Chicago– The USMNT has released its roster for their upcoming friendly with Portlugal in Leiria. The 21 man squad will be coached by interim head coach, and longtime Bruce Arena assistant, Dave Sarachan.
USMNT Announces 21 Man Roster for Friendly with Portugal
The roster seems to be a mix of youth and a few veterans that are not in significant European play, or MLS playoffs at the moment. There is also a good balance of MLS and European based players. One of the biggest surprises might be the inclusion of 17 year old Josh Sargent. Here is the rest of the 21 man roster Sarachan has called in:
Goalkeepers (3): Jesse Gonzalez (FC Dallas), Bill Hamid (Midtjylland/DEN), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge/BEL)
Defenders (7): John Brooks (Wolfsburg/GER), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Sheffield United/ENG), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest/ENG), Matt Miazga (Vitesse/NED), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna/MEX), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United/ENG)
Midfielders (7): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Lynden Gooch (Sunderland/ENG), Weston McKennie (Schalke/GER), Kelyn Rowe (New England Revolution), Danny Williams (Huddersfield Town)
Forwards (4): Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution), Dom Dwyer (Orlando City SC), C.J. Sapong (Philadelphia Union), Josh Sargent (St. Louis Scott Gallagher)
There are plenty of positives in this USMNT roster. Obviously the inclusion of the young blood in Miazga, Carter-Vickers, McKennie and Sargent is a positive. Most within the US Youth Soccer Support cult haven’t gotten a great look at Weston McKennie. There are conflicting opinions as to whether or not Tab Ramos actually tried to call in McKennie for the U-20 World Cup, or if Schalke denied his attempt to call him up while he and Haji Wright due to their involvement in a run to the finals of the German Youth Cup.
Along with McKennie and Sargent, Matt Miazga had a nice second half of the year on loan with Vitesse, and looked good in his time during the gold cup. When multiple center-back injuries took place, Miazga didn’t even get a thought of a call-up during the run-in of the World Cup Qualifiers. To see him back is a really good thing. Throw in the return of Horvath and Bill Hamid, it’s nice to see players who got cast aside for the sake of trying to make a world cup, back in the fold.
The youth of the squad is an overall talking point as well. More than half the roster is younger than 24 years old, including four of them under the age of 20.
The negatives of this may be the fact that nearly none of these players have any experience playing with each other. Dwyer and Sapong have some sort of small rapport playing with each other back in their Sporting KC days, but throwing Kellyn Acosta and Danny Williams together may be quite interesting. It’s also surprising that, considering the youth movement direction, Erik Palmer-Brown was left off the roster. The US U-20 Captain was left out of the roster after getting some good time with Sporting KC, and his move to Manchester City looming this winter.
A Starting XI I’d LOVE to See
While there is plenty of youth in this, it’s hard to complain about them not playing together. Plenty of folks called for youth in the roster, then in turn complained when there was not a whole lot of experience together. So let’s have perspective: this is a friendly that doesn’t count for anything. This game, as much as any other friendly is not an indictment of the USMNT and where they are at. That’s what the World Cup is for, and we won’t see that until 2022.
Now is a time to take stock, evaluate, and prep for the Gold Cup, and 2022 World Cup Qualifying cycle. This is how you do it. You have to create that experience together, and that’s what this will help do. So sit back and relax. Who cares if they lose this game? Who cares if they win? It’s a long process going forward, so get ready. This is how you hit the factory reset button on a national Soccer Team.