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Christian Pulisic, Josh Sargent to headline ‘blend’ of USMNT players called in this summer


We know two young stars that will join the U.S. Men’s National Team for an upcoming friendly against Bolivia as Dave Sarachan offered a little bit of insight into the upcoming roster.

The interim USMNT manager says Christian Pulisic and Josh Sargent will join the USMNT for what is expected to be a busy summer. The U.S. is set to take on Bolivia on May 28 before facing Ireland and France in European-based matches on June 2 and 9, respectively.

Sarachan says there will need to be balance, and it remains to be seen how long Pulisic in particular will be with the team ahead of a busy U.S.-based preseason with Borussia Dortmund. Because of that, Sarachan expects a number of players to be rotated in and out during the upcoming slate of games.

“Christian Pulisic is going to be a part of the game here against Bolivia,” Sarachan said on Wednesday. “We’re excited to have Christian back with us and we’re hopeful to have a lot of familiar faces based in Europe here as well. We’re still sort of formulating what makes sense in terms of balance between MLS players and European-based players.

“For our match against Bolivia, it would maybe be slightly tipped with more MLS players and when we go to Europe it would be more tipped to European-based players, but it will be a blend.”

Sargent is expected to be a part of at least more than one match as Sarachan looks to integrate the young Werder Bremen forward. The young forward has yet to play a professional minute with the Bundesliga club, but has featured prominently for the club’s youth teams.

While Europe’s age rules prevented Sargent from playing earlier, Sarachan doesn’t want to see the forward punished for his age. Sarachan says Sargent is in a situation like Timothy Weah, who joined the U.S. for their last friendly, a win over Paraguay. Neither has truly broken through on the professional stage, but both have shown the ability to play at a high level with the youth national teams and with their respective clubs.

“There’s old school thinking that he’s gotta earn his way,” Sarachan said of Sargent. “To be fair to Josh, because of the rules and when he turned 18, he wasn’t eligible to play at Werder Bremen so he’s had to train and play some friendlies and so forth. I don’t think a guy should be punished because of that and it’s hard to evaluate where he is.

“Josh, I’m planning to bring in for these games and I’m going to really watch him. I was over there a week ago visiting him and a few other players in Belgium and Germany and I think clearly he’s demonstrated at the levels he’s played at that he’s got a real chance, but the national team is another big jump and I don’t think he should not be given that opportunity if I feel, and I do feel, if he’s got a chance to maybe grow from an experience like that.”

Overall, expect young players to return to focus. Sarachan mentioned Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie and Matt Miazga as players that would likely be involved in the World Cup this summer if the U.S. was going, and it is expected that the trio will be involved depending on their club situations.

Sarachan also says you can expect to see several other players from the Paragauy friendly return as the U.S. looks to continue to integrate a handful of new faces before a permanent coach is hired.

“I’ve said this to several people who have asked… there were some familiar faces that continued to show well,” Sarachan said. “I don’t specifically want to throw out a name or two because I’ll leave someone out, but I’ll tell you everyone we brought to Cary belonged there. When we were finished and I did a little bit evaluating, I didn’t come up with any names and say ‘Next time I don’t think this kid belongs’.

“I want to be cognizant and be fair to certain clubs with MLS. To have one player for all the games mean they would miss up to four MLS games. It’s a delicate balance in terms of building a roster with European and MLS players.”


  1. Really need seriously some friendlies for the Summer. USNT need start developing young partners for the attack & midfield.

  2. I guess it is great sport to try to impress everyone on here with how much more you know about soccer than any of the USMNT coaches. I am guessing it is pure vanity on the commenters’ parts.

    I really doubt any commenter here has a deeper knowledge about the club situation of all the potential USMNT players or has a better sense of what those players need to help them move along.

    Sure we all have opinions, and sometimes they are born out, but mostly not. The negativity here often arises from the commenters poor comprehension of what was in the article or what was not. Or the commenters don’t even bother to read the article as they rush to be first to get their pet theories out.

    It is always risky to say that any teenager is clearly better than another since while it may be true today, when they are in their 20s it will likely change. All a coach, any coach, can do is try to put young players in positions in which they can succeed. That may very well not be in an international or professional soccer match against adults.

    • My point is different, it’s that he is the interim coach and to me their job — particularly at this stage of the cycle where we have nothing at stake and many kids to evaluate — is to figure out who we can try and then throw them on the field and see what happens. You are not the full time guy so you shouldn’t be playing to win, playing favorites, developing a doghouse, or otherwise acting like The Guy. Your job is to create tape for The Guy to watch and assess. If you play to win you are not helping. If you make two subs you aren’t helping. If you get a little ego and control issues about your roster power, you aren’t helping. But unless you are a Pulisic world beater or a complete black hole of suckage, it’s the next coach’s job to figure out if you’re a keeper, a favorite, fit the scheme. To me if Sarachan does anything more than run low-judgment tryout camps and field 18 players for decent minutes, with some light coaching in the sense of sufficient practice and game management, he is not serving our need to churn the last cycle out of existence.

      • Totally disagree. Along the lines of John Wooden’s comment “If you want to win, get good horses and don’t hurt them”.

        Throwing kids into matches where they would flounder is hurting them and it would certainly damage their chances of getting called in later.

        If they cannot get minutes on a professional team now, that speaks volumes about their readiness for an international match, much more than all the comments here that go something like” He is really good, much better than ___ and I want to see him.”

        As if whoever is finally the coach won’t have ample opportunity to see the player later on. After all it is quite some time before the US will play a real match.

      • IV – What good would 10 or 15 minutes of “tape” in a ragged game done for a new coach. It would have been worthless and only ruined the game and the remaining bit of “tape” that the other players were putting down.

      • IV: On the play your subs I agree with you, there really was no reason to use so few subs against Paraguay (unless A: those unused guys had been bad in training which Sarachan said they weren’t or B: they had slight injuries and it was best to rest them in a meaningless game). However, as I said above you are completely misreading his comments he said he is doing exactly the opposite of what you said. He’s not playing favorites or putting people in the doghouse, and he’s used several different formations to get the players on the pitch not implementing a system.

  3. Dave the fool still ignores Andrew Carleton. Sombody send him to the doctor to have his head untucked.

    As long as its a young roster. No Jozy, Bradley, Dempsey or any of the aging goalies. He should watch Carleton though. Hes in a bad situation in Atlanta and it in no way indicates his ability. He stood out more than Sargent in the WC they were both in

    • Soccer Nut, does the name say it all?

      We love Andrew in the “A”! He loves being there … Kid is gonna be a star BUT he has got to earn the minutes He above all the other young American prospects in MLS has a seriously professional development path ahead of him. He’s got a great coach who is cheering for him, A tremendous system and High Quality pros all around him pushing him each day. You earn the right to play by beating out Kratz, and McCann to be the 1st sub off the bench, Then you earn teh right to play by moving Tito, Nagbe, Gressell, Barco or Almiron to the bench because you out-work, out-hustle, out-last and OUT-PERFORM your competition.

      He is close
      He is really close
      But he ain’t there yet…

      You better believe Kratz is on notice though 😉

  4. in mls history, there were numerous examples i think of interim coaches who took charge of the team as if they had already earned it and worked so hard and did such a good job that later upper management decided to remov the ‘interim tag’ as they call it and make the interim coach their new head coach (Mike petke? Ben olsen? Brian schmetzer? us coach Bob bradley?)

    i think this has happened so many times in mls that it has become almost like a respected alternative career path in mls, yes?

    conversely, i can’t seem to recall one example of an interim coach who said, “i’m just temporary, so i’m just going to coach practices and fill out line up sheets.”

    i think it’s natural to want to “own” your job and not do it half way as rob said, so if this is what sarachan is doing it doesn’t offend me, but i also get imperative’s point that maybe in this case sarachan should hold back a if we’re all pretty sure the new gm will not choose him.

    • My point is that unless Sarachan is The Guy I don’t care what he thinks of the players, or how they fit in Sarachan’s formation. The new coach may field a different formation, may think about players differently, and more nit-pick, but sometimes a player fits a role in one system but not another. So I don’t want Sarachan devoting time to his favorites, or pushing aside people he does not like, or putting more or less effort into securing dual nationals based on his assessment. His job as caretaker is to line the team up and get them on film. The bigger picture decision of how we will play and who fits in there and who we want to build around should be made by a full time coach. The poster above rips me like I want to have coaches at odds with each other but the more you license Sarachan to own the team the more likely you will have two systems, favorites, doghouses, and such at odds. I want the new coach freed to pursue his ideas and assessments and not weighed down by Sarachan. The people implicitly pushing Sarachan Power seem to forget he was the assistant on the first team not to qualify in decades, and has one win with a meh schedule so far.

      • Arena was also coach of the 2002 team that did well. So what. What have you done for me lately.

        Put differently, world worth of candidates and we should go with Sarachan, based on “one good year with the Fire” and “he was Bruce’s 2002 assistant,” out of the rest of the context, and ignoring that with a rather tepid schedule thus far his tenure has seen one win.

    • There’s no rush, IV. And I don’t think there is any way that what Sarachan does now will negatively affect the long term. You are acting like the players and coaches are fragile, impressionable children instead of professionals.

  5. “Neither has truly broken through on the professional stage, but both have shown the ability to play at a high level with the youth national teams and with their respective clubs.”

    If this the argument then why not call in Andrew Carleton too? He was just as good at the U17s as Weah or Sargent. Throw in Chris Durkin as well, who has actually got a couple starts for DC United.

    • As another poster mentioned just because a player was not noted by Sarachan does not mean they are not being called in.
      Also, the evaluation of youth players is not only done at the U-17 World Cup. You may have watched 3-4 games where the US coaches have been evaluating these guys over years of training and matches. It is universally believed that Sargent is a better prospect than Carleton.

    • Carleton is not ready for that level, he just is not. I’ve done a lot of research and guys that know a lot about soccer say he has flashes of brilliance followed by long stretches of looking like a 17-year-old. We see the flash on youtube and get excited but don’t see the reckless giveaways and errant passes. Durkin, I like a lot I’ve seen him play three times this year, but he isn’t even a regular starter for DCU yet. Sargent is just very consistent and is a striker which is a position of need and Weah is the son of the former footballer of the year and has earned minutes for one of the top 8 clubs in the world.

  6. Keaton Parks is reportedly being called up as well. And I have no problem Sargent being called in but why over look other players like Green and Emo

    • They haven’t released any sort of roster so assuming Green and Hyndman won’t be included because he didn’t mention them is premature. Plus with American luck half, the guys he mentioned are likely to pick up injuries before the end of the month anyway.

    • Is it hear-say about Parks or did you read it on an online publication? I hope you are right, I like the way the kid plays.

  7. Pulisic is a big deal and the difference maker but whether we get back to where we need to has more to do with everyone else who gets called in.

    It’s fair enough for Sarachan to evaluate the pool for the purposes of callups, but some of the talk of who to “integrate” or “belongs” or “punished” shouldn’t be a caretaker’s decision, and even the notion he gets to “balance” among MLS and Europe seems dubious when the idea is to find our best players so we can revive our success. Little too much like he’s running a show he hasn’t earned.

    • WTF is he supposed to do? half-ass what he’s doing?
      There is more to the national team than just players and coaches. There is a system set up to keep the team moving forward toward certain goals. If the system is working as designed it shouldn’t matter who the president of the head coach is. Changing plans every time there’s a change in coaches is how you end up spinning your wheels in place. You can never stop moving forward because your competition won’t wait for you.

      • He’s supposed to act like a caretaker, which means it’s not his team to implement anything, to favor or punish players for his own reasons, to implement some system the new coach may not want. His job is to bring in new players for a few months, coach them, and help them create tape. You do not want to create competing and perhaps contrasting evaluations and systems and punishments that the new coach has to undo. My whole point is he shouldn’t be allowed to do very much so the next coach doesn’t have to spin his wheels for months undoing his theories and evaluations. The implication that he should be treated as some sort of Klinsi-Arena authority who can weigh in on everything, without getting full time hired, misses it. He hasn’t earned that right. He has earned the right to call a list of players, coach practices, fill out lineup cards, and sub in players. Not much else.

      • The guy has so little sense of the job before him that he barely used subs last game, when what we want to do is evaluate the player pool.

    • I wonder if you are mis-construing his comment about balancing MLS and Europe-based players for these 2 games. I don’t think it’s about favoring MLS or favoring Europe, it’s about the realities that…1. European based players will have wrapped up a long season and may need a break, or may need to be with their team for pre-season camps depending on the particular team and player. Pulling them out of their team situation for a friendly may not be the best choice, again, depending on the particular player and situation. 2. For MLS based players, especially as an Interim coach, he’s wise to try to avoid pissing off MLS teams by taking too many players or taking them for the whole time. They will be mid-season, and with as much partiy as there is in MLS (at least for the teams fighting for the last few playoff spots and those who will just miss), losing 1 key player for 4 games mid season can really come back to haunt a team come the end of the season. With one game on each continent, mixing and matching his line-ups while making sure to evaluate young players side-by-side with those who are likely to stick around from the last WC cycle (and there will be some, it’s unavoidable) actually makse a lot of sense.

      • It’s going to be late May and early June, I doubt they are already in 2017-2018 training camps. Some of the Euro players may be starters who perhaps could use rest, but this is not some Gold Cup marathon camp, it’ll be a week or week and a half and they are off to the beach. This is our shot at these players for any length of time this year. Other than that it’s a few days of halfway practice and a friendly later in the year.

        And for players like Sargent, they aren’t playing first team ball, this is an opportunity, and I doubt they are tired.

        And I think my broader point is I am not sure I want Sarachan so hands on in terms of shaping careers, or “negotiating” with MLS. This should be his last week. Call who you want in. The new coach starts fresh. The idea we have to kiss club tush by the coach on his way out the door misses it.

        We need to see the pool right now, not be inhibited and tap dancing around for fear of offense. The time to “negotiate” with teams on international dates is when we already have known quantities and we’re managing a relationship with their team.

      • Because of the world cup, there won’t be any preseason camps going on at the beginning of June and likely no post-season tours either.

    • I don’t think you actually read the quotes very closely because you took all of them out of context. First Sarachan didn’t say “integrate” the author did, he said “its old-school thinking to punish” Sargent because he couldn’t play first-team soccer this season not he was punishing players, he said “he wasn’t classifying anyone as they don’t belong”. Finally, as Joe pointed out it is not an international window so if he does have to work with MLS clubs or they can say “No” you can’t have them. You don’t like Sarachan and wish a new manager was in place I don’t think that’s out there thinking, but you were clearly just looking for something to complain about.


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