The United States men’s national team begins a fortnight of friendlies with Monday’s 6:30 p.m. ET kickoff against Bolivia in Chester, Penn.
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Even under the tutelage of an interim manager — Dave Sarachan has yet to lose since taking the reins from Bruce Arena — these young Yanks can make statements as the USMNT looks to the 2019 Gold Cup and hopefully the 2021 Confederations Cup.
Here’s what to keep an eye on:
Bono, Hamid, or Horvath?
While Sarachan may not be around for the long-term, goalkeeping coach Matt Reis has a good chance of staying on the staff. Even if he doesn’t, the GK usage against Bolivia, Ireland, and France will say something about the unit.
The fact that Sarachan pulled Alex Bono away from Toronto FC in the middle of MLS season bodes well for his chances to see significant playing time. Bill Hamid (Midtjylland) and Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge) are terrific talents and will be going all out to earn the top spot.
The next of the uncapped gems
Eyes are understandably on Josh Sargent, but he and Bono are joined by five other uncapped players.
Most of the names have danced through the prospect radar for some time, some more than others.
Centerbacks Erik Palmer-Brown (Manchester City) and Matthew Olosunde (Manchester United) seems unlikely to get a ton of time, especially given Sarachan seems to lose track of who’s been capped and who hasn’t as the moments tick away in these friendlies.
Midfielders Keaton Parks (Benfica) and Alejandro Guido (Tijuana) are lesser known entities, and those are always intriguing for USMNT fanatics. Will these two trend toward the national team paths of Emerson Hyndman or Darlington Nagbe?
The Pulisic progress report
There’s little doubt about Christian Pulisic, but he’s officially been handed the keys to the USMNT kingdom. After an exhausting season with Borussia Dortmund and free from the shackles of most of his teammates from the World Cup qualifying failure, how will he fare with all the eyes, arms, and legs of Bolivia, Ireland, and — most interestingly — France taking aim at him.