Berhalter calls up mostly familiar names on the January training camp roster
January 06, 2022
UNITED STATES NATIONAL team manager Gregg Berhalter today announced a 19-player roster for a training camp that will run from Jan. 7-21 and will include several closed-door scrimmages. Since it won’t take place during a FIFA international window, the roster is entirely domestic based. This camp will run up to opening of camp for January’s World Cup qualifiers when European-based players will be arrive.
The roster contains few surprised. Most players have been with the U.S. team before and 10 of the 19 players have played in a World Cup qualifier this cycle.
Unlike the roster for the December camp last month which included many very young players, this roster contains only one player eligible for the U.S. U-20 team in goalkeeper Gaga Slonina. Later this month the U.S. U-20 team will hold a separate camp in Florida.
Instead, this roster is heavily reliant on veterans.
Here is the roster along with some thoughts.
GOALKEEPERS (3): Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 9/0), Gabriel Slonina (Chicago Fire; 0/0), Matt Turner (New England Revolution; 13/0)
DEFENDERS (6): George Bello (Atlanta United; 6/0), DeJuan Jones (New England Revolution; 0/0), Brooks Lennon (Atlanta United; 1/0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 21/3), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United; 15/3), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; 23/2)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids; 45/2), Cole Bassett (Colorado Rapids; 1/1), Djordje Mihailovic (CF Montrêal; 6/1), Sebastian Lletget (New England Revolution; 33/8), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders; 30/0), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes; 16/0)
FORWARDS (4): Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 42/8), Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas; 5/2), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders; 40/10), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew; 66/14)
In terms of the January World Cup qualifiers, the three most important players on the current roster are Miles Robinson, Walker Zimmerman, and Matt Turner.
Robinson and Zimmerman are obvious – not because they are obvious picks to make the final roster but because there is a good chance they could start one or more of the upcoming qualifiers. Neither are in season, and that is a problem, but the European-based central defenders aren’t performing that well – aside from Chris Richards. John Brooks has hit a rough patch with Wolfsburg, Matt Miazga hasn’t played much for Deportivo Alaves, and Tim Ream is steady but getting older quickly.
Slonina, Bassett, Mihailovic, & Jones rewarded
While many of the picks to the roster were obvious due to players having been in and around the team for most of 2021, several of the players earned their way onto this team.
Gabriel “Gaga” Slonina is a logical pick with Berhalter having said in 2021 the U.S. team needs to get younger at the goalkeeper position. At the time he was talking about David Ochoa who soon left for Mexico. But that still applies to Slonina who is just 17 but is a starter for Chicago. He’s done well for his age and it is nice to see that rewarded – while keeping him in the U.S. camp as opposed to bolting for Poland.
Cole Bassett had a nice season for Colorado and should have been a big part of the U.S. U-20 team last year. At 20, he wants to make the move abroad and has served Colorado well for three years now. He’s worked hard and only continued to improve and he’s a good play maker who makes things happen. Last month he scored the winning goal for the U.S. in his debut against Bosnia and Herzegovina. He was rewarded here too.
Djordje Mihailovic impressed Berhalter early in his tenure as coach but fell off and struggled a bit with Chicago. In 2021, he moved to Montreal and was terrific – finishing second in the league in assists with 16. Berhalter rewarded that production with this call-up.
DeJuan Jones was a big part of the New England Revolution’s success in 2021 and helped the team win the Supporters’ Shield. Now the fullback is rewarded with his first national team call-up.
Morris and Ferreira in the attack
Two players who have a lot to prove in this camp are Jordan Morris and Jesus Ferreira.
Morris missed most of 2021 with a torn ACL but came back at the end of the season and made his return to the U.S. national team last month in the friendly against Bosnia. Before Bosnia was reduced to 10 players, the game was wide open and Morris did well. He typically does well in space and showed glimpses of his 2019/20 form.
In 2021, Jesus Ferreira rebounded from a poor 2020 season and returned to the national team for the November World Cup qualifiers. He has improved his stock and is firmly on the edge of earning more call-ups for qualifiers but needs to continue to impress in camps like these.