It is widely expected that Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie and Gio Reyna will all line up for the USMNT against Wales on Thursday, and that is a huge glimpse into the future for the U.S. men’s national team.
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Christian Pulisic will not feature for the USMNT as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury, but Gregg Berhalter will at least have a midfield trio which will likely be at the heart of the Stars and Stripes for the next 10 years.
When Pulisic is fit the USMNT will have players from Chelsea, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus and RB Leipzig as their core midfielders. Think about that.
Asked by ProSoccerTalk about the excitement of the duo of Adams and McKennie finally playing in midfield together against Wales (Adams has only played once so far for Berhalter due to injury), the USMNT head coach admitted he is looking forward to seeing it.
“They’re getting used to each other and it has been fun having them both in camp,” Berhalter said. “Tyler is an absolute professional. It is always great to work with him. Weston brings a personality with him, a magnetic personality. The guys are all laughing and all waiting for every word he says. He is a fun guy as well. For us, it is going to be about how do we put that on the field tomorrow. We are looking forward to seeing that. They are both quality players and we are looking forward to seeing them on the field together.”
So, that just about confirms that McKennie and Adams will line up together as the two central midfielders. On paper, these two are perfectly suited to play alongside one another. Adams is slightly more defensive but both can get up and down the pitch and they should dovetail really well.
McKennie admitted that the majority of this USMNT squad not playing together for 12 months due to the pandemic has been a little frustrating, and so too is Pulisic being out injured so they can’t complete the dream quartet of talented midfielders.
“It is not only frustrating for the fans and you guys as well. It is frustrating for us,” McKennie said. “We really want to be on the same field and play at the same time. It hasn’t been that way in the past. Tyler had a really long injury. Christian has been unlucky with his recent injuries and just in the past as well. I missed a camp as well. It is something we are still looking forward to and definitely fighting towards to be able to accomplish, hopefully sooner rather than later.
“We know we have a chemistry and understanding of how we play and how each of us contributes and play off of each other so that is what makes it nerve-wracking for us because we know we could possibly have a really good connection on the field as well. I think Christian and me displayed a little bit of our connection that we’ve build and that we had in the Gold Cup and now we are just waiting and hopefully we can get us all on the field at the same time. That way we can all see how good the connection is and hopefully pull out some wins with the whole team and play off each other.”
As for the No. 10 position ahead of Adams and McKennie, 17-year-old Gio Reyna is the next big thing in American soccer and is expected to line up there against Wales.
Following in the footsteps of his USMNT legend of a father Claudio, the Dortmund playmaker admitted his dad still gives him tips after every game, about his own game, and that his parents (who are both with him in Germany right now) are supporting his meteoric rise.
As well as seeing Reyna, McKennie and Adams play together for the USMNT, one of the other interesting things about this national team camp is that the likes of Sebastian Soto, Yunus Musah and Nicholas Gioacchini are all dual nationals who are contemplating committing their future to the U.S.
Reyna is eligible to play for England through birth but has already said he is fully-focused on playing for the USMNT.
ProSoccerTalk asked him what he thought about Tyler Adams’ comments that dual nationals must feel American to play for this USMNT side.
“It is really their decision. You saw Sergino [Dest] take the decision and he even missed a camp for that, I think. It is not going to be an immediate decision. It is going to take some time,” Reyna said. “Like Tyler said, it is really about if they feel American or not and if they are willing to give 100 percent effort for America. Hopefully we can get some of them on to our side.”
With Reyna, Pulisic, McKennie and Adams now leading the charge, it’s tough to see why any youngster would think that playing for the USMNT wouldn’t be a good decision for their future.
Against Wales on Thursday, three of that star quartet will showcase exactly what that future will look like for the USMNT.