Sounders FC

Sounders’ Morris, Dempsey back on US soccer roster for Arena

Clint Dempsey, celebrating the Sounders’ MLS championship during Tuesday’s parade in Seattle, was picked to the national team camp in January. New coach Bruce Arena hopes Dempsey, recovering from an irregular heartbeat that has sidelined him since August, will be ready to play in games in March.
Clint Dempsey, celebrating the Sounders’ MLS championship during Tuesday’s parade in Seattle, was picked to the national team camp in January. New coach Bruce Arena hopes Dempsey, recovering from an irregular heartbeat that has sidelined him since August, will be ready to play in games in March. AP

Seattle Sounders forwards Jordan Morris and Clint Dempsey were selected to U.S. national team coach Bruce Arena’s first training camp.

Arena announced 11 Major League Soccer players on Friday who will attend a training camp that opens Jan. 11 in Carson, California, ahead of a Jan. 29 exhibition against Serbia in San Diego.

“We’re excited about looking at some of these MLS players and seeing if they’re going to be in position to help us in 2017,” Arena said Friday in a Facebook Live session as he answered fan questions.

Dempsey, sidelined since Aug. 21 by an irregular heartbeat, is likely to attend camp in a limited capacity, and Arena hopes he could be in shape to play during World Cup qualifiers in late March against Honduras and Panama.

Morris was picked to participate in the USMNT’s two CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying matches in November but had to withdraw after straining his hamstring in the first half of the second leg of the Western Conference semifinals. Morris, who has 12 caps, was picked as the MLS rookie of the year this season.

The camp, which will be without many of the players from European leagues, has a decidedly veteran feel to it.

Kansas City midfielder Benny Feilhaber, Portland midfielder Darlington Nagbe and New England forward Juan Agudelo are returning to the U.S. national team. Also, DaMarcus Beasley, at 34 a veteran of four World Cups, will attend. He spent the last 2  1/2 seasons with Houston.

“We have a shortage in the left-back position,” Arena said.

Vancouver forward Kekuta Manneh, who is from Gambia and may obtain a U.S. passport, could be at camp. He has been out since surgery in July to repair a broken bone in his right foot.

The 31-year-old Feilhaber, a member of the 2010 U.S. World Cup roster under Bob Bradley, appeared in just three games under Jurgen Klinsmann, who was fired last month after losses to Mexico and Costa Rica that opened the final round of 2018 qualifying.

Nagbe, 26, made his U.S. debut in November 2015 soon after obtaining a passport but hasn’t played for the national team since the Copa America in June.

Agudelo has been a fringe player on the roster.

Gyasi Zardes, a forward with the LA Galaxy under, also was among the 10 players announced. Zardes has been sidelined since breaking a bone in his right foot in late August.

Also announced by Arena were New York Red Bulls midfielder Dax McCarty, Philadelphia midfielder Chris Pontius, Philadelphia defender Keegan Rosenberry and Dallas defenders Matt Hedges and Walker Zimmerman.

Arena said Columbus forward Ethan Finlay is not on the projected January roster.

Arena coached the U.S. from 1998-2006, then was fired and replaced by Bradley.

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