Time is running out for the USMNT and most CONCACAF nations, with the Nations League set to take place, Gold Cup, and the start of World Cup qualifying. Gregg Berhalter is in the final stages of preparing his squad for what lies ahead in 2021.
For the games against Jamaica and Northern Ireland the USMNT coach called in the following players: GOALKEEPERS (3): Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge), Chituru Odunze (Leicester City), Zack Steffen (Manchester City/ENG), DEFENDERS (10): John Brooks (Wolfsburg/GER), Reggie Cannon (Boavista/POR), Sergiño Dest (Barcelona/ESP), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Matt Miazga (Anderlecht/BEL), Erik Palmer-Brown (Austria Wien/AUT), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG), Bryan Reynolds (Roma/ITA), Chris Richards (Hoffenheim/GER), Antonee Robinson (Fulham/ENG), MIDFIELDERS (7): Brenden Aaronson (Red Bull Salzburg/AUT), Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids) Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig/GER), Luca de la Torre (Heracles/NED), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Yunus Musah (Valencia/ESP), Owen Otasowie (Wolverhampton Wanderers/ENG), FORWARDS: (6): Daryl Dike (Barnsley/ENG), Nicholas Gioacchini (Caen/FRA), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund/GER), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen/GER), Tim Weah (Lille/FRA)
While the backbone of the national team seems set, there are certain eye raising call ups and some snubs as well as certain issues in key positions. We will examine the questions Berhalter will need to answer.
Who got snubbed?
At this point the only true snub is Julian Green, unfortunately Green contracted covid-19 and that kept him out of action. Still, he is having a career year at Greuther Fürth and at 25 can still be a good off the bench role player. If Acosta and Lletget can get minutes in the national team set up, it’s hard not to argue for Green.
Positions that still have question marks
The defense of the USMNT seems set, the 10 names on this roster are the best defenders in the nation no question. While the midfield will most likely have a set up where Weston McKennie, Gio Reyna, Tyler Adams, and Christian Pulisic will be the backbone, it’s at goalkeeper and forward that raises the biggest questions.
In goal, the number1 spot of the USMNT is still up for grabs. Zack Steffen, Ethan Horvath, and Chituru Odunze on paper look like a great three man set up. None are starting in their current clubs, and only Steffen has seen any real meaningful minutes during the year. Horvath will need to find a club where he can play, while Odunze is a youth player. The question is, if Brad Guzan has a career year in Atlanta, can any of these three keepers given their current situation, challenge him for the starting spot?
At forward it’s another merry go round of names, this camp brings in Daryl Dike who is having a fantastic loan spell at Barnsley. Nicholas Gioacchini continues to be in the fold after steady performances both at club and country, still Gioacchini is nothing to write home about. Josh Sargent is having his best season at Werder Bremen but again we are not talking about world class forwards. Dike looks the more confident of the three to make a surprise start. The striker position is without question the teams weakest spot on the field.
Who to watch?
Yunus Musah committed officially to the USMNT and all eyes will be on him as now the U.S. can truly include him in the fold. The return of Tim Weah, who has begun to earn starting minutes in France, will be an interesting storyline to see if he can finally cement his spot on the team. Brenden Aaronson has started superbly in Austria and fans will be hyped to see how he can get into the picture and work with players like Reyna, Adams, Pulisic.