Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard beat the clock and have recovered from illness and injury, respectively, to be named to the U.S. MNT that will face Honduras in San Jose Friday, March 24 and Panama four days later in Panama City.
Not as fortunate was DeAndre Yedlin who picked up a minor leg injury while starring for Newcastle United in the English Championship and misses out.
Interviewed on Fox TV, Arena seemed to indicate that Tim Howard would start in goal, Fabian Johnson will be used as a midfielder and Clint Dempsey will be available off the bench for 15 or 20-minute stretches for these two matches.
Arena listed Jorge Villafana, DaMarcus Beasley, and Tim Ream as left back candidates and with a lack of right-sided options, the versatile Geoff Cameron may find himself manning the right flank, with Michael Orozco another option.
Arena had called for better passing out of the midfield from his team when he took over from Jurgen Klinsmann, making it somewhat surprising that both Sacha Kljestan and Benny Feilhaber missed the cut.
Tim Chandler and Jermaine Jones are ineligible for the Honduras match with Arena selecting Los Angeles-based Jones while citing travel concerns to explain Chandler’s absence.
The Americans lost the first two matches of the final round of World Cup Qualifiers (The Hex) costing Klinsmann his job and raising the stakes for this upcoming twin bill, although four points would put the U.S. back on track for Russia 2018.
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Middlesbrough/ENG; 13/0), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids; 33/0), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake; 0/0)
DEFENDERS (8): DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo; 33/6), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin/GER; 2/0), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG; 19/2), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX; 12/0), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana/MEX; 6/1), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 2/0), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna/MEX; 0/0), Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas; 0/0)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; 1/0), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union; 6/0, Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/CAN; 31/5), Jermaine Jones (LA Galaxy; 16/0), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach/GER; 15/1), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 0/0), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire; 0/0), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers; 3/0), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 5/2)
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC/CAN; 33/16), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC; 36/13), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 3/0), Bobby Wood (Hamburg/GER; 8/3)