Perhaps more surprising than any of the specific names Bruce Arena included in his first United States national team camp since being hired were some of the omissions. Among the most notable were two Sounders, Clint Dempsey and Cristian Roldan. Arena had previously given indications he intended to call in both players.
But Arena also made sure to point out that both players are very much still in his plans.
“We’ve been following Clint and communicating with the Seattle team,” Arena said during a Facebook Live Q&A. “He’s making great progress and going through his progression in Seattle. At this time, he’s not fully ready to come into our camp. We really believe by March he’ll be ready to play in Seattle and be a possibility for our [World Cup] qualifiers in March.”
While Dempsey’s absence was apparently about health — and no matter what anyone says, that’s a huge question mark until he actually starts playing — Roldan’s could conceivably be seen more as a snub.
Arena tried to downplay that aspect.
“I definitely think he does [have one],” Arena said when asked about Roldan’s USMNT future. “He was one of those players that just got left out in the end. I think he had a fantastic year in Seattle. We’re going to continue to follow his progress and I would imagine in 2017 he’ll have an opportunity with the national team."
Potentially complicating the situation is Roldan’s status as also being eligible for the Guatemala and El Salvador national teams through his parents. Although Roldan has given pretty strong indications his preference is to play for the USMNT, with each passing camp the chances of him choosing to take up with another country grows. One way or another, Roldan has an international future.