The US Men’s National Team has announced their roster for two upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and Panama. Timbers Midfielder Darlington Nagbe was named to the squad, which will play on March 24th in San Jose, California against Honduras, then travel to Panama City for a match on March 28th.
Lucky for us Timbers fans, Nagbe will still be in the Timbers lineup for this Saturday’s clash with the Houston Dynamo at Providence Park. However, he will not be rejoining the squad until their April 2nd matchup with the New England Revolution, also at Providence Park.
It will be interesting to see how Nagbe fits into new/old coach Bruce Arena’s game plan, as this will be his first non-friendly matches since Arena regained his old job. Nagbe has looked solid for Team USA in his previous 12 appearances, scoring once in a May 2016 1-0 victory over Ecuador.
A major question also remains about how Arena will approach these two matches. The team dropped their first two qualifiers against Mexico and Costa Rica, which was a big reason for Arena’s return. Judging by who was picked, he wants some old stalwarts who can be reliable in this time of urgency.
It won’t be easy either, as Honduras and Panama are no pushovers. While neither are world beaters, Honduras is known for a physical defensive style and boasts a few MLS stars themselves. Panama will be the easier match, but when you’re down two in World Cup qualifying, nothing is easy as the pressure ramps up.