Sounders leading scorer Eddie Johnson and starting midfielder Brad Evans apparently will miss the Vancouver and Portland matches coming up over the next week after being called today to the U.S. national team. Designated player Clint Dempsey, who is still recovering from a hamstring injury, was not called.
Here's the news from U.S. Soccer:
U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has called in 20 players to begin preparations for the final matches of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying cycle. The U.S. closes out the Hexagonal with a home match against Jamaica on Oct. 11 in Kansas City, before completing the campaign on the road against Panama on Oct. 15 in Panama City.
The team will begin gathering Oct. 6 in Kansas City in advance of Friday’s match. Kickoff at sold-out Sporting Park is set for 5:30 p.m. CT, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN, WatchESPN and UniMas. Four days later, the U.S. closes out the final round when it faces Panama at Estadio Rommel Fernandez (8:30 p.m. CT, beIN Sport). Fans can follow both matches live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and on Twitter @ussoccer.
Currently ranked No. 13 in FIFA’s world rankings, the United States holds a one point lead over Costa Rica at the top of the group and has the chance to finish in first place in CONCACAF qualifying for the third-consecutive cycle. The matches have huge implications for the rest of the participants, as only two of the three automatic berths from CONCACAF have already been determined. Honduras sits in third place on 11 points, while Mexico and Panama are even with eight points in the fourth position.
“We want to finish qualifying on a high note and prove a point in our region,” said Klinsmann. “We don’t view these games as the end of World Cup qualifying. For us, it’s the start of preparations for the World Cup, and therefore we have to continue to raise the bar. We have had such amazing support from our fans throughout the last two years, and we owe it to them to put our best foot forward.” Jurgen Klinsmann Q & A
The U.S. will hold a public training session Oct. 9 at Sporting Park. The event is free and open to the public.
In front of a raucous capacity crowd of 24,584 on Sept.10 at Columbus Crew Stadium, the U.S. MNT defeated Mexico 2-0 to earn its berth to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. With the win, the U.S. set a new record for victories in a calendar year with 14, improving to 14-3-2 in 2013 and topping the previous record of 13 wins set in 2005 and 2009.
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION –GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)DEFENDERS (6): DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City) Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy)MIDFIELDERS (6): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Jermaine Jones (Schalke), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC)Additional notes: This is the second World Cup Qualifier in this cycle hosted by Sporting Park. In the last game of the semifinal round, the U.S. collected a 3-1 win against Guatemala on Oct. 16, 2012. A goal by Carlos Bocanegra and two from Clint Dempsey secured the USA’s passage to the Hexagonal.
A total of 17 of the 20 players on the roster were part of the last camp that saw the United States qualify for the World Cup for the seventh-consecutive time.
Landon Donovan has eight goals and eight assists in 2013, leading all U.S. scorers. He captured the Golden Ball as the MVP in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, and also earned a share of the Golden Boot as top scorer in the tournament.
Donovan is the USA’s all-time leader in World Cup Qualifying appearances (39), and currently sits on 24 points (8 goals, 8 assists) in 2013, which surpassed the single-year point record of 22 he set in 2007 (9 goals, 4 assists).
Jozy Altidore has seven goals this year, including three in World Cup Qualifiers. He set a team record by scoring in five-consecutive games, and with his three-goal performance against Bosnia he became the third player to score two hat tricks for the U.S. National Team, joining Donovan and Peter Millar.
Omar Gonzalez is one of two U.S. players to start in all eight games in the Hexagonal, along with Dempsey.
A total of 10 players were part of the Gold Cup-winning squad: DaMarcus Beasley, Kyle Beckerman, Alejandro Bedoya, Matt Besler, Edgar Castillo, Mix Diskerud, Donovan, Gonzalez, Eddie Johnson, and Nick Rimando.
Johnson leads all U.S. players with 14 appearances in 2013, and he has accumulated five goals and one assist. He scored the goal that completed the USA’s quest to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil, netting the opening goal in the 2-0 win against Mexico . Beasley, who captained the team in the Gold Cup, has started the most games (13) this year.
Brad Evans scored the game-winning goal in the 2-1 win in Jamaica on June 7 in Kingston . Recording his first goal for the MNT, his strike in the second-minute of second half stoppage time handed the U.S. a huge three points. He has started at right back for the last five games in which he was available, including three World Cup Qualifiers.
Jermaine Jones (Schalke) and Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht) are the only two U.S. players involved in the UEFA Champions League this season. Bedoya, who recently transferred to Nantes in Ligue 1 in France, got on the scoresheet for the first time in his international career when he tallied in the 6-0 win against Guatemala on July 5 in San Diego.
AZ Alkmaar striker Aron Johannsson has posted 10 goals in all competitions this season, including five in league play. Born in Mobile, Ala., he completed his change of association from Iceland in time to enter as a substitute in the 63rd minute of the USA’s 4-3 win against Bosnia.With two straight clean sheets in March, Brad Guzan now has five shutouts in seven matches played in qualifying in his career, posting a 4-1-2 record.
Guzan was voted the 2013 Aston Villa Player of the Year by both players and supporters.
Tim Howard continues to move up the goalkeeping record books. He is currently tied for second with Tony Meola in career shutouts (32), and with 51 victories Howard is just two wins behind Kasey Keller’s record of 53.
Terrence Boyd has five goals in seven league games for Rapid Vienna in this campaign.