U.S. Soccer today announced that Seattle Sounders attackers Clint Dempsey and Jordan Morris have been named to Bruce Arena’s 27-player U.S. Men’s National Team roster for three June matches, including two World Cup Qualifiers.
Both players flew to Denver today to join the team in preparation for its first qualifying match against Trinidad & Tobago (T&T). That match takes place June 8 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
To help prepare for this qualifier, the USMNT will host Venezuela in a friendly at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, on June 3.
What does this mean for the Sounders?
The already-thin Sounders attacking depth will be tested over the next two weeks, as Dempsey and Morris will at least miss matches against the Columbus Crew (May 31) and Houston Dynamo (June 4).
Houston—currently second in the West—could be without defender DaMarcus Beasley for the Sounders home match, as he also got called up by Arena. Adolfo Machado should represent Panama in a June 8 match, while Alberth Elis, Boniek Garcia, and Romell Quioto could also miss the match against Seattle, as Honduras takes on Mexico on June 8.
In addition to two MLS matches, Dempsey and Morris will most likely miss the U.S. Open Cup game on June 13 against Portland, although Dempsey can’t play anyway due to his Red Card Wedding suspension.
With Will Bruin out with a dislocated elbow, Seattle may need to rely on Seyi Adekoya as a starter or regularly used sub these next two games. Having Aaron Kovar back in the 18 offers some additional attacking promise. The Sounders will also look for more offensive production from Harry Shipp and Alvaro Fernandez.
Joevin Jones should also be called up by T&T, and as a result might be unavailable for Seattle’s June 4 home match against the Dynamo—taking place four days before T&T face the U.S. Jones had the game-winning assist in T&T’s last qualifying match against Panama. T&T play again on June 13, putting Jones out for the Open Cup. Oniel Fisher and Nouhou are the two most likely options to slot in for the left back.
If Roman Torres is healthy, he might be another player missing for Seattle. Panama has World Cup qualifiers June 8 and June 13. While Cristian Roldan has proven himself for Seattle—being one of the most important players on the squad—he has yet to get the attention of USMNT coach Bruce Arena and will remain with the Sounders. He’ll certainly be needed.
What does this mean for Dempsey and Morris?
Dempsey is currently one goal shy of tying Landon Donovan’s all-time USMNT scoring record. The forward propelled himself closer to the record earlier this year, when he scored four goals in two World Cup Qualifiers, including a hat trick against Honduras.
Morris has three appearances in World Cup Qualifying thus far. He scored his second international goal in a 1-0 friendly win over Jamaica in February, following his first against Mexico in 2015. Can the forward, who is starting to find a spark in Seattle, get another critical goal against Mexico in June?
What does this mean for the USMNT?
The U.S. match against T&T marks the halfway point of the Final Round of CONCACAF 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying, with the U.S. currently sitting in fourth out of six teams. The top three teams in the "North, Central America and Caribbean" group qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The fourth placed team advances to the intercontinental play-off.
USMNT June Schedule
- Saturday, June 3, 7 PM PT: Friendly — USA v. Venezuela (Rio Tinto Stadium)
- Thursday, June 8, 4:50 PM PT: Qualifier — USA v. Trinidad & Tobago (Dick’s Sport Goods Park)
- Sunday, June 11, 5:30 PM PT: Qualifier — USA v. Mexico (Estadio Azteca)
It is going to be a tough few weeks for both club and country. Here’s hoping Dempsey and Morris can get the U.S. closer to the World Cup, and Seattle keeps its momentum going until the two attackers return.
U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM ROSTER BY POSITION
DEFENDERS (11): DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Tim Ream (Fulham), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund)
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Bobby Wood (Hamburg/GER)