Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez and teammate midfielder Landon Donovan… (Kevork Djansezian / Getty…)
Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan and defender Omar Gonzalez were called up to the U.S. national team Thursday for key World Cup qualifiers in September in Costa Rica and against Mexico in Columbus, Ohio.
For Donovan, the Sept. 6 match at Costa Rica will mark his first appearance at a World Cup qualifier in more than a year. Donovan did not play in the U.S. team's final four matches of the third round of qualifying last fall because of injury and he was left off the roster for the first six games this year after taking a three-month break from soccer over the winter.
But U.S. Coach Juergen Klinsmann said Donovan regained his place on the team with a fabulous July in which he scored seven goals and recorded seven assists in seven matches, leading an American B team to a CONCACAF Gold Cup title.
"He did a wonderful job there," Klinsmann said. "Having Landon back in the picture is another really, really good option for us."
The U.S., riding a record 12-match winning streak, leads the six-team group of regional World Cup qualifying with four matches to play. The top three teams earn invitations to next year's World Cup tournament in Brazil, something the U.S. can virtually assure itself of with victories in Costa Rica and again Sept. 10 against Mexico.
"I'm excited. I'm happy to be a part of the group," said Donovan, who is bidding for a record-tying fourth World Cup appearance. "We have the potential in the next couple of weeks to be qualified for the World Cup, and that's always the goal and I'm going to do everything I can to make that happen."
Donovan's selection was expected. But there was one surprise in the roster Klinsmann announced Thursday: Aron Johannsson, a dual U.S.-Iceland citizen, joins the team as a forward. His fellow forwards are the Seattle Sounders' Clint Dempsey and Eddie Johnson, and Jozy Altidore, who plays with Sunderland of the English Premier League.
Times staff writer James Peltz contributed to this report.
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These 23 players were named to the U.S. national soccer team Thursday for World Cup qualifiers at Costa Rica on Sept. 6 and against Mexico in Colum- bus, Ohio, on Sept. 10:
Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City) John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Omar Gonzalez (Galaxy), Michael Orozco (Puebla)
Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Roma), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Schalke), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Landon Donovan (Galaxy), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders)