USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter has announced 20 MLS players vying to be a part of November’s decisive CONCACAF Nations League group stage matches versus Canada and Cuba.
The group will train Nov. 2-9 before being pared down, eventually joined by European-based players as well as several Toronto FC and Seattle Sounders players following the MLS Cup on Nov. 10.
[ MORE: Berhalter calls up 20 ]
Berhalter’s had a pretty notable week, earning the loyalty of Sergino Dest and apologizing to away supporters for his ignorance following October’s embarrassing loss in Canada.
It’s important to note that, knock on wood, Berhalter is going to have as rich selection of players as he’s had in some time with Dest in the fold and John Brooks returning to fitness.
We’re getting to the point, finally, when playing first team minutes for your club is no longer enough because there are so many players who qualify. Even without Adams and the injured Tim Weah, there is a legit 18 that can be formed without including a single domestic-based player*.
Here are the biggest questions to be answered when the rest of the call-ups come:
- Is the camp injury that cost Miles Robinson his Atlanta United playoff run enough to further limit his participation?
- Will Richie Ledezma, the teenage playmaker who made his first game day for PSV Eindhoven and is also eligible to represent Mexico, get cap-tied early? If Berhalter is comfortable in his job, there’s no reason not to take a look.
- Can New England’s Matt Turner impress enough to knock Sean Johnson or Brad Guzan from the final squad once Zack Steffen is added, and is there another European goalkeeper on Berhalter’s radar?
- Will Chase Gasper impress enough to knock Daniel Lovitz down the left back pecking order? Moreover, which defenders will get squeezed by the additions of Dest and Brooks? And is there room for Antonee Robinson?
- Could Tyler Boyd’s relegation to thrice unused sub for Besiktas open up a spot in the forward corps?
- Might Tyler Adams get a call-up even if he’s not fit to play a significant role? Same for Jozy Altidore?
Predicted USMNT roster
Goalkeepers (3): Zack Steffen (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Brad Guzan (Atlanta United), Sean Johnson (New York City FC)
Defenders (8): DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United), John Brooks (Wolfsburg), Matt Miazga (Reading), Sergino Dest (Ajax), Tim Ream (Fulham), Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC)
Midfielders (8): Weston McKennie (Schalke), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Alfredo Morales (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC).
Forwards (7): Tyler Boyd (Besiktas), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen), Paul Arriola (D.C. United), Corey Baird (Real Salt Lake), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew), Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC).
Spurned: Antonee Robinson (Wigan Athletic), Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Stoke City), Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas), Duane Holmes (Derby County), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew), Omar Gonzalez (Toronto FC)
*Here is an example of an 18 that does not include any MLS players, and I’m not saying this is the best 18 at all, as at least Jordan Morris, Jozy Altidore, and Sebastien Lletget all fit the bill for any 18: Zack Steffen, Ethan Horvath, DeAndre Yedlin, Sergino Dest, John Brooks, Matt Miazga, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Tim Ream, Antonee Robinson, Weston McKennie, Alfredo Morales, Julian Green, Duane Holmes, Lynden Gooch, Richie Ledezma, Christian Pulisic, Tyler Boyd, Josh Sargent.