There isn’t much to argue about with the United States national team roster announced on Thursday by head coach Gregg Berhalter for September’s World Cup qualifiers. It is a solid and versatile roster for sure.
“We have spent the last two years building the foundation and culture of the team for this moment,” Berhalter said in a statement released by United States Soccer.
“World Cup Qualifying is a grueling challenge that demands a complete group effort in order to be successful. We are confident in our ability to respond to the challenges that are presented along the way.”
Berhalter has built a deep United States national team roster over the summer’s successes, which include winning both the Nations League and the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
What to make of the United States national team roster
What to like:
- Ricardo Pepi getting called in is big for the future of this program (and a day after the MLS All-Star Game to boot). The FC Dallas forward is also eligible for Mexico and this is a big step for Pepi’s international future. The 18-year old has nine goals in 20 matches played this year. For a Untied States national team still looking for answers up top, Pepi is an intriguing player to throw in the mix.
- The success stories from the Gold Cup such as Matt Turner, Miles Robinson and Walker Zimmerman all get called up. Zimmerman was injured in the group stage but he (along with Robinson) are likely to get starts in qualifiers alongside Brooks. There is a pathway to big matches for these MLS players as Berhalter has slowly brought along the MLS talent in this pool and integrated them into a European-heavy squad.
- The squad is balanced, with a nice mix of European players and those starring in MLS. The side still skews a bit young but the presence of leaders such as Tim Ream help to balance this squad.
What not to like:
(Truthfully, not much but that wouldn’t be an interesting read now would it?)
- Given his uncertain club status, the lack of Matthew Hoppe, especially after his tremendous showing in the Gold Cup, was probably the biggest surprise of this roster. He could have added something off the bench for sure.
- Fresh off signing with Venezia in the Serie A in early August, Gianluca Busio showed some flashes in the Gold Cup and made enough of an argument to be part of this roster. He would have been a nice piece in the midfield for depth.
- Reggie Cannon has been solid over the past two years for Berhalter and was left off the squad. Shaq Moore was tremendous in the Gold Cup and wasn’t a pick here. Leaving both players off this roster was quite the surprise.
- One player that would have been nice and welcome is New York Red Bulls attacker Caden Clark, who could have been a nice late game substitute for Berhalter if the team is chasing a result. Clark has a nose for goal and is tremendous in pressing.