Berhalter names 24 players for March friendlies vs. Ecuador and Chile
The USMNT March roster is out and there are some surprises. ASN's Brian Sciaretta shares a few of his quick thoughts on Berhalter's second roster.
BY Brian Sciaretta PostedUNITED STATES national team head coach Gregg Berhalter announced a 24 player roster for the upcoming friendlies against Ecuador on March 21 in Orlando and Chile in Houston on March 26.
March 12, 2019
March 12, 2019
The roster consists of 14 players from January camp as well as 10 players who will appear for Berhalter for the first time.
“Our goal is to keep making progress. Building on the themes of last camp, building on the style of play of last camp, but also now evaluating a new group of players,” Berhalter said. “We made progress in the first camp and it’s now asking if we can take it to another level. When we are done with this camp, it’s important that we have a good idea of our strongest group of players heading into the Gold Cup.”
Here is the roster along with a few thoughts.
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION (Club; Caps/Goals)
GOALKEEPERS (3): Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge, BEL; 3/0), Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 6/0), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC; 8/0)
DEFENDERS (8): John Brooks (Wolfsburg, GER; 36/3), Omar Gonzalez (Atlas, MEX; 48/3), Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes; 2/0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 4/0), Daniel Lovitz (Montreal Impact; 2/0), Matt Miazga (Reading, ENG; 11/1), Tim Ream (Fulham, ENG; 26/1), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United, ENG; 57/0)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig, GER; 9/1), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC, CAN; 143/17), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 7/2), Weston McKennie (Schalke, GER; 7/1), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund, GER; 23/9), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; 7/0), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; 13/0)
FORWARDS (6): Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 19/3), Corey Baird (Real Salt Lake; 2/0), Jonathan Lewis (New York City FC; 2/0), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 25/5), Christian Ramirez (LAFC; 2/1), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew SC; 42/6)
Ream and Gonzalez return
Perhaps the biggest surprise to the roster is the return of Omar Gonzalez and Tim Ream, who have not been part of the national team since the failed qualifying effort in 2017 but who could be there to provide experience in the backline.
“We have been saying all along that we thought it was important to have a veteran presence in the National Team,” Berhalter said. “I think it’s really important when you talk about the history, the heritage and culture of what it means to play for the National Team. In Omar and Tim’s case, they’re both playing at a high level, they’re both playing every week and we thought this would be a good camp to evaluate their performance.”
Gonzalez is a regular starter for Atlas in Liga MX and Ream has been starting for Fulham in the Premier League, although the club appears destined for relegation in its first year since earning promotion.
Sargent and Weah’s absence
The fact that Werder Bremen forward Josh Sargent and Celtic attacker Tim Weah are not on the roster is surprising but it also feeds the idea that perhaps the two will be options for the U-20 World Cup this summer. Weah’s numbers have gradually declined at Celtic over the past month and Sargent’s numbers have also fallen off since making his first start in February.
If both players are on the U-20 World Cup team, it would be a huge boost for Tab Ramos and his squad. It could also be an enormous get for the U.S. U-23 team as well as that team prepares to qualify for the Tokyo games in 2020.
““We had to make decisions for this camp and we looked at the players in a number of different buckets,” Berhalter said. “For example, we have some younger guys that aren’t getting the game time that they would have expected and they’re still age-eligible for the Olympics, so we think it’s a great opportunity for them to play two international games with the Olympic team.”
What to watch for in this camp:
Here are a few things that will be interesting to observe in the upcoming friendlies:
What positions will Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie, and Christian Pulisic play? All three players have played numerous positions over the years. If Berhalter is married to the 4-1-4-1 formation, will it be McKennie or Adams in the lone holding midfielder position? Who will slide into the attacking four?
Regarding Christian Pulisic, will he play on the wing or will he play on the attacking midfield?
Assuming Sargent and Weah go to the U-20 or U-23 teams for games, there are a few other players to keep an eye on for future camps. The same could be said for Cameron Carter-Vickers who is playing for Swansea City or Antonee Robinson at Wigan Athletic who has finally returned from injury and is also eligible for the Olympics.
Duane Holmes has been impressing this season at Derby but perhaps when he completes his first full season in the Championship he can sneak back into the mix.
Bobby Wood is also not included although the U.S. national team veteran is having a second consecutive rough season in the Bundesliga with a team that is headed for relegation.
In MLS, Walker Zimmerman was left off the team after a solid January camp and could also be an option if Gonzalez or Ream do not impress.