The Seattle Sounders won't be quite as short-handed in their season opener as was originally feared. Clint Dempsey, as expected, was named to the United States national team roster for their game against Ukraine on March 5, but he was the only Sounders player to get the call. The roster is heavily weighted toward Europe-based players, with only three players coming from outside the region.
As it turns out, Michael Bradley was the only other MLS player named to the roster. Toronto FC has a bye for the first week, meaning Bradley won't actually miss any games. Tijuana's Edgar Castillo was the only other player named to the roster who doesn't play in Europe.
"This game is a huge opportunity, mainly for our European-based players, for those guys to prove to us that they are eager and hungry to jump on the train to the FIFA World Cup," U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann said in a team release. "With this game being the only chance for these players before our World Cup preparation camp begins, it's even more important they have a good showing."
This was a bit of a good news/bad news situation, though. While the Sounders stood to lose at least Brad Evans and possibly DeAndre Yedlin, this news means that Sporting Kansas City will be at full strength for the opener as Graham Zusi and Matt Besler were also potential call-ups. Dempsey could still feature in the season opener, but it's extremely unlikely that he'd be able to start after spending, at most, one day training with the Sounders.
As previously announced, the game has been moved to Cyprus due to the political unrest in Ukraine. The game will still be played at 11 a.m. and shown on ESPN2.
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION - DETAILED ROSTER
GOALKEEPERS (3): Cody Cropper (Southampton), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton)
DEFENDERS (7): John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt), Oguchi Onyewu (Sheffield Wednesday), Will Packwood (Birmingham City), Tim Ream (Bolton Wanderers)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Besiktas), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Brek Shea (Barnsley), Danny Williams (Reading)
FORWARDS (6): Juan Agudelo (Utrecht), Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar)