Top Stories

Feilhaber, Agudelo among notable names on 26-man USMNT squad for October qualifiers

The U.S. Men’s National Team squad for October’s crucial World Cup qualifiers looks a lot like the squad that feature in September’s qualifiers, with a few notable exceptions.

Benny Feilhaber, Juan Agudelo and Michael Orozco were among the notable inclusions in the 26-man roster Bruce Arena has chosen for the October qualifying squad ahead of key matches against Panama and Trinidad & Tobago.

The biggest news in the squad announcement was the absence of Fabian Johnson, who has been left out amid concerns about his fitness.

Geoff Cameron and DeAndre Yedlin are in the squad after both overcame recent injuries to take their likely places in the U.S. starting defense.

Feilhaber is the most surprising inclusion, having been left out since the January camp. The veteran midfielder should help provide some cover in the creative midfielder department, having been chosen ahead of the likes of Sacha Kljestan and Lee Nguyen.

Among the players left out where Eric Lichaj, who has fallen out of favor at Nottingham Forest, Matt Hedges and Cristian Roldan.

Here is the full 26-man squad that will take on Panama in Orlando on October 6th, and Trinidad & Tobago in Port of Spain on October 10th in the final two matches of the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying:

GOALKEEPERS: Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

DEFENDERS: DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), Tim Ream (Fulham), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

MIDFIELDERS: 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)

FORWARDS: Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (Hamburg)


  1. Ronniet, a rather key component of conspiracy theories is that they seek grandiose explanations when simple facts will do. But most of what Bac and others outline above are simple facts: JJ better than Dax; FJ and TC better than Zuzi and Co; etc. We don´t need to attribute all sorts of nefarious thinking to Arena to see a disturbing pattern in these call-ups. But lest you think I´m accusing Arena of having something against German Americans it appears just as likely that he simply hates quality soccer 😉
    Woe is us.

  2. Sorry.. I don’t know what his mentality is, but I know this.. when enough evidence comes up after he made that statement last year… and then had to go back and “clarify” it when he took the job, how can you not ask the question… (And notice I’m not one of the people calling for Miazga, CCV, McKinney, Gooch etc.. That’s a different topic and I don’t think those guys are ready )
    I’m comparing who he called and when they were called vs who wasn’t

  3. Unbelievable that one of our best and most versatile players, Fabian Johnson was left off. Also I leaving off JJones in favor Dax Mcarty is dumb? We all know about the glaring Chandler ommission. I guess he’s not as good as Beasely, Zusi or Orozco. People should now be seriously asking the question about Arena’s past Xenophobic comments. This is a pattern against our German-American players, that are obviously a step above half of this 2nd- rate MLS squad. SBI- are you investigating this story? These are fireable offenses by Arena and it might be the biggest story to hit the NATs since Donovan was left off the WC roster.

    • I originally would have never thought Arena was going to lock out those with dual citizenship..even after his comments last year, but now I’m having 2nd thoughts…
      If you read articles going back to when he took over it makes you think… So look at the evidence:
      – Dwyer plays well enough in the Gold Cup, though not perfect, but absolutely well enough it raised questions why he was sent home. Now Wondo several times AND Aguedelo get called.
      – Fabian just went 79 minutes this weekend and looked pretty good. This whole Fabian issue stinks….
      – Chandler was called in once (not twice) but had to leave camp due to injury. As much heat as he’s always taken in the past you can’t overlook that he’s playing the best soccer of his career-and combine that with WHO got called in instead of him when Yedlin was out.
      – Though Danny Williams is hurt now, he was passed over twice in this cycle, for Dax… seriously…
      – Jermaine Jones is healthy and playing again, and past articles suggest if he was healthy he’d be considered. Now he’s playing again, Sigi says he’s been a lone bright spot and pleased with him.. plus this group has had no urgency and playing like a bunch of wimps vs the concacaf hacks.
      With a few exceptions, we haven’t looked good even in the games we’ve won or drawn (And this unbeaten streak hasn’t been inspiring considering who we’ve played)
      – Now when you look at who has been called in ahead of these guys:
      – Dax looked good in ONE game in the group stage of the Gold Cup..
      – Orozco hasn’t even played in almost 2 months..
      – Juan Aguedelo is a better forward option than Dwyer? Or wing option than Fabian?? Seriously??
      – Yes Zusi was ok in one game… and a telephone pole in all the others…
      – Not to mention we have 9 guys carrying yellow cards….
      This stinks

      • conspiracy theories, while they keep chatter going and pose alternative thoughts to questions, hold no water here and is taking the easy way out with regards to assumptions and trying to read into the managers mentality!

  4. You doom and gloom guys crack me up. We have lost 1 game since Arena took over. The one game we lost was to a very good team. We will win both of these game and qualify for the 3rd spot. I am not worried in the least.

  5. I’m assuming Fabian has told Arena he does not want to fly all over the world to play LB. That and Fabian saying he only wants to bother with the important games. Since he has sucked in midfield for us he doesn’t get called in.

  6. for those clamoring for miazga or ccv over gonzo, they haven’t exactly been lights out for their club teams recently. their play has actually reminded me of old school’s “good for at least one bone-headed decision every game” line about gonzo, so let’s not pretend this is some egregious oversight on arena’s part. (chandler, on the other hand…)

    also, i’m dying to know the real reason for fabian’s exclusion. ‘lack of fitness’ is ridiculous, especially when cameron just returned from injury, and *you’re leaving camp spaces empty*.

  7. You know, I understand the angst with regards to the way the team played last set of qualifiers but it also needs to be pointed out that this team has lost only one game the entirety of 2017. This doom and gloom mentality is really over the top and hilarious. If we don’t qualify then calls for people to lose their jobs and a reshaping of the NT are all fair game. However, the callups are not the problem, those called in just need to play better and it’s really that simple. The idea that kids just starting their professional careers and who have only played a hand full of games at the top level does not equate to being able to help grizzled veterans qualify for a WC, it just doesn’t work that way. You leave the kids as their clubs so they can stay in rhythm, not call them in just to call them in and risk them losing momentum or god forbid the spot because you wanted the NT manager to get a look at them. The optics of that look bad and could cause friction within the team because the established vets who have been there, and nor to mention the manager, knows now is not the time to waste spots for purposes of a look.

    • @Ronniet..
      Agree and disagree..
      Agree that as much as we’d love to see young-uns like Miazga McKinney etc now is not the time..
      Disagreed on the W/L record.. we haven’t played a sharp game in a while, we’ve looked uninspiring with no urgency. We have 9 guys on yellow cards, he could have called up 30 guys if he wanted.
      Leaving out Fabian, Jones, Chandler, and Dwyer is a mistake.. I read an article today that Orozco hasn’t played since August 4th?? Is that right? Fabian said today he’s devastated and shocked. Even if he doesn’t start, who is on the bench out wide that is a better option?? Sigi says Jones has been one of the few bright spots the last 3 games… And Dwyer if forced into action, is a much better matchup to go bang with their defenders in what is sure to be a bloodbath game

      • How can you disagree with the W/L record, it’s true is it not??!! I never said that the football played has been exciting but all the same qualifying is hard and it will never be pretty, especially in this region! You can llok acrss the globe and see nations that should have no trouble with certian teams struggle to win or lose to those teams, it’s the way it goes, so to act like this is just a problem in our region or with our team is just wrong and having a lack of perspective in general! The Netherlands are on the way to not making the WC, Argentina, Chile, Cameroon and Ghana are all on the outside looking in too, so this just goes to show that nothing is ever straight forward.

      • @Ronniet..
        Easily, because the W/L record doesn’t tell the entire story. 6 of those results were in the Gold Cup against weak C- squads and a 7th in a friendly vs another weakened line-up. If that was his record in qualifying that would be a different story…
        Also, if you want to say that we’ve just been grinding out results because concacaf qualifying is never easy, I would counter with 2 separate arguments..
        1- this group hasn’t even been grinding… they’ve more or less just been showing up. We had a 6-0 blowout win, and a well crafted draw in Mexico. Other than that, we haven’t played a solid complete game since the Copa Centenario
        2- Since concacaf qualifying is an ugly street fight, and Arena says he can’t afford to call in new names, then why is he calling in Dax over Jones (he coulda brought both) or Aguedelo and Zardes over Fabian? What if MB gets hurt, you want dax with his 2 appearances vs cocacrap C teams? Or you need a sub for Nagbe or Arriola, you’re ok looking down the bench and not having the OPTION of Fabian?
        And BTW, he’s only called in Chandler once, not twice

  8. I love Fabian. But, he has struggled lately when called up. He just got back into the starting to lineup at his club. I don’t have a problem with him stabilizing his situation and not making the trip over for these two games. We really shouldn’t need him. I also understand where he plays for his club and where Bruce promised him he would play. But Fabian needs to play left back for this team.

    • Yea- we should worry about FJohnson getting settled in. A technically skilled, athletic veteran. One of our top 5 most valued players on the international market. Apparently he is not rated as highly as Agudelo, MCarty, Zardes, Bedoya, Fielhabers and Nagbe or any other MLS lightweights. Something is going on with Arena’s and the German-Americans. This could be worse than Klinsmann leaving Donovan off the WC squad!

      • Has Arena not tried to get Chandelr in on 2 seperate occassions?? Has Fabian not been apart of every camp that he could have been eligible for until now?? Was Brooks not with the team every camp as well until his injury?? This Arena has it out for our german american players is insulting and has no credence to it, but keep trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the naive smfh

    • Yes exactly! If Fabian would play left back he would be on this roster – by stating he wants to play in the midfield he has been beaten out by other players – not surprising given his current form and performances lately for the usmnt. If he is so devastated maybe Fabian will eat some humble pie and help this team at left back.

  9. The solution to the Left Back problem is Timmy Chandler. I have no idea why, with our depth issues, a person starting for a mid table bundesliga team is not called into the camp. I would have called in Johnson, Kjlestian, and chandler.

    • I would love to see a 4-3-3. We have no depth at forward. This is a good option going forward.




      • your comment would hold some water if Arena had never called in Chandler,but he did twice, but injuries and suspensions put a halt to both occasions so let’s not act like BA has a thing against our German Americans!

  10. Bruce is full of $h!t…
    – Concerns about Fabians fitness? He played 78 minutes yesterday and had a score of 7.1 rating on that one BL site. Reporter said this morning he’s “devastated” about being left out… And he was left out for Zardes & Aguedelo?? And now Zardes is hurt won’t be replaced..
    – He says no time to bring in anyone new, which is why he supposedly left out Chandler last month, yet he brings in Orozco who has barely played with his club & hasn’t been with this group.. meanwhile Chandler is playing the best soccer of his career.
    – No whiff of Dwyer who would be better suited to bang with a physical team and brings in Wondo… smh… (Umm Bruce, you do know you coulda brought in more guys)
    – This group has played nothing but uninspiring soccer with no bite and no urgency, and he leaves out Jermaine Jones… Just curious, what happens if MB rolls his ankle again right before kickoff… Or picks up a yellow in a game that’s destined to be a bloodbath.. we’re going with Dax??? Sigi said yesterday one of the bright spots has been the play of Jones the last few games.
    (Anyone see a TREND here?)
    – Ok he wants to bring another attacking mid, I’m no big fan of Sasha on the Intl level, but he’s been playing much better than Benny.
    – It’s not like he’s locked into a number of roster spots, and we have 7 guys on a yellow.. so there’s NO reason why he left out a few of these guys… especially Fabian (and especially now that Zardes pulled out)

    For Pete’s sake we only beat TnT 2-0 at home and now we go on the road vs a team with nothing to lose on a high school field- ain’t like we’re tearing up the competition right about now….
    Panama is on the verge of qualifying, we’ve played like cow dung, they’re coming in here for a freakin street fight- we’ve been playing tiddlywinks- and we’ve tied them 1-1 last two times we played…
    We’ve had several do or die games to qualify and Bruce hasn’t gotten anything right since the game in Mexico…
    I have a bad feeling about this…

  11. Feilhaber over Kljestan seems the strangest to me, Kljestan hasn’t had the best season at Red Bulls, but Benny has had a worse year for SKC. I watch most of SKCs matches and it was easy many nights to even forget Benny was on the team. Nguyen is having a better year but has never gotten a real look from any of the three managers.

    Wondo has had a better year in MLS, although Dwyer has been hot of late 3 goals and 3 assists in his last three matches. The criticism is that Wondo misses “easy” chances, but Dwyer missed a ton of goal opportunities in the GC including the PK.

    Orozco over Miazga also seems strange, unless you look at it as Orozco could really play any of the four backline positions. Orozco didn’t play either match for Tijuana this week, and Miaga has been starting. I think it has to be tied to versatility.

    I would say Juan Agudelo is a surprise, but I don’t know who’d I’d replace him with, he has scored one goal since June 3. I think there is more to the FJ story, but he has struggled both with BM and the US so perhaps it really is an injury issue.

    Are there guys who have earned a look certainly, but we all knew it wasn’t going to happen this week. In terms of roster selection and formational stability, Arena has really been no different than Klinsmann.

    • Sacha is not the guy you want playing in a must win situation. in the open cup game he was so quick to give up the ball to his teammates he will not want the ball because he doesn’t want to mess up. so everyone clamoring for sacha needs to chill.

  12. I guess I could understand most of these decisions but if you’re gonna call up a CAM from MLS, Benny over Lee Nguyen??? That’s crazy. Nguyen still hasn’t gotten a full chance with the main team.

    • 3 managers have found it difficult to call in Lee consistently, you think that may be down to the player a bit or could it be that those managers thought he didn’t fit in scheme wise??

  13. Very disappointed to see some of the players that Arena has called in. I can understand his desire to have veterans who are experienced, but some of these call-ups are just baffling to me. Most of the questionable players aren’t even back-ups their 3rd stringers….
    Chandler a starter in Germany is overlooked AGAIN for Zusi.
    Orozco another retread called up over Miazga
    Wondo called in again when he’s shown he’s not up to the international level.
    McCarty called in again when he’s shown he’s not up to the international level.
    Rimando over Hamid, Horvath, Gonzalez, Steffen for the 3rd string keeper.

    These are the types of call-ups that continues to show Bruce has lost any idea what a good team is comprised of.

  14. We are going to win both games comfortably and qualify. And yes, I will rememember every one of you bums for your pessimism and you will be labeled non-believers for the rest of time. There I said it.

    • Chicago Josh lol! I had a similar feeling. When Sunil hired Bruce, he essentially said it’ll be a heavy MLS US national team qualifying for the WC or not. That’s what comes with hiring Arena with only 10 months left of WCQ. Bruce was always going to go with what he knew best especially if things got rough.

    • If you ‘ve been paying attention to Arena’s interviews he has said over and over again that the likely hood some one who has not been in with him this year will probably not be called in, which excludes Nguyen. I wouldn’t want Klejstan anywhere near this team right now, every game of any magnitude that he has been a part of he has been horrible and played scared. I’m in no way saying this roster is perfect but if you take any credence from Arenas words he has at least been consistent. That has been the difference form he and JK. There are some omisssions from this roster no doubt, Chandler and Johnson come to mind, but its not like these players have been bettter than whats on the roster now, so we can’t say that Bruce has totally overlooked them! I also get that dissing MLS is the easy thing to do but people should know that MLS has been a good league for USMNT WC squads(2002 comes to mind) and the 2010 squad had more MLs starters than euro starters match for match and how did that go? Yes, it wasn’t pretty but the team gelled and we overcame some long odds! Let’s just calm down and see how things play out before we cast stones at the manager and MLS!

  15. Nagbe was invisible last night against the quakes. I hope he steps it up for qualifying since he will most likely be a starter.

  16. Wondo? Really? We got no one else??? Thats a sad reflection on the state of things. I guess you can say the same about Gonzo, Can we please just stay away from guys with a nickname ending in “o”?

  17. I’m always going to support the USA, and once the whistle blows whatever starting XI is on the pitch I’ll cheer for, but the last 12-24 months have been some of the most dull, uninspiring call-ups in my years of watching the Nats.

    Please wake me up 2 years from now when, hopefully, the next wave shows more promise. This batch of MLS-caliber players is brutal to watch.

  18. Imo the biggest problems us had last two games was outside nacks getting beat by speed amd not winning any second balls in midfield. I think 3-5-2 is best firmation with this roster since that woyld hopefully solve both problems.

  19. Simply for the purpose of qualifying. It is simply for that purpose. Not to be pretty soccer, etc. I’m okay with it, for now. Obviously, the left back position is going to be the weak link as Villafana/Beasley have not been playing well on the national level lately. But I can understand several of the call-ins, such as Feilhaber and others. I know Arena is about to be crucified in online forums, but this is all for the purpose of just getting those points, and several of these guys are battle tested for CONCACAF. Yes, I’m sure IF THEY QUALIFY, we will see Johnson, McKennie, etc., on the World Cup squad. Right now, Arena is going all in to just get points. It’s going to be an interested few games.

    • I’m not at all confident we’ll see our young guns on the wc squad. Bruce will call in the old gaurd and give the same excuses. You gotta give em a chance in meaningful games. Couldn’t be any worse than gonzo in the last wc qualifier, right? I’m sue CCV or Miazga wouldn’t have tripped over their own feet like Gonzo. Yet he is considered concacaf battle tested and worthy of repeated call ups?

      • I’m sure the younger guys have more upside, but do you really want to call them in and play them in this critical a game that they have never, absolutely never, experienced in CONCACAF? This isn’t Europe and more fair referees, etc. This is CONCACAF which is physical, dirty, and just get the job done type play. It is complete foolishness to play and test young players in this is it or no World Cup type fixture of games. Even if they don’t get the 3rd automatic qualification spot, and have to go to the 4th place finish playoff, you still don’t test young players in that type of situation. They will get their chance. But this is not the time.

      • @AC:

        To N-Whit’s point: It’s a negligible difference when you consider (and don’t ignore like so many) that Gonzalez is good for one game-changing error every single match that usually results in the opposing team scoring.

        I’ve given up on pointing out Gonzalez’s obvious fault before every single match because it’s evident people have visual problems, memory issues or a refusal of reality. Some of us have been sounding the trumpet for…literally…years about him.

    • i’ve been preaching the same thing over and over again but some people seem to not understand having perspective with regards to qualifying and the call ups. This idea that these new, young, flashy toys are going to just magically help us qualify is absurd and laughable. While i agree that players like Williams and Miazga can help us, people have to understand that bringing in a slew of players that haven’t been in with Bruce and Co. since he was rehired is more of an hinderance than a weapon. It requires time to adapt to new philosophies and a way of playing and when NT’s get together they have only about 4 training sessions together with which to get on the same page, that’s not alot of time to get players who have never been in with this regime caught up and ready to go when it’s game time. If our younger, players continue to progress with their clubs and keep getting minutes they’ll gwt their chances once qualification is locked up!

    • AC:

      That argument doesn’t hold up as well after the last WCQ round. IF the US had at least drawn Costa Rica, then I could see Arena sticking with a similar group. However it was the center backs in particular and back four generally that were deficient in the CR match. The choices he made in the back now are understandable – as that’s about as good as it gets unfortunately. I just hope if he trots out Ream in any match, it’s as a third center back like the June match in Mexico City.

      Otherwise I wouldn’t have minded see McKennie get the call and a start. Starting instead of say Nagbe or Acosta.


Leave a Comment