Hedges, 27, returned to USMNT camp for the first time in January since 2015, earning his first cap in a 2-0 win against Panama on Feb. 8, 2015. The reigning MLS Defender of the Year returned early from camp with an injury and would be in line for his first World Cup Qualifying cap.
“I think we have a good group,” Arena said. “I'm still in the early goings with this team and I haven't seen all of our players, so this camp gives me the opportunity to see six new faces we haven't had in with the team yet, which is valuable. It's also great that we're able to bring back 21 players that have been in with our program already in 2017. We have a roster that has good balance all over, we have good young players and hopefully it's a team we can put together to get us points in both games.”
McCarty is in his first season with Chicago Fire after an All-Star career previously with the New York Red Bulls.
“The World Cup is next year, but we have to qualify first and I think every player here wants to qualify,” McCarty told MLSsoccer.com. “But for me, in terms of my chances with the national team, I'm 30 years old, so I feel like I'm in the prime of my career right now and I'm playing some of the best soccer that I've played.”
He's earned six caps since debuting in 2009. But McCarty's international career has experienced an uptick since Bruce Arena was given the USMNT reins for the second time last year.
“Obviously, it's been a little while since I've been involved with the national team,” McCarty said. “I've been in and out. I was in with Bob Bradley towards the end of his tenure and was called in once under Jurgen [Klinsmann]. Now with Bruce coming in, he's given me a couple of chances. I look at this as a big opportunity.”
This latest international call-up marks the second for McCarty in 2017 following his participation in the USMNT's January camp.
“Dax is a good, experienced player,” Arena told reporters this week. “He's had a good start with Chicago and he's a player that I've followed for years, and a player who I think is a really good player.”
The USMNT have two critical World Cup Qualifiers coming up against Trinidad & Tobago and Mexico, and a friendly with Venezuela in the month of June.
Players began reporting to camp on May 28. The squad will play a tune-up against Venezuela on June 3 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. FS1 and the Univision networks are carrying the game beginning at 10 a.m. ET.
The first World Cup Qualifier takes place against Trinidad & Tobago on June 8 in Denver, Colorado, at 8 p.m. ET. The match will be broadcast on FS1, UniMas and UDN.
Only three days later, the U.S. will seek its first three points away to Mexico in World Cup Qualifying. The historic Estadio Azteca in Mexico City hosts the 66th meeting between the two teams since 1934, which will be televised on FS1, Univision and UDN at 8:30 p.m. ET.
U.S. MNT Roster By Position (Club; WCQ Caps/Goals)
GOALKEEPERS (4): Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC; 13/0), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge/BEL; 0/0), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids; 35/0), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake; 0/0)
DEFENDERS (11): DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo; 33/6), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City; 11/1), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin/GER; 3/0), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG; 20/2), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER; 3/0), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX; 14/0), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas; 0/0), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 4/0), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna/MEX; 2/0), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United/ENG; 6/0), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City; 17/3)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; 2/0), Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana/MEX; 2/1), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union; 8/0), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/CAN; 33/6), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach/GER; 15/1), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire; 0/0), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers; 5/0), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 7/3)
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC/CAN; 36/16), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC; 38/18), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 3/0), Bobby Wood (Hamburg/GER; 8/4)