Soccer

Arena will be cautious with players for World Cup qualifying

  • United States soccer head coach Bruce Arena speaks to reporters at a news conference in Millbrae, Calif., Monday, March 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

    United States soccer head coach Bruce Arena speaks to reporters at a news conference in Millbrae, Calif., Monday, March 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)  (The Associated Press)

  • United States soccer head coach Bruce Arena speaks to reporters at a news conference in Millbrae, Calif., Monday, March 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

    United States soccer head coach Bruce Arena speaks to reporters at a news conference in Millbrae, Calif., Monday, March 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)  (The Associated Press)

  • United States soccer head coach Bruce Arena speaks to reporters at a news conference in Millbrae, Calif., Monday, March 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

    United States soccer head coach Bruce Arena speaks to reporters at a news conference in Millbrae, Calif., Monday, March 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)  (The Associated Press)

Bruce Arena is preparing for a pair of critical World Cup qualifiers this month uncertain about the availabilities of forward Clint Dempsey, defender Geoff Cameron and goalkeeper Tim Howard.

Arena spoke Monday with Cameron, who played a full match for Stoke on Saturday for the first time since injuring a knee in October. While Arena is thrilled Dempsey has returned to the field for Seattle after dealing with an irregular heartbeat, the U.S. coach will be "very cautious" in determining Dempsey's national team status before the March 24 qualifier against Honduras at the San Jose Earthquakes' Avaya Stadium.

Howard is still recovering from leg surgery in November and missed Colorado's Major League Soccer opener last weekend.

After losing its first two games in the final round of World Cup qualifying, the Americans fired Jurgen Klinsmann and brought back Arena, their coach from 1998-2006. His first competitive match is against the Catrachos, and the U.S. plays four days later at Panama.