Longtime national team stalwarts Tim Howard and DaMarcus Beasley will rejoin the USMNT for September friendlies against Peru and Brazil.
U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann selected both veterans in his squad for the matches in preparation for the Oct. 10 clash with Mexico that will determine a berth in the Confederations Cup in 2017.
Howard, the most-capped U.S. goalkeeper ever took a year off from the national team after the 2014 World Cup. His return comes almost exactly a year to the date of that announcement (Aug. 21). Howard has started in goal for the U.S. in the last two World Cups.
“I think we can be really thrilled to have Tim Howard back on board,” Klinsmann said in a statement. “He took a year off because of family reasons and that was all fine for us. Now after the Gold Cup we had the understanding that we were going to talk on the phone, which we did at length. He said he would love to come back. This is more great news for us.”
Klinsmann also said Howard will be the No. 2 goalkeeper behind Brad Guzan for the moment.
Beasley, who started at left back in the 2014 World Cup and has been part of the U.S. senior national team since 2001, retired from international play in December but returned after Klinsmann approached him prior to the Gold Cup knockout stage in July. Beasley was injured in training and played just 30 minutes in one appearance, the USMNT's loss to Panama in the third-place game.
That game was originally billed as Beasley's sendoff, but both he and Klinsmann have changed their stance on his future with the team.
“It’s a big statement for us because not only is he a guy that’s important on the field with all of the qualities that he has, it seems like he’s not getting older at all, but he’s also extremely important as a chemistry guy within the group. He’s always a positive thinker. He looks after young players. He makes sure that the energy level is high, so to have him back in our group for the future is huge for us. Hopefully it will be a long future still with DaMarcus Beasley with the National Team.”
The U.S. takes on Peru Sept. 4 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., and Brazil Sept. 8 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. Peru finished third in this summer's Copa America, while Brazil lost in the quarter-finals but remains one of the sport's global powers.
“We want to do well,” Klinsmann said. “We want to excite the fans and play two very good games, and at the same time we want to see the players perform. We want to see the players make statements towards the Mexico game, because that is really the biggest game of the year now after what happened at the Gold Cup. So it will be very interesting.”
- Jeremy Woo