With the United States men’s national team trying to solidify its positioning for the 2018 World Cup, coach Bruce Arena is opting to lean on his veterans.
That serves as good news to Sporting Kansas City defenders Matt Besler and Graham Zusi. Arena added the pair of Sporting KC players to his 26-man roster for two World Cup qualifying matches over the next 10 days.
The Americans will play host to Costa Rica on Friday in Harrison, N.J., before traveling to Honduras on Sept. 5.
All 26 players on the United States roster have appeared for the Americans at least once already in 2017.
Former Sporting KC forward Dom Dwyer was not included after being called up to the Gold Cup this summer and scoring twice.
“I think we’re bringing in a good roster — one that has depth in every position,” Arena said in a statement. “I think we have the right understanding as a group as to what needs to be done.”
Since Arena replaced Jurgen Klinsmann, who was fired late in 2016, the United States has secured eight points over four qualifying matches, pushing them up to third place in the CONCACAF group standings. The top three teams will make the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The fourth-place team will qualify for a play-in match.
Besler and Zusi have been regulars under Arena. They were both members of the Gold Cup championship-winning team last month.
Besler has made 44 career appearances with the national team, and Zusi has made 53.