Predicted USMNT January Camp roster
The United States will soon turn the page on on 2017 with its annual January camp. It will be an different vibe, for sure, with no meaningful games and no permanent head coach. Still several players have a chance to build a case for the future.
BY Brian Sciaretta PostedTHE UNITED STATES NATIONAL TEAM will gather next month in California for its annual January camp and unlike previous editions, this time the squad will be led under a caretaker manager in Dave Sarachan who had no meaningful games on the horizon.
December 17, 2017
December 17, 2017
Before predicting what a roster will look like, it is important to examine what the team will want to accomplish out of this camp. After a failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, the national team does not have much to play for on the horizon. And with Sarachan likely only the manager until early this summer, he is not building a team under his vision.
The mostly likely goal in constructing a roster for this camp will be to give younger, mostly domestic-based players a chance to take their first steps in international soccer. If a player impresses here, perhaps Sarachan can use the player in March or into early-summer friendlies. Then whenever the permanent head coach is introduced, he will have a more prepared group of players.
This is a talent identification camp that will help the program continue to move forward and aid in a future transition of coaches.
Here is our predicted roster
1) Zack Steffen
2) Bill Hamid
3) Jesse Gonzalez
4) Alex Bono
The Skinny: This position on the U.S. team needs an entire makeover after Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, and Nick Rimando occupied the top three spots for over five years. But with Ethan Horvath now struggling in Belgium, there is a very good chance that the goalkeeping candidates most likely to assume the top three spots will be involved in this camp.
Zack Steffen, 22, has perhaps more to gain in January camp than any other player. He was stellar this year for Columbus and has a long history as a to youth national team goalkeeper. He could add to his impressive resume with a solid camp.
Bill Hamid, 27, should be able to attend as Denmark is on international break. He also has a big opportunity but he will also need to secure the number one spot with FC Midtjylland to have a chance to start for the U.S. team.
Alex Bono and Jesse Gonzalez are less experienced candidates. Bono arrives after winning MLS Cup with Toronto and Gonzalez has been waiting for his chance since last summer when he filed his one-time switch to leave Mexico’s program and represent the United States.
5) Walker Zimmerman
6) Justen Glad
7) Tim Parker
8) Matt Hedges
9) Ike Opara
10) Matt Polster
11) Danny Acosta
12) Brandon Vincent
13) Greg Garza
The skinny: The defense positions are pretty-well covered right now by players based abroad. John Brooks, Matt Miazga, and Cameron Carter-Vickers make up a core of central defenders. But Justen Glad is one of the better young players in the league and he could break into the mix. Walker Zimmerman also could see minutes against Bosnia and he has a top-notch aerial game.
The fullback positions are thin in MLS right now. Left back does not have many options and Greg Garza should have another chance to prove he can compete for minutes with Jorge Villafana, Eric Lichaj, or even the young Antonee Robinson on loan at Bolton. Right back should also offer Danny Acosta and Matt Polster a chance to make a case.
14) Kellyn Acosta
15) Tyler Adams
16) Cristian Roldan
17) Wil Trapp
18) Marky Delgado
19) Russell Canouse
20) Kelyn Rowe
21) Brooks Lennon
22) Paul Arriola
The skinny: Central midfield right now is absolutely stacked with young players. Weston McKennie and Jonathan Gonzalez are breakout out in Germany and Mexico, respectively. Keaton Parks could potentially earn more minutes at Benfica.
The best young domestic players on this roster on this roster also central midfielders in Tyler Adams and Kellyn Acosta. Unless they are sold to Europe before camp, their inclusions on this roster are no-brainers. Both started against Portugal in November and performed well.
Meanwhile, Marky Delgado was very impressive throughout the MLS Cup playoffs and had very good final against Seattle. Cristian Roldan also impressed throughout most of the year for Seattle.
The national team player pool is in short supply of wingers at the moment and Kelyn Rowe, Brooks Lennon, and Paul Arriola can fill that role.
23) CJ Sapong
24) Will Bruin
25) Juan Agudelo
26) Dom Dwyer
27) Jordan Morris
28) Christian Ramirez
The skinny: With the 2022 cycle essentially starting early, it would be better if there was a young core of goal scorers that could be given an opportunity here. Unfortunately for U.S. Soccer, young forwards that are worthy of a call-up don’t exist at the moment. But that is not to suggest that everything needs to be evaluated through the viewpoint of the 2022 World Cup. There is a lot of important soccer that needs to be played between now and then.
CJ Sapong, Will Bruin, Christian Ramirez, and Dom Dwyer are all in the 26-28 age range can could play a role moving forward. Sapong played well against Portugal and had 16 goals on the season. In addition, Bruin had 13 goals, Ramirez had 14 goals, and Dwyer had nine on the season. As U.S. Soccer hopes the likes of Josh Sargent and others emerge in 2018, other players now in their prime could bridge the gap.
Meanwhile, Jordan Morris missed most of the second half of 2017 with a hamstring injury and he can bring needed speed to the roster. It’s hard to believe Juan Agudelo is only 25 but at some point you have to wonder when his chances with the national team will run out.