.

    Liked by 1 person

    • BrianK

      Way to much hate on Wondo, indeed. We should be compassionate. He has had to live with the pain of USA vs Belgium in Brazil. Kline man took Wondo but not Donovan. When the team needed him most, Wondo CHOKED! Jermaine Jones,…who had played like a lion in every game in Brazil, out jumped the Belgian defender to win a head ball that dropped to Wondo. Wifffff!

      BTW — Any geniuses out there doubting the commitment of dual nationals should consider JJ’s performance in Brazil. He was far and away our best player. And to think,…after running his sox off in the three prior matches and then working his ass off against Belgium, it was JJ who outjumped the Belgian defender late in the match to get the ball to Chris (“I’m a tit on a Bull, Wondolowski”). How bitter must it be for a player like Jones to have watched miss and then later hear people point fingers at dual nationals???


    • Lost in Space

      It isn’t “hate” it is a prime example of a player who has been given ample opportunity and failed to convert club form to the international level, combined with advancing age (he’s 34).
      At this point there a any number of players in the player pool who are his equal (looking at their stats in international games) who can contribute now and potentially in the future….

      Jozy (27), Wood (25), Zardes (25), Morris (22), Agudelo (24), ArJo (26), Rubin (20),
      Kiesewetter (24), Wright (18), Perez (19), Lennon (19), Akale (20)

      We don’t need him to provide veteran leadership since Dempsey & Jozy can provide that. Jozy & Wood are far and away the 2 most in form & dangerous strikers, so we’re talking about who the best 3 or 4th option may be. I’m of the opinion that it’s better to choose someone who has the potential to grow/improve than someone like Wondo who’s ending their career.

      Liked by 1 person


    Juan A will do fine if given a chance. He finished MLS on a hot streak and has always been very talented. I only hope Arena doesnt play a single forward with that forward being Altadore.

    Im more concerned about some he kept or even called in. Wondo? why? too old. At least he was released. I have a big problem with Dax even being called while Lee Nguyen wasnt. I checked their stats and found Lee had 19 Assists with 6 goals while 3 goals and 5 assists. Plus he was so valuable to the Red Bulls that he was sent to Chicago to die. How is he rated higher than Lee? Add in the fact that Lee had to suffer thru most of the season with Heaps playing a single forward. This also hurt Juan. Late in the season, when the Revs started playing 2 forards, both Juan and Lee bloomed.

    I really hope Arena is not going to end up being just a diff guy on the bench than JK while playing mostly the same players. .


    • Johnnyrazor

      I didn’t understand the Lee Nguyen snub either. Didn’t have the greatest season but for my money is as good as Benny. Although he and Dax play different positions so I’m not sure you should make that comparison. More Lee vs Benny or Klestjan.


  • beachbum

    playing a 4-3-3 won’t leave Jozy alone up top, it will provide someone underneath to serve him the ball, like Sasha or Benny or whoever it is; I think that’s the point of Arena’s ideas here, and also to get better production out of the midfield, which has slacked, and also have a formation that can accommodate both MB and JJ


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