Two Sounders will be making the trip to Brazil for the World Cup. They just might not be the exact two most expected.
Star forward Clint Dempsey and surprise inclusion DeAndre Yedlin are Seattle’s two representatives on the U.S. national team’s final World Cup roster of 23, which was released by the federation Thursday.
Only two other teams, Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City, had as many as two players named to the squad.
The excitement was buoyed, though, by the news that Sounders captain Brad Evans was one of the final seven cuts from the USMNT’s preliminary roster, a group of 30 that began training camp in Palo Alto, Calif., last week. Evans will return to Seattle, but his immediate availability is unclear.
One easy decision for U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann was to include Dempsey, the 31-year-old U.S. captain who is set to feature in his third World Cup following his red-hot form with the Sounders. Few, though, envisioned Yedlin as being the club teammate to join him. The 20-year-old Seattle native has the physical tools to compare favorably with anyone in the U.S. pool, but many felt his inexperience and bouts of inconsistency as a developing player made the 2018 World Cup a more realistic goal.
Yedlin is the first MLS homegrown player to make a U.S. World Cup roster, and he joins a select list of local products who have represented the country on the world’s biggest stage, joining Olympia’s Kasey Keller, Everett’s Chris Henderson and Seattle’s Marcus Hahnemann – all of which are connected to Sounders FC.
Perhaps the unfortunate reality of Yedlin’s inclusion is that it might have come at the expense of Evans. Both play right back for the national team, while Yedlin starts regularly at the position for Seattle.
Evans had always been praised for his versatility, and he played an influential role in World Cup qualifying – most notably with a vital game-winner in Jamaica – but being a natural midfielder competing for a roster spot at defender was going to be a challenge. He will remain on the team’s standby list.
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