Los Angeles - Clint Dempsey, back in US coach Jurgen
Klinsmann's squad for Friday's 2018 World Cup qualifier in Guatemala City, is
eager for the challenge.
The 33-year-old former Tottenham and Fulham striker missed
the United States' first two matches in the fourth round of qualifying in North
and Central America and the Caribbean.
But with Klinsmann eyeing full points from back-to-back
matches against Guatemala -- on Friday and at home in Columbus, Ohio, next week
-- Dempsey is hoping to contribute.
"I have enjoyed my time with th national team and every
time I have got called up to camp and played in games I have had the same
mentality," Dempsey, now with Major League Soccer's Seattle Sounders, told
"I have played my best, left everything on the field
and if you get opportunities to play, you continue in the same way. I don't
think that just because you have a little time off that you would change."
A 6-1 victory over St. Vincent and the Grenadines and
goalless draw with Trinidad and Tobago last November mean the US team could
clinch a spot in the North American hexagonal qualifying finals with a
Also read: USA break Ghana hearts
"Our goal definitely for the two Guatemala fixtures is
six points," Klinsmann said.
"We know it's going to be very difficult, especially
the game in Guatemala City. It will be vital how we come out right away from
the first second in Guatemala City and hopefully being able to get three
points. That would make things a lot easier for the second game."
Dempsey is joined in the squad by MLS players Jozy Altidore
and Michael Bradley, while eight others are from European sides, including
Sunderland defender DeAndre Yedlin, Stoke City defender Geoff Cameron and
goalkeepers Brad Guzan of Aston Villa and Tim Howard of Everton.
Like the United States, Trinidad and Tobago have four points
through two Group C matches. Trinidad will try to build on that total when they
visit St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Friday.
In other matches, Canada host regional powerhouse Mexico,
the 2015 Gold Cup winners who top Group A with two wins in two matches.
Canada, second in the group after a win over Honduras and a
draw in El Salvador, will be looking for an upset at BC Palace in Vancouver,
where with more than 46,000 tickets sold in advance the crowd promises to be
the largest ever for a home World Cup qualifier.
Elsewhere in Group A, El Salvador host Honduras, while in
Group B Jamaica -- whose fourth-round campaign got off to a shaky start with a
loss at home to Panama -- try to steady the ship when they host group leaders
Costa Rica and Haiti are at home to Panama.
The top two teams in each group advance to the final
six-team round robin Hexagonal for a place in the World Cup finals in Russia.For
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