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USMNT: Arena leaves out Johnson for WCQ

Fabian Johnson, where are you?

In a surprising move, United States Men’s National Team head coach Bruce Arena left off the 29-year-old midfielder on the latest World Cup Qualifying roster.

Johnson had started the last two matches for his club team, Borussia Monchengladbach.

Johnson released this statement, obtained by The Yanks Are Coming (@YanksAreComing on Twitter.

“I’m shocked and devastated and disappointed to not be a part of the (US) team this week,” Johnson said. “Obviously we’ve put the work in for two years and I wanted to do everything in my power to help finish it. I feel I’m playing well now after an injury and feel I could contribute. But I certainly believe the team will play well and find the level it needs to finish strong and qualify now, without a playoff.”

Instead, making the roster for must-win matches against Panama and Trinidad & Tobago, Arena called in Michael Orozco, Benny Felihaber, Juan Agudelo and Chris Wondowloski.

Orozco has not played for his club team, Club Tijuana in Mexico, since Aug. 5.

“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.”

Arena also notably left off Justin Morrow of Toronto FC and Timothy Chandler of Eintracht Frankfurt.

The United States will face Panama on Oct. 6 and Trinidad & Tobago on Oct. 10. The match against Panama is on home soil, to be played at Orlando City Stadium in Orlando, Florida.

The United States currently sits behind Panama on the World Cup Qualifying table.

Mexico has already secured their spot to Russia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, leading the group with 18 points. Costa Rica sits in second place with 15 points, surely looking at a World Cup spot.

Panama sits with 10 points, while the United States is hot on their heels with nine points.

However, right behind the United States is Honduras with nine points. Trinidad & Tobago sits in last place with three points.

Below is the full roster for the USMNT’s final round of World Cup Qualifying matches in their CONCACAF group.

Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan, Tim Howard and Nick Rimando.

Defenders: DaMarcus Beasley, Matt Besler, Geoff Cameron, Omar Gonzalez, Michael Orozco, Tim Ream, Jorge Villafaña, DeAndre Yedlin and Graham Zusi.

Midfielders: Kellyn Acosta, Juan Agudelo, Paul Arriola, Alejandro Bedoya, Michael Bradley, Benny Feilhaber, Dax McCarty, Darlington Nagbe, Christian Pulisic and Gyasi Zardes.

Forwards: Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey, Chris Wondolowski and Bobby Wood.


Photo of Fabian Johnson courtesy of Christian Verheyen/Borussia Monchengladbach.

Follow @RachaelMcKriger on Twitter for all USMNT coverage.

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Rachael McKriger
Sports Journalist

Rachael McKriger writes for RSEN Report (Lead Editor), Pittsburgh Sports Castle (Content Editor), Mon Goals and W2M Network, in addition to being a sports stringer/reporter for the Mon Valley Independent newspaper.

A senior of California Univ. of Pennsylvania, you can follow her on Twitter, @RachaelMcKriger, where you can find all of her articles. Search “McKriger Photography” on Facebook, to see her photos.

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