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Arena: USMNT frontline 'real strength' heading into June
by Paul Kennedy, May 17th, 2017 1:18AM
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TAGS:  bruce arena, clint dempsey, jordan morris, jozy altidore, men's national team, world cup 2018


Dom Dwyer has been the hottest American striker with five goals for Sporting Kansas City the last two months, but the newly naturally U.S. citizen might have to wait until the Gold Cup to get a call-up from U.S. national team head coach Bruce Arena because of its depth up front.

U.S. national team forwards:
Dom Dwyer, Sporting KC (7 games, 7 starts, 5 goals, 1 assist)
Jozy Altidore, Toronto FC (9 games, 7 starts, 4 goals, 3 assists)
Juan Agudelo, New England (7 games, 7 starts, 4 goals)
Chris Wondolowski, San Jose (8 games, 8 starts, 3 goals, 3 assists)
Clint Dempsey, Seattle (7 games, 6 starts, 2 goals, 1 assist)
Jordan Morris, Seattle (7 games, 7 starts, 1 goal)
Bobby Wood, Hamburg (7 games, 7 starts, 2 assists)
Gyasi Zardes, LA Galaxy (6 games, 5 starts, 1 assist)

Arena is high on Dwyer, whom he knows well from his years coaching in MLS, but the English-born forward faces stiff competition from a deep forward corps.

“Dom’s a very good player,” Arena said before watching the Orlando City-Sporting KC game on Saturday. “He has just become eligible and is certainly on our radar. I’m hopeful between now and the end of summer we’ll have an opportunity to have him play for the U.S.”

Of Arena's group of forwards he brought in for the March qualifiers, the best has been Jozy Altidore, who has four goals in his last six games -- all wins -- for Toronto FC.

“[Jozy] is currently in outstanding form,” Arena said. “We saw him in camp in January when he was dealing with a couple of injuries and he slowly built into the season. Then, in the games for us in March against Honduras and Panama, he showed pretty well. After that he has just gotten better and better, so we’re excited to see Jozy in a couple of weeks."

Altidore and Clint Dempsey, who started together against Honduras and Panama in March, remain Arena's first choices.

"We’re also looking forward to getting Bobby [Wood] and Jordan [Morris] back," he added, "because that’s a position of real strength for the U.S. team.”

Both Wood and Morris were called in for the March qualifiers. Wood withdrew because of a back injury, while Morris returned to Seattle after the Honduras game because of an ankle injury picked up playing with the Sounders.

Wood has been battling a knee injury but continues to play for Hamburg. That injury, though, makes him a question mark for the June qualifiers against Trinidad & Tobago and Mexico.

Morris has been playing on the wing in recent weeks for the Sounders and has just one goal in seven games since returning to action.

  1. Wooden Ships
    commented on: May 17, 2017 at 7:57 a.m.
    I don't believe that I've ever felt like or heard, in my lifetime, that the USMNT's real strength has been or is the front line. Beside, a traditional #10, our strikers-forwards have been this countries weakest link, IMO. We don't score enough consistently, never have. Again, there really isn't much depth and we are a hammie, ankle or knee away from impotence. Heck, we rarely have two or more USMNT eligible forwards in the final top ten of scoring in the MLS.
  1. Bob Ashpole
    commented on: May 17, 2017 at 3:01 p.m.
    After thinking awhile, I can understand your statement. Donovan was picked out for international recognition, but I don't remember the US ever having two forwards recognized for quality at the same time. The former manager elected not to play Donovan and Dempsey at the same time. Also for a long time our back line and keeper pool was strong. Our 2002 team was strong across the field. I do feel good about the present pool, but agree that we always need to identify more new, young talent. The bottom line is that the situation is unchanged from the last 2 matches. The USA needs results and has no points advantage to allow bringing in untested forwards.
  1. Seven King
    commented on: May 17, 2017 at 7:47 p.m.
    For reference, we currently have 5 usmnt eligble players in the top 20 of MLS scoring Dwyer, Morris, Wondo, Pontius and Altidore
  1. frank schoon
    commented on: May 19, 2017 at 12:39 p.m.
    Wooden Ships, I agree.
  1. R2 Dad
    commented on: May 17, 2017 at 10:26 a.m.
    Wondo and Dempsey are not the future. The Gold Cup doesn't matter, especially if other nations are sending their B teams.
  1. Fire Paul Gardner Now
    commented on: May 17, 2017 at 10:45 a.m.
    Yes we will be sending a B team to that too. The gold cup should only be once every four years in my opinion. The second one in the cycle is a waste - with the Hex in full swing and the Confederations Cup taking place in the summer too, the Gold Cup is always going to be pretty far down the pecking order.
  1. Ginger Peeler
    commented on: May 17, 2017 at 3:11 p.m.
    Well, if we want to automatically qualify for the Confederations Cup, we have to win 2 Gold Cup Tournaments consecutively. In the last cycle, we won the first and lost the second which put us in a one-off playoff, which we lost. So, Mexico is our CONCACAF representative (there can be only one) at this Confederations Cup. I don't care if other teams are fielding their D teams! I want the USA to field the team most likely to win their games. Perhaps we can try some of our newer, less experienced, perhaps uncapped, players against the non-FIFA teams, such as Martinique. The physicality of some of our fellow CONCACAF teams and the questionable refereeing that always accompanies these games make the games real challenges for us to play well and avoid injuries. I want us to win the Gold Cup and win out in our World Cup qualifying.
  1. Bob Ashpole
    commented on: May 17, 2017 at 5:43 p.m.
    I agree with you Ginger, but keep in mind that qualifying has to be given priority. When players play too many matches performance degrades and risk of injury go up. For practical purposes that means reaching into the pool when first choice players would be playing too many matches. Fans and pundits should not call that fielding a B team. It is fielding the best team available for the competition.
  1. Fire Paul Gardner Now
    commented on: May 18, 2017 at 10:04 a.m.
    The Confederations Cup is a worthless FIFA money grab. Germany is sending a B team this year. WCQ is by far the #1 priority this summer.
  1. Christopher Tallmadge
    commented on: May 17, 2017 at 3:18 p.m.
    Depth? There isn't a player of real class in the group.
  1. Wooden Ships
    commented on: May 18, 2017 at 9:17 a.m.
    I'll disagree with you on Deuce. Yes, he's older these days but he is money and has scored big goals. No stage is to big for him. If we make Russia and he's healthy, he is certainly on my roster and probably in the 11.
  1. Craig Cummings
    commented on: May 17, 2017 at 10:01 p.m.
    What about Christian Ramirez of Minnesota United? He can play for USA or Columbia. Another O C Cal. product. He has 6 goals well really 7 with his own goal.
  1. Craig Cummings
    commented on: May 20, 2017 at 10:31 p.m.
    Nobody believes in Christian Ramirez. I hope on sunday on ESPN, you will. LA VS Minnesota.. Go pride of La Quinta HS in Westminster Ca . But LA is still my team. LA 4 to 3 with Christian getting 3 goals.

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