The first U.S. men's national team roster for World Cup qualifiers in Bruce Arena's second tenure as coach was announced Wednesday and Chicago Fire midfielder Dax McCarty was included.
The U.S. will host Honduras on March 24 and play at Panama on March 28. The games are of high importance for the Americans, which lost at home to Mexico and at Costa Rica in the first two matches of the final round of qualifying.
After dropping those two matches, Jurgen Klinsmann was removed as coach. Bruce Arena, who led the U.S. in the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, is back in charge and this roster was his first for competitive matches in this tenure.
McCarty was a part of a training camp in January and February that featured mostly MLS players during the league's offseason. McCarty played in a friendly against Jamaica on Feb. 3 for his first cap since 2011.
McCarty has played every minute of the Fire's two MLS matches in 2017 and was named to the MLS Team of the Week after the 2-0 win against Real Salt Lake. He will report to the national team after the Fire visit Atlanta on Saturday.
He recently said national team players "should be a part of winning teams."
Formations and tactics are of course uncertain, but it appears that McCarty is one of four center defensive mids on the team along with Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones and Kellyn Acosta. Bradley and Jones have been regular starters with the national team for years so playing time could be tough to come by for McCarty, but being included in this roster is a big step after Klinsmann didn't call him in at all.
Here is the full roster (player's club team in parentheses):
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Middlesbrough/ENG), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (8): DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin/GER), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana/MEX), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna/MEX), Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Jermaine Jones (LA Galaxy), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach/GER), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER)
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Bobby Wood (Hamburg/GER)