With a new United States men’s national team coach set to be appointed and Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, and Nick Rimando all on the back end of their time with the USMNT, Hamid has to look at himself as competing with Ethan Horvath and any number of young prospects.
Horvath is 22 and starting for Club Brugge. If their season continues on its pace, he’ll have a Belgian title and a Norwegian title under his belt.
U-20 players Jonathan Klinsmann (Hertha Berlin), Brady Scott (Koln), and Justin Vom Steeg (Fortuna Dusseldorf) are in German systems, while U-17 World Cup starters CJ dos Santos is at Benfica.
Age when making European debut and club Tim Howard, 24, Manchester United Brad Friedel, 23, Newcastle United
Brad Guzan, 23, Aston Villa
Kasey Keller, 23, Millwall
Tony Meola, 21, Brighton and Hove Albion
Ethan Horvath, 19, Molde
Bruce Arena is out, and the United States men’s national team could look very different the next time a ball is kicked by the men in red, white, and blue.
Tab Ramos is expected to take over on an interim basis, or at least be the prime candidate, before the Yanks play November friendlies in Europe next month (President Sunil Gulati said one is confirmed, and the second shouldbe overseas).
Those will be the first of many friendlies, as the U.S. is not scheduled to play serious competitions until the Copa America and Gold Cup in the Summer of 2019. That’s what happens when you miss a World Cup, something that American soccer hasn’t experienced since the mid-1980s.
The U.S. could assemble a summer tournament this summer, but the twin tourneys in 2019 mean it has plenty of time to experiment seriously in search of a huge depth pool needed for a wild couple months.
That Gold Cup will be an important ask of the team’s depth, too, and it will be interesting to see how a new manager prioritizes his roster considering a title is needed to clinch a place in the 2021 Confederations Cup and avoid another CONCACAF Cup playoff.
Considering the wealth of promising domestic and overseas U-20 prospects and the fact that the United States has used more than 75 players in recent history, just about anything is possible for Ramos (or whoever takes over).
November’s call-ups are especially tricky. For one thing, they are in Europe and could be against very good competition as sides angle for form before the World Cup. Expect it to be heavily-based in overseas players and a sprinkling of MLS players who have been eliminated from the postseason.
The second legs of the MLS Conference semifinals will be held Nov. 5, one day before the international break. While we suppose Toronto FC leaders Michael Bradley or Jozy Altidore could set some sort of standard by demanding to be part of the phoenix rising from these disastrous Hex ashes, but it’s almost certain the following USMNT mainstays will have played in those Nov. 5 matches and will not be heading to Europe: Bradley, Altidore, Matt Besler, and Graham Zusi. Based on current seeding, the Americans will also be without Clint Dempsey, Dax McCarty, and Darlington Nagbe.
It seems likely guys like Christian Pulisic and Geoff Cameron will get a break, though there could also be “farewells” for some of the old guard (this seems more of a January thing given the MLS Playoffs).
We imagine guys like Alejandro Bedoya, Tim Ream, and Bobby Wood are going to be called in to help show guys the ropes
Hopefully, young Schalke star Weston McKennie is back from his thigh injury and fit for 90. Might U-17 and U-20 World Cup star Josh Sargent get a chance to dip his toes into an international break?
We’ll let you build you lineups from this corps, also expecting some surprises, and we’ll probably wind up going down a rabbit hole to build some of our own.
Who are we missing? Hit us up with your names, thoughts, and XIs in the comment section.
MLS-based, will miss playoffs, called up in October:Tim Howard, Alejandro Bedoya, Paul Arriola, Gyasi Zardes.
MLS-based, will miss playoffs, called up in last year: Bill Hamid, Joe Bendik, Brian Rowe, Steve Birnbaum, Jonathan Spector, Taylor Kemp, Keegan Roseberry, Chris Pontius, Kelyn Rowe, Jermaine Jones, Juan Agudelo, Dom Dwyer, CJ Sapong, Alan Gordon.
Europe- or Mexico-based, called up in October: Bobby Wood, DeAndre Yedlin, Omar Gonzalez, Tim Ream, Jorge Villafana, Geoff Cameron, Christian Pulisic, Michael Orozco.
Europe- or Mexico-based, called up in last year: Ethan Horvath, William Yarbrough, Eric Lichaj, Matt Miazga, John Brooks (injured), Timothy Chandler, Fabian Johnson, Joe Corona, Kenny Saief (injured), Lynden Gooch, Julian Green, Caleb Stanko, Aron Johannsson.
MLS-based, will miss playoffs, not called up in last year: Christian Ramirez, Miguel Ibarra, Lee Nguyen, Ethan Finlay, Tommy Redding, Patrick Mullins, Russell Canouse, Derrick Jones, Andrew Farrell, Kyle Fisher, Chris Tierney.
After the United States missed qualification for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, there’s been plenty of talk regarding who to blame, who should resign, and who should take over at key areas in management of the organization.
What there hasn’t been as much of is responsibility given to – or taken by – players who were on the field at the time of the disaster. There has been little from players, aside from their postgame media responsibilities, which admittedly couldn’t have been easy.
And there’s been little in terms of deserved criticism for failing to deliver on so many occasions.
Jozy Altidore posted an apology on social media, saying “I’m so sorry we let you down.” Omar Gonzalez told media it was “one of the worst days of my life.” Tim Howard spoke about how teams sit back and defend against an ever-frustrated Stars & Stripes.
One player who has received plenty of criticism in the years since the 2014 World Cup is Michael Bradley. The United States captain has persevered through it all, but has been since unable to recapture his form leading up to that tournament, instead becoming a polarizing figure in the USMNT midfield. Ever-present, fans have never been able to agree on his best position, his most useful skill, or the merits of his place in the team. Yet he has continued to wear the captain’s armband as one of the most experienced players in the squad.
The time has come for him to relinquish that duty.
Following the debacle in Trinidad & Tobago, Michael Bradley’s ability to perform the duties befitting of a captain have waned to the point of deprivation. The U.S. performance in Couva was so devoid of inspiration, so lacking in effort, so bankrupt of industry that it can no longer be assumed that anyone in a position of leadership in US Soccer has the ability to motivate in any sense of the concept.
The primary duties of a captain involve being a leader for the rest of the squad. Being a leader includes providing the team with the inspiration to succeed and having a mastery of soccer comprehension to marshall the troops on the field at times when the manager is either unable to or incapable of, such as when time is short and the players need to take it upon themselves to push forward and put the opponent under pressure.
While Bradley has a resume stuffed with successes as national team captain, judging by the performance not only across the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying landcsape, but even just focused solely on the game Tuesday night. The shocking, stunning, and infuriating lack of effort as the clock ticked towards impending doom was so unbelievable, so outrageously mind-boggling that it can only be concluded that Bradley is no longer capable of rallying the troops in times of need. Because if he can’t get himself and his team to play at 110% with the World Cup on the line, what other motivation could one possibly conjure up to provide a spark?
But don’t take my word for it…
Already down 1-0, and on the brink of being eliminated from the World Cup, this is the effort that was displayed leading to goal #2. #USMNTpic.twitter.com/J9ZuMuz2nX
Even Peter Vermes, new (slight) favorite to take over as USMNT manager, conceded starkly that the team “didn’t have the intensity, didn’t have the desire, the hunger, the fight” required to earn an admittedly straightforward result.
Sure, some of that – no, much of that – lies at the feet of the national team manager Bruce Arena, who failed to motivate his players enough to even earn a point against an inferior opponent. But Bruce has (rightfully) received plenty of criticism from the media and fans, to the point where it’s generally assumed his short second stint as USMNT boss is all but over.
No, the players are just as culpable for the debacle sustained over the last two years, and Michael Bradley, as the man charged as the clubhouse leader by way of the little velcro wrap over his arm, should take the most symbolic fall. It’s just part of the job.
This is not to say Bradley’s role on the team is over, not by a longshot. He is still an important player to this group, and has a few years more in the tank as an international-caliber player. But only one player showed the desire, the hunger, the fight befitting of a national team captain the other night. Shockingly, that player is just 19 years old.
Christian Pulisic, the boy wonder from Borussia Dortmund, left his heart on the Ato Boldon Stadium field Tuesday night. He tried time and time again to not just do the work himself, but to rally the troops to join him in his one-man charge to the World Cup. Nobody joined him in the cause, but that didn’t stop the attacker from giving the game his all. While Bradley was distributing square passes and barely jogging to retrieve the ball for a corner with seconds left, Pulisic ran circles around the Soca Warriors midfield and charged at the opposing back line, leaving his emotions on his sleeve.
I know it’s wild, I know it’s unprecedented, and I know it’s radical, but there’s only one man who walked the walk of a captain on Tuesday night, and that was Christian Pulisic. And that’s why the 19-year-old should be given the armband with immediate effect. The FIFA Golden Boy candidate isn’t just the best player on the team, he’s the biggest leader by example. It would probably cause a ripple or two in the locker room, at the least, but worldwide respect for his game has already been expressed, and with years until the next World Cup qualifying campaign, Pulisic would have time to not only grow into the role but earn the respect and understanding of his peers. Why not give it straight to him?
The aftermath of the 2018 World Cup failures in the United States will likely claim many scalps, and Michael Bradley should be one of them.
“That’s just reality. That’s on us.” Bradley’s own words from immediately after the United States missed its first World Cup since 1986.
Pro Soccer Talk understands that Cameron, 32, held talks with Bruce Arena at the start of the international break where he was told he was not fit enough to play and Omar Gonzalez would be playing ahead of him. End of discussion.
Cameron was, understandably, frustrated with the decision after working his way back to full fitness (after two weeks out with a hamstring injury he suffered against Manchester United in mid-September) and proving his sharpness for Stoke in the Premier League.
Asked for a comment by Pro Soccer Talk, Cameron didn’t want to get too involved in the debate over why he wasn’t used by Arena: “This is not the time for me to get involved in this discussion. It is for someone else to explain why.”
#USMNT line-up thoughts – if Geoff Cameron is healthy (played 90min vs So’ton at weekend) He should be starting. Bad vs CR but is a gamer.
No other center back in the current U.S. squad had more caps than Cameron heading into the last international break and his experience could have made a huge difference.
Shown on TV sitting off to the side of the U.S. bench next to drinks cooler at the archaic Ato Boldon Stadium as the USA’s World Cup hopes faded late on against Trinidad and Tobago, Cameron’s blank expression said it all. He was resigned to watching on in the USMNT’s moment of need.
The former Houston Dynamo star is said to have accepted the decision but it remains a bizarre one. Particularly when analyzed after the fact that Gonzalez scored a horrendous own goal in the defeat at T&T, plus the U.S. defense was generally shaky in both of their final two CONCACAF 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
Arena could have brought in Cameron in place of Gonzalez (who played for Arena at the LA Galaxy in their 2011, 2012 and 2014 MLS Cup winning teams) or even gone with three at the back at T&T in the Hex finale where a point would have been enough to take them through to the World Cup.
Pro Soccer Talk understands the squad has since questioned the tactics from the manager to go gung-ho with the same starting lineup just four days after beating Panama in a draining must-win situation in Orlando. Playing a diamond in midfield and not giving Michael Bradley extra help to protect a shaky back four is also said to have particularly frustrated several members of the USMNT.
When it comes to Cameron’s omission, this is all rather confusing.
Before the international break had even started, and Cameron had even got back on the pitch for Stoke City, Arena confirmed the center back would be in his squad for the crucial games no matter what.
Arena then made a point of calling out his two center backs against T&T, Gonzalez and Matt Besler, in his most specific criticism of the team shortly after their shocking defeat.
“Our center backs were not confident enough with the ball, and often in the first half we were really playing eight against 10 because we needed to carry the ball and bring a player to the ball and move it a little bit quicker,” Arena said.
Cameron is, no doubt, the USA’s best ball-playing defender. Composure on the ball is what he is know for.
So much so that he often excels in central midfield for Stoke City and did so markedly at the end of last season where he won several Man of the Match awards against Chelsea and Liverpool in home games for the Potters. Of outfield USMNT players, only Clint Dempsey has played in more Premier League games all-time than Cameron and he signed a new deal with Stoke last May as he’s now in his sixth-season with the club and hugely valued by Mark Hughes and the Potters’ fans.
There is no doubt Cameron has had some tough times for the U.S. with his display alongside Tim Ream in the USA’s defeat to Costa Rica in September heavily criticized, even if his own mistake came late in the game with the match already lost, but he did come off the bench and played a big part in the U.S. grabbing a point at Honduras a few days later to prove that the Costa Rica performance was just a blip.
Omar own goal, then should've given a PK… if ONLY there was a regular mid-table Premier League CB on the roster… #USMNT
He has also put in sublime defensive performances for the U.S. in recent years with one of the best-ever displays from a U.S. player at the Estadio Azteca back in the summer as he held the USMNT’s defense together as they clinched a point at Mexico in a World Cup qualifier. Not to mention his display, and goal, in the 2015 CONCACAF Cup for a spot at the Confederations Cup and his rock-solid partnership with John Brooks in the USA’s run to the 2016 Copa America Centernario semifinals.
All of this adds up to why serious questions should be asked about Arena not starting one of his key players in the USA’s biggest two games of the past three years.
Will Cameron suit up for the USMNT again?
It remains to be seen what lies in store for him and many other U.S. national team veterans such as Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard but the road appears to be coming to an end for most. A friendly game on home soil could perhaps be scheduled next month during the November international break for them to say farewell as they retire from international duty.
As we continue to dissect the decisions on the pitch which cost the U.S. a World Cup spot for the first time since 1986, Arena’s bizarre decision to omit Cameron will be seen as one of the key reasons they didn’t make it to Russia 2018.
Not even 24 hours removed from one of the darkest days in recent U.S. Men’s National team history, and while many sensible supporters recognize the deep-lying issues amongst the American soccer culture a resounding theme for others has been quite the contrary.
Just a word of advice, which is nothing groundbreaking on my end.
Avoid Twitter and other social media platforms at all costs after a brutal loss, like the one we all witnessed on Tuesday night. It only causes emotional distress for all parties involved.
While reading through my Twitter timeline — which is the exact opposite thing I should have been doing — the sentiments popping up, for the most part, were what I fully expected. It was one of disappointment, anger and a little nausea.
However, others in the U.S. soccer community began writing about how the USMNT deserves to be in Russia next summer more so than Panama or Honduras and in an even more comical twist that President Donald Trump is at fault for the Americans’ shortcomings.
I’m certainly not naive enough to believe either of those two sentiments personally, however, it’s become quite clear that the former argument is a resounding theme in the minds of many in the American soccer community.
Over the years there has become a growing sense of entitlement amongst U.S. supporters, and to some degree it’s understandable. The 2018 World Cup cycle will be the first time the Americans haven’t reached the game’s biggest tournament since 1986.
To put that into perspective, 1986 saw Ronald Reagan as president of the United States, Mike Tyson won his first boxing world title and college basketball adopted the three-point line.
Simply put, it’s a long time.
In fact, prior to next summer’s tournament, the USMNT had qualified for seven consecutive trips to the World Cup — which was actually a longer run than Mexico. El Tri were banned from the competition in 1990 for fielding ineligible players during the lead up to the competition.
Does that honestly mean that the World Cup is some sort of right of passage for the Americans though? Because it shouldn’t be.
Yes, the U.S. has made countless strides throughout the years to enhance its standing and perception within the global soccer community, but this is also the classic case of “what have you done for me lately?”
Like other sports and areas of life, it’s about what you earn instead of what you’ve been handed out. It’s absolutely absurd to honestly state that past performances should dictate whether or not the USMNT should be playing in Russia next year.
This team simply wasn’t good enough to qualify, and over 10 matches during the Hexagonal, that truth came bursting out.
Veteran players like Michael Bradley, Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey obviously have played massive roles in the past for the USMNT, and deserve credit for their service, but those three and the rest of the squad know that they needed to be better on Tuesday and throughout their qualifying campaign.
That’s not a knock on just the players though. The word “systemic” has been brought up for some time now, and that’s referring to the broader issues within U.S. Soccer that go above and beyond simply the selection of players.
To use another example, look at Brazil at the last World Cup. The Selecao are a perennial power in soccer, and have been for decades. The Brazilians were handed a humbling for the ages by Germany in the semifinals, before being thumped by Holland once again in the third-place match in front of their home crowd.