Johnson, Yedlin, Wood return to US lineup vs Venezuela
SANDY, Utah (AP) — Fabian Johnson, DeAndre Yedlin and Bobby Wood made their first appearances of the year for the United States in Saturday night’s exhibition against Venezuela, a warmup for a pair of World Cup qualifiers.
All three missed March qualifiers because of injuries.
U.S. coach Bruce Arena picked a starting lineup that figures to be close to the one he uses in Thursday’s qualifier against Trinidad and Tobago at Commerce City, Colorado.
Tim Howard was in goal, with Yedlin at right back, John Brooks and Geoff Cameron in central defense and Jorge Villafana at left back. Captain Michael Bradley was in defensive midfield and 18-year-old Christian Pulisic in central midfield, flanked by Johnson on the right and Darlington Nagbe on the left.
Clint Dempsey and Wood headed the attack. Dempsey is one shy of Landon Donovan’s American record of 57 international goals.
The American bench included No. 3 goalkeeper Nick Rimando; defenders Omar Gonzalez, Matt Hedges, Tim Ream and Graham Zusi; midfielders Kellyn Acosta, Alejandro Bedoya and Dax McCarty; and forward Jordan Morris.
Forward Jozy Altidore arrived at camp Wednesday due to family reasons. Rimando dressed ahead of No. 2 goalkeeper Brad Guzan because Rimando has played for Real Salt Lake since 2007.
Cameron and Brooks, both coming off injury interrupted seasons, had not started together since a 2-0 exhibition win at Cuba last Oct. 7.
The U.S. is fourth in the final round of qualifying in North and Central America and the Caribbean with four points, ahead of Honduras on goal difference. Mexico leads with 10, followed by Costa Rica with seven and Panama with five. Trinidad is last with three.
The top three nations qualify for next year’s World Cup in Russia, and the No. 4 nation advances to a playoff against Asia’s fifth-place team.
After the home game against T&T, the U.S. plays at Mexico on June 11.
Venezuela is last in South American qualifying with six points in 14 games and has been eliminated. About two hours after the end of the friendly, the U.S. and Venezuela meet in the quarterfinals of the Under-20 World Cup at Jeonju, South Korea.