1. Seattle should have copied Atlanta
The January camp is an increasingly meaningless time. While Berhalter will protest the importance of setting a culture and getting a chance to view players on the international stage that he would not normally get the opportunity to, with an increasing number of U.S. players moving to European clubs, the disparity between the January camp roster and the usual rosters is only growing.
And now it seems as though MLS clubs are taking advantage of this fact. This year, Atlanta United refused the call-ups of Brad Guzan, Miles Robinson and Brooks Lennon. With the Five Stripes preparing for their CONCACAF Champions League run, their preseason starts in January, when these players would be with the USMNT. Frank de Boer wanted them in-house, and you can hardly blame them.
The Seattle Sounders took the opposite approach. Both Cristian Roldan and Jordan Morris are included in Berhalter’s squad. Roldan and Morris are integral pieces to the Sounders set-up, perhaps more so than the trio that Atlanta refused to leave. The Sounders also embark on CCL adventures in the new year. Surely Brian Schmetzer would like two of his key players in preseason training as he prepares his team for their greatest quest?
The January camp is only of decreasing importance. And so, for teams like Seattle and Atlanta, withdrawing their stars to focus on the CCL is quite justifiable. Only, the Sounders did not do it. They might come to regret that mistake.