With a pair of friendlies as rugged as the United States men’s national team’s scoreless draw with Serbia’s B-Team and 1-0 win over Jamaica, it’s difficult to judge who passed muster.
PST’s Matt Reed picked four players he felt improved their stock during the friendlies, and it’s difficult to disagree with at least three if not all of them (I thought Benny Feilhaber was fine but benefited from how many critics wanted him to shove it in Jurgen Klinsmann’s face).
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Now Bruce Arena turns his attention to pivotal World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and away to Panama in late March.
There are some big questions for Arena, perhaps none bigger than the one between the sticks. Tim Howard isn’t returning to training until March 4, and Brad Guzan is playing second fiddle to Victor Valdes at Middlesbrough. Nick Rimando started the Serbia friendly, while Luis Robles and David Bingham split the second game. Ethan Horvath and William Yarbrough also would like to hear their names called.
While it was great to see Chad Marshall get a look in the red, white, and blue, it’s unlikely he injected himself into the center back discussion with John Brooks, Geoff Cameron (assuming a return to health), Omar Gonzalez, and camp star Walker Zimmerman.
As for center mid, did Feilhaber do enough to move into the mix? Sebastian Lletget looked very good and Dax McCarty showed well. Toss in a nice night for Sacha Kljestan against Serbia, and the midfield is really crowded.
Theoretical 26-man call-up for March WCQs
Goalkeepers (4): Brad Guzan, Luis Robles, Nick Rimando, Ethan Horvath
Midfielders (9): Christian Pulisic, Sacha Kljestan, Jermaine Jones, Michael Bradley, Alejandro Bedoya, Dax McCarty, Sebastian Lletget, Darlington Nagbe, Benny Feilhaber.
Forwards (4): Jozy Altidore, Bobby Wood, Jordan Morris, Gyasi Zardes
BONUS: An XI
Yedlin — Cameron — Brooks — Johnson
Bradley — (McCarty – Gm1; Jones – Gm2)
Wood — Kljestan — Pulisic