USMNT: Young Players Look for Opportunity to Begin WCQ


The US Men’s National Team will begin their road to Russia on Friday with the first game of World Cup Qualifying against St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

For the World Cup Qualifying games, Jurgen Klinsmann has called in a younger roster than that of the CONCACAF Cup and notably excluded Clint Dempsey. A detailed look at the roster by position:

Goalkeepers: Tim Howard (Everton); Brad Guzan (Aston Villa); Bill Hamid (DC United)

Defenders: Fabian Johnson (Borussia Monchengladbach); Ventura Alvarado (Club America); Matt Miazga (New York Red Bulls); Matt Besler (Sporting KC); Geoff Cameron (Stoke City); Brek Shea (Orlando City); Tim Ream (Fulham); Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana)

Midfielders: Mix Diskerud (NYCFC); Miguel Ibarra (Club Leon); Michael Bradley (Toronto FC); Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake); Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers); DeAndre Yedlin (Sunderland); Jermaine Jones (New England Revolution)

Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC); Alan Gordon (LA Galaxy); Jordan Morris (Stanford); Bobby Wood (Union Berlin); Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)

Darlington Nagbe will finally get his chance with the USMNT after receiving citizenship and his passport earlier this year. The Timbers man has been playing more centrally for his club of late, and has been dynamic in doing so, but is naturally a winger. His touch and pace make him a prolific option in the attack, as we have seen this year in MLS. Many thought Nagbe wouldn’t get his chance until the January camp, but his inclusion in this squad lends the believe that he will earn significant playing time with no other natural left winger in the team.

Matt Miazga is another name that US fans have been excited about of late. The 20 year-old was a key part in the U-20 World Cup, apparently engaging the interest of Chelsea. With John Brooks coming off of injury, and playing with the U-23s against Brazil, Miazga could see playing time off the bench for the senior squad. He possess a great center back skill set with his size and strength, but is only 20, so he still has time to develop. He has garnered praise for his play this year with the Red Bulls, and will certainly make his case for a spot in the team going forward.

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There is no Clint Dempsey in this squad, as Klinsmann wants the younger players to “make an impression.” Now, this is not Jurgen Klinsmann telling Clint Dempsey that his time with the National Team is coming to an end, but a chance to see how the team will perform without Dempsey. The Seattle man is 32 years old, and eventually the US will have to find someone else to score goals for them.

However, he is still very capable of playing at a high level, as shown to close out the MLS season. The first two World Cup Qualifying games will be a great chance for players like Jordan Morris and Bobby Wood to take the next step, and show their ability to contribute to the offense. They will have to make their time on the pitch count.

The US will face St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Friday from St. Louis, kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 pm ET and the match will be broadcast on ESPN 2.