USMNT team news: Arena chooses Gonzalez & Besler in central defense

Johan Ordonez
The veteran center backs have earned the nod over Geoff Cameron for Friday's crucial World Cup qualifier against Panama

Bruce Arena has picked Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler in central defense for the U.S. national team's critical World Cup qualifier against Panama on Friday, leaving Geoff Cameron on the bench.

With John Brooks sidelined, the U.S. coach has again turned to the duo that started last month's 1-1 draw with Honduras after Cameron and Tim Ream made notable miscues in a 2-0 loss to Costa Rica.

Arena also has left Clint Dempsey — currently tied with Landon Donovan as the Americans' all-time leading scorer with 57 goals — as a substitute, giving the nod to Jozy Altidore and Bobby Wood up front.

Tim Howard gets the start in goal after splitting the September qualifiers with Brad Guzan, while DeAndre Yedlin and Jorge Villafana start at outside back.

Captain Michael Bradley anchors a midfield that also features Darlington Nagbe, Christian Pulisic and Paul Arriola.

GFX USA Starting XI 10062017

USA XI: Howard; Yedlin, Gonzalez, Besler, Villafana; Arriola, Bradley, Nagbe; Pulisic; Wood, Altidore

Substitutes: Guzan, Rimando, Cameron, Ream, Zusi, Beasley, McCarty, Acosta, Bedoya, Feilhaber, Dempsey, Wondolowski

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Scratched: Orozco, Agudelo

Panama XI: Penedo; Murillo, Torres, Baloy, Ovalle; Quintero, Gomez, Godoy, Barcenas; Torres, Perez

Substitutes: Calderon, Escobar, Vargas, Machado, Davis, Buitrago, Cooper, Gonzalez, Tejada, Nurse, Arroyo