The United States will once again test itself in Europe this month, with a pair of friendlies featuring UEFA and CONCACAF competition.
And while it won’t be a full-strength squad for head coach Gregg Berhalter since the majority of MLS players likely won’t be called, the core of this team is currently in Europe and there shouldn’t be any issues with fielding a strong Starting XI. And it makes for some very interesting choices for the national team head coach as he looks to assess depth and build a core ahead of World Cup qualifying this fall.
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A look at who could and should make up the roster for these two friendlies:
Zack Steffen, Ethan Horvath, Sean Johnson
There is no doubt that Steffen is the call as the team’s number one goalkeeper. His starts with Manchester City, albeit limited, have shown his shot-stopping ability at this level as well as improved distribution. Horvath, while not playing regularly and having a recent diagnosis of COVID-19, remains the second-best option in Europe. If healthy and cleared, he should get the call.
Johnson represents the singular call-up from MLS on this roster given the lack of depth issues at goalkeeper.
Sergino Dest, Chris Richards, John Anthony Brooks, Antonee Robinson, Reggie Cannon, Tim Ream, Kik Pierie, Mark McKenzie
The core of the backline seems to be emerging, especially with Dest’s relatively strong performances at Barcelona and Richards having a tremendous loan with Hoffenheim in Germany’s top-flite. Brooks has earned his place and Robinson, despite cooling off a bit, has shown himself a Premier League quality left back this year.
The addition of Pierre is not based on any inside information, but the Dutch defender, by way of a birth in Boston, has been solid for Twente this season. The 20-year old can play center back or on the left side and might just kick the tires on the United States this spring (he’s also eligible for Holland).
McKenzie has played well in his half season in Belgium with Anderlecht. Ream is solid, versatile and trusted.
Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie, Christian Pulisic, Gio Reyna, Timothy Weah, Yunus Musah, Brenden Aaronson, Alfredo Morales
What was the identity of this squad has fallen on hard times since the November friendlies in Europe against Wales and Panama. Pulisic has found his form flat at Chelsea and playing time scant. Reyna has seen a dip at Dortmund as well. And Musah, who looked solid in his international debut four months ago, is now being courted by England.
The good news is that McKennie continues to chug along at Juventus as has Adams with Red Bull Leipzig and Aaronson has made a splash in the Austrian Bundesliga with Red Bull Salzburg. If Musah can be convinced to commit to the United States, it’d be huge for the midfield.
It has been a while since Morales has been in camp but at just 30-years old, he could still factor into the next World Cup. He’s worth a look here.
Josh Sargent, Theoson Jordan Siebatcheu, Haji Wright, Matthew Hoppe, Daryl Dike
The inclusion of Siebatchau, who recently declared for the United States, is big for the depth at forward. Especially since his recent form with Young Boys in Europa League action against some big clubs has been nothing short of impressive.
Sargent is percolating as well with three goals in his last three Bundesliga matches. Wright is scoring for fun in Denmark this year and deserves a look. Hoppe, after a strong debut earlier this year, has tailed off a bit. Still at 19-years old (for two more days at least), his exploits deserve a call into camp.
The inclusion of Dike speaks for itself given his form on loan in the Championship with Barnsley.