Arena Calls 26 Players for World Cup Qualifiers to #Get3 vs. Panama and Trinidad & Tobago

USA-Panama, Presented by Volpi Foods, Kicks Off Matchday 9 on Oct. 6 in Orlando; MNT Closes out the Hex at Trinidad & Tobago on Oct. 10

CHICAGO (Oct. 1, 2017) – U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bruce Arena has called 26 players into training camp in advance of the USA’s decisive World Cup Qualifiers against Panama and Trinidad & Tobago.

With two games remaining in the Final Round of Qualifying, the U.S. holds its destiny in its own hands and has positioned itself to advance for its eighth consecutive World Cup. Wins at home against Panama and away to last-place Trinidad & Tobago would virtually guarantee a spot in Russia 2018. [SCENARIOS]

“It’s a roster we’ve selected that we believe will give us success in these next two games. We have a pretty balanced roster with experienced players,” Arena said. “The players always give the commitment, that’s never an issue. The issue is whether we get the results we need, and I think we’re positioned to do that. I think if it comes down to where we need four or six points in our last two games, I think that’s fine and we’ll get it done.”

USA-Panama, presented by Volpi Foods, kicks off at 7:30 p.m. ET on Oct. 6 from Orlando City Stadium in Orlando, Fla. [ESPN2, Univision, UDN). Four days later, the U.S. can secure a berth to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in the final match of the Hex against Trinidad & Tobago. Coverage on Oct. 10 from Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, Trinidad begins at 8 p.m. ET on beIN SPORT and UNIVERSO.

Fans can also follow the World Cup Qualifiers live on Facebook and Twitter at @ussoccer and @ussoccer_esp

GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC; 15/0), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids; 37/0), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake; 0/0)

DEFENDERS (9): DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo; 35/6), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City; 12/1), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG; 24/2), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX; 16/0), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana/MEX; 6/1), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 6/0), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna/MEX; 4/0), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United/ENG; (8/0), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City; 20/3)

MIDFIELDERS (10): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; 5/0), Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution; 0/0), Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 5/1), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union; 9/0), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/CAN; 38/7), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City; 6/0), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire; 0/0), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers; 9/0), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 11/5), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy; 4/1)

FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC/CAN; 39/16), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC; 41/18), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes; 0/0), Bobby Wood (Hamburg/GER; 12/4)

* Gyasi Zardes withdrew from camp on Oct. 1 due to a groin strain

The top three teams in CONCACAF earn an automatic bid for the World Cup, and the United States is poised to collect one of those spots. On Matchday 9, the U.S. hosts Panama which sits one point ahead in the table. The USA is 11-1-6 all-time against Los Canaleros and has never lost to them in World Cup Qualifying, going 5-0-2 in seven matches. Four days later, they visit last-place Trinidad & Tobago.

“We know from experience that qualifying is a long and difficult road. We’ve put ourselves in position to qualify, and that’s all you want,” U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard said. “We knew from the outset it was going to come down to the wire. We are confident and determined to get the job done.”

Panama and Honduras are the USA’s closest competitors for the remaining spots, and each face a difficult road. Following its meeting against the United States, the Panamanians host second-place Costa Rica. Meantime, on Matchday 9 the Hondurans are away to Costa Rica, who still need a point to guarantee a ticket to Russia. Los Catrachos close out against group lea
ders Mexico.

STRONG IN ‘17The MNT has been formidable this year, winning the confederation championship and taking points in all three road World Cup Qualifiers, including the 1-1 draw against Mexico at Estadio Azteca. The 2017 Gold Cup champions have lost only once in 16 matches, tallying 28 goals and recording seven shutouts. Seven players have put their names on the scoresheet multiple times, with Clint Dempsey leading all U.S. scorers with five goals, while Christian Pulisic has tallied four goals and three assists.