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Projecting the USMNT squads for summer friendlies


This time of year is supposed to be the start of a celebration for the U.S. Men’s National Team. It’s send-off season, after all, and the trio of early summer matches are supposed to be for fine-tuning and building morale ahead of a World Cup.

Well, as we all know, that’s not what we’re in for this summer. It’s not a send-off or a celebration and the U.S. isn’t building towards much of anything at the current moment. Rather, the U.S. is simply looking to move on, and that process is ongoing.

The way to do that is to bring in new faces and, so far, the USMNT has done just that. Under interim boss Dave Sarachan, several young stars have been integrated, and that process is expected to continue. With matches against Bolivia, Ireland and France looming, the U.S. has three more games before the coach-hiring process starts and 2022 truly begins.

Over the three games, rosters will be rotated and players will be brought in and sent home. With the scheduling, Sarachan will have a fluid group of players coming in and out of camp. The idea, though, remains the same: build something, anything, going forward.

Here’s a look at a group of players you could see in the coming weeks:


Brad Guzan, Bill Hamid, Ethan Horvath, Zack Steffen, William Yarbrough

Outlook: As we know, there are plenty of players capable of stepping into the No. 1 goalkeeping spot, and one would expect several of them to get a look over the three matches.

Expect the focus to remain on the young options once again but, with Atlanta United on a bye, it makes plenty of sense to call in Brad Guzan for the Bolivia friendly. The veteran has been in good form with The Five Stripes and, with players like Alex Bono and Zack Steffen scheduled for matches that weekend, Guzan is a player you could see earn a nod. The same can be said for William Yarbrough, whose play with Leon over the years probably merited more USMNT looks.

When it comes to the European matches, expect Bill Hamid to lead the way after earning some time with FC Midtjylland down the stretch. Ethan Horvath, meanwhile, appears to be on the outs with Club Brugge, and a national team call-up could help market him for his next move. Other than that, Sarachan will probably decide between Steffen and Bono for the overseas trip and, with TFC struggling, Bono may be withheld as a favor to the club. Steffen is probably higher on the depth chart at this point anyway, and the European trip would be a good experience for the Columbus Crew starter

Missed The Cut: Jesse Gonzalez, Sean Johnson, Joe Bendik


John Brooks, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Justen Glad, Matt Miazga, Shaq Moore, Erik Palmer-Brown, Antonee Robinson, Jorge Villafana, DeAndre Yedlin, Walker Zimmerman

Outlook: With perhaps the deepest pool of foreign-based talent, it’ll be interesting to see how Sarachan handles the defense. Does he opt for a few MLS options like Justen Glad, Tim Parker and Ike Opara, or does he stick with a similar group of players from abroad throughout the three matches?

It would make sense for him to pursue the latter idea, simply because there’s plenty of talent there to integrate. Players like Shaq Moore, Erik Palmer-Brown and Antonee Robinson deserve at least one game and we all want to see the trio of John Brooks, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Matt Miazga on the field together for at least one match.

DeAndre Yedlin, meanwhile, is the biggest lock to take part in all three matches as he continues to evolve as one of the team’s leaders and more consistent pieces heading into next cycle.

Missed the Cut: Tim Ream, Tim Parker, Timmy Chandler, Matt Hedges, Ike Opara, Greg Garza, Eric Lichaj, Brandon Vincent,


Tyler Adams, Lynden Gooch, Weston McKennie, Darlington Nagbe, Keaton Parks, Christian Pulisic, Cristian Roldan, Rubio Rubin, Kenny Saief, Wil Trapp, Timothy Weah

Outlook: We know Christian Pulisic will be taking part in the Bolivia game at least but, with Dortmund’s tour of the U.S. coming, one would expect the midfielder to skip the European trip. Still, we get at least one game with the potential to see Pulisic, Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie on the field at the same time, so that’s nice. Still, it remains to be seen how Sarachan wants to balance his young midfielders, but one would hope he prioritizes giving the trio at least one game together.

The central midfield is an interesting place these days with several interesting options. Keaton Parks appears ready to make the leap while Darlington Nagbe and Wil Trapp can be counted on as the veteran presence. You can also add in a bit of a forgotten man like Kellyn Acosta and the center of the field has the potential to be a strength for this U.S. group.

Wing options are interesting as well once Pulisic leaves. Lynden Gooch could certainly leave Sunderland this summer, but was a bright spot for a bad team this year. Kenny Saief merits another look as does Timothy Weah. Add in Rubio Rubin, whose done well with Club Tijuana, and that should balance out the group with a few different looks out wide.

Missed the Cut: Marky Delgado, Alfredo Morales, Romain Gall, Paul Arriola, Kelyn Rowe, Kellyn Acosta, Alejandro Bedoya, Benny Feilhaber


Dom Dwyer, Andrija Novakovich, C.J. Sapong, Josh Sargent, Bobby Wood, Gyasi Zardes

Outlook: Yikes. In many ways, the forward pool is the least-inspiring unit for the USMNT right now, but there’s at least some potential for things to go the right way this summer.

Josh Sargent is the headliner, obviously, and it’ll be interesting to see how he fares over the next few weeks and months. Is he being rushed a bit? Probably, but Sargent is a damn good forward that has impressed many during his time abroad. He’s still a teenager, so don’t expect the finished product, but this experience should be good for him.

The same could be said for Andrija Novakovich, who did as well as one could home during his loan spell this year. After that, the roster is a balance of familiar faces with varying levels of form.

Gyasi Zardes, for all of his faults, is hot as hell right now and has more than earned his chance at this. Dom Dwyer is in good form as well while C.J. Sapong provides a different look in a match in his home stadium. The key, though, is Bobby Wood, who really, really, really needs something to go well after a tough year with Hamburg.

Missed the Cut: Chris Mueller, Juan Agudelo, Teal Bunbury, Christian Ramirez, Clint Dempsey


  1. Does Deuce get a “Going Away” match? Landon got one (hit the woodwork if I remember) when JK was still coach… Or does Deuce have to first announce that he’s retiring??

  2. Green should get a look to see how his game meshes with the current crop of young up and comers. I wish Horvath had seen more playing time in PL, but I’d love to see him in the mix somehow. Not sure how Lletget is doing by now, but he had a promising start to his USMNT career. It would be a shame for him to never get another chance.

    Finally, semantics, but does not including Altidore, Bradley, Howard, etc on either list mean that SBI no longer sees them as viable options? If so, fine with me.

  3. My thoughts of the players suggested/missed the cut:
    Keepers: Steffen, Hamid, & Horvath stay for all 3 games. Drop Guzan & Yarbrough. If a 4th keeper is needed add Gonzalez or Johnson.
    Defense: No changes except maybe Garza/Vincent instead of Villafana.
    Midfield: IMO our biggest midfield needs are RM or creative CMs. I’d therefore drop Nagbe (known element) and one of Trapp/Roldan and bring in Hyndman & Scott for a run.
    Striker: Our weakest position….but would still prefer to give younger options a chance. Drop SaPong and possibly Wood (in such bad form) and bring in Green & Mueller.

    This camp should be used to test our best young European prospect/players as much as possible. Their season just ended and they should be healthy & inform. MLS young guns will have a chance to when a new coach is hired and the January Camp rolls around.

  4. This should be all about qualifying and then playing in the next World Cup. No old guys! Some guys in their mid 20’s or a bit more may be needed in qualifying, but the focus should be on those who will not be over 30 or so at the time of the next WC. Leave the old ones home.

  5. Isn’t Gooch and Saief injured, and Horvath has started the last 2 games for Brugge so maybe he has turned a corner. Emo just got a start, wouldn’t this be a good time to call him up for the 2 Euro friendlies. No Roldan please.

  6. Of the keepers in MLS with significant numbers of games, Melia, Maurer and Howard have the lowest percentage of goals allowed per shots on goal. That stat should matter 10 games into the season. I would argue that anyone with a stat worse than Howard are probably not the answer, but Melia and Maurer both pass that test. It is harder to compare across leagues due to both different talent levels and the details of how SOG are defined.

    Also, it is harder to figure out which keepers made stops they should not have been able to or who , like LAFC’s Miller, make a save on a PK only to see the rebound shot go in. It would be better to discount PKs completely and to penalize for RCs and/or PK fouls since a PK that came as a result of a keeper’s foul should be counted. (Among MLS keepers, presently only Howard and Guzan have RCs).

    • I don’t know if Melia is the guy for the Nats due to age and experience but I watch him on a regular basis and he is a hard working, athletic keeper who makes ridiculous saves regularly while hardly slipping up. I believe he at least deserves a look in camp.

    • By the metrics you are citing, selection 1 should be Steffen, 0.82 GAA. Columbus is not a silver spoon team and he has that kind of stat. In comparison, Guzan has a higher GAA and a lower save percentage, for a better funded team.

      Melia and Maurer are interesting dark horses, Melia in particular as keeper for a generally consistently good KC team. I would pick one and throw them in with the first two. Guzan I see like Jozy, he should be on the team but probably not start.

      I would then like to see some different choices for the European games, Yarbrough, Horvath, Hamid, etc. Ideally someone who hasn’t played so much for the team.

  7. Guzan? Thankful for having had him- he still has quality BUT: The tragedy of something like missing out on a WC is what would, should, ought to happen in a footballing nation with any foresight, sense or ability to develop players. For all intents and purposes, with a meaningful game years away- players at the tail end of their peak years such as Brad’s(Bradley, Bedoya, Jozy…) international career should be over in favor of younger players. That is the cost.

    Time in a camp building rapport & international game time are limited, valuable resources. All eyes need to be toward next cycle. When I say next cycle- I don’t mean Gold Cup. Toward the one and only thing that matters- World Cup.

    • Dwyer is 27, Sapong is 29, Zardes is 26. If this is the selection pool — and I have complained whether it should be — then Jozy is not really significantly different in age or usefulness in 4 years, than the others. And relative to them, feet of stone and all, he’s better. I mean, did people watch the last Gold Cup.

      Is Morris healthy? If they’re going this “no hope,” we might as well go young/fresh, Amon, Julian Green, Johanssen, Kiesewetter, Wooten, Christian Ramirez, etc.

      • Ramirez is 27, Keissewetter is 25 but played only 177 minutes for the first team down 500 minutes from last year, Wooten will be 29 this Sept. and played 140 minutes this season, AJ will be 28 in November he’s only played 19 minutes since April 1, due to a series of injuries that caused Werder to shut him down for the season, Amon didn’t dress this week not sure why.
        T.Boyd is 27 had 4 goals in 24 appearances, Haji Wright has one goal in 500 minutes but most were first half of the season, Manneh hasn’t played since March then only for 8 minutes.

      • You put Sapong and Dwyer up top and Gold Cup is what happens. I get fully that the Euro list I was rattling off is either people who have produced but are hurt, or people of promise but production. But it’s kind of like people who want Roldan called in. I am disinterested in going around in the same circles as last cycle. Try some new people. We can always come back to them if there is just nothing there.

      • Wasn’t really directed at you people in general misjudge ages of guys like Ramirez,Boyd, and Wooten because they haven’t been called in consistently, or they aren’t able to follow players in Europe so they don’t realize Wooten hardly played this year. Or that Keis has hardly played since Olympic qualifying and was even tried at LB at one point because his work rate was so poor.

  8. The forward line looks a little too much like last Gold Cup. Jozy and Ramirez need calls and then leave some of Dwyer/ Sapong/ Zardes at home. Act like we’d like to score some goals.

    • Jozy is injured and likely not available for at least the Bolivia match. While I think Jozy is good and when he is healthy he is presently the best forward among the USA’s hopefuls, his history of injury makes him an unreliable player and rather unlikely for 2022.

      • I didn’t know he was hurt, and it’s kind of a point that he probably wouldn’t hold up for any world cup we might make — but — are you seriously suggesting the guys I said leave home are the future of the NT instead? To me it feels like calling up Gold Cup again and then wow we figure out for a second time they still can’t score on a bigger stage. Unnecessary. Call in someone with a less obvious “this is bound to disappoint” likelihood.

        It’s kind of like defender during the past 4 years. It was like they knew it was no good but lacked the guts to start trying truly new people.

      • Right now, barring Sargent, who is too young to truly evaluate, it will be 8 years before he hits what should be his most productive years, the USA has no forwards that will in any way make international opposition tremble when the ball is at their feet. Sure, ya gotta put somebody out there, but it is kinda tweedle-dum or tweedle-dee among the choices.

        Young players may have promise, when that pans out, professionals will come offering attractive contracts to big clubs and the pool of mediocre talent is so large that it is pointless to think any of them would suddenly blossom.

        So why not bring in Chris Mueller, of NCAA leading US eligible goal scorers 15 or more), Antonio Bustamante, Mark Forrest, Danny Musovski, or any of the players who scored 14 or fewer goals? They have the same slim chance of sticking. If you like dual nationals Colombian Santiago Patino scored 15, he went to HS in Orlando so maybe. They all satisfy the criterium of being long-shots.

      • NCAA vs MLS vs NT are vastly different things, and I think people forget that Morris was the Sounders’ doctor’s kid, trained with them on and off. I think NCAA made more sense in an era without a serious domestic league, where a US pro barely made more than a college kid did in his part time summer job, and received training accordingly. When the best domestic coaches were in colleges. At this point, imitating Klinsi’s out of box ideas is naive. NCAA is not MLS and if you are in USL it’s usually for a reason.

  9. Where are: Jesse Gonzalez? Kekutah Manneh? At least some of the focus should be on securing dual nationals before the drip becomes a flood out of the team, before we get in a full time coach who has different ideas.

    • Manneh has played a whopping 1 game since November, and you talked about unearned with Guzan, while agree he shouldn’t be #1 at least he is playing..

      • Yeah, I knew he’d made a move but didn’t know how it had turned out. I would say that for Jesse Gonzalez potential loss of a dual national should be a factor in alongside precisely how well he is playing. He’s playing pretty well enough and like Novakovich or Weah or the like, if I don’t cap him maybe someone else does. If I don’t take the risk maybe someone else does. But, yeah, not playing at all, fair point.

    • I agree with your dual national sentiment; however, Jesse Gonzalez recently filed his switch back to the US. He can no longer suit up for another country.

    • Jesse Gonzalez signed his one time switch papers so he is already secured and none of these games would cap tie any of the players anyway.

    • Once again FRIENDLIES do NOT cap tie anyone. This is a basic premise of international football that anyone should know, especially someone whose name implies he views himself as an authority figure on the subject of soccer.

      • All due respect there are actually debates about what constitutes a cap tying “A” international. It is not limited to world class tournaments. Go back in your hole.

      • Actually no there’s not. Friendlies do not cap tie players there is no debate over that.

      • No, I’ve actually researched this before: You can only do the one time switch if you have “not played a match (either in full or in part) in an Official Competition at “A” international level for his current Association, and at the time of his first full or partial appearance in an international match in an Official Competition for his current Association, he already had the nationality of the representative team for which he wishes to play.” What precisely constitutes “A” internationals is debatable. There is agreement it covers international tournaments. Which is why goofballs like you think it is the rule. There is dispute about whether it covers friendlies where one fields their best players, ie, “A” team. When the US wants a player to get a UK work permit they play up how many friendlies count as serious. I assume they would do the same if a player tried to leave. If a player wants to come here I assume we downplay the match as not “A” level, because otherwise you cannot even do the one time switch.

      • I mean, the whole point to the one time switch is you are arguably committed by the friendly appearance. Jermaine Jones played for Germany senior NT, for example. So you have to “switch.” No switch is allowed if you played an “A” level game like a world cup. No switch is necessary if you never played even a friendly. IT ONLY WORKS IF SOMETHING IN BETWEEN CAP TIES YOU.

      • Sorry I was a little excessive. Playing in a friendly makes it more difficult but it does in no way commit you. As the term “one time switch” implies you aren’t committed because you can switch. Think of Tony Tchani played for US in February and then played for Cameroon in September. Likewise, Manneh could play next week against Bolivia and play for Gambia this fall in Africa Cup of Nations qualifying. Carter Vickers could play for the US this Summer and England this fall in League of Nations, playing in these games would not affect dual nationals future with other nations if they have not had to file switch paperwork. I think the issue you are having is with the word “competition”, by FIFA’s definition a friendly is not a competition (only qualifying for WC or regional tournament and then those actual tournaments, Confed Cup, and I believe the new regional “leagues” will also tie you). A level applies to full national team not youth squads.

  10. The midfielders are about right if the goal is “tryout camp,” except I’d leave Roldan who has had some chances, home, and give Delgado a chance instead. As with Guzan, I am disinterested in us going around in the same circles as last cycle. The NT is not premised on “maybe if I give him 5 games he’ll turn the corner.” Generally speaking the good ones impress the first time out, like Pulisic.

  11. I’ll be curious how this gets handled because if you didn’t know who the opponents were, you’d suggest Americas players game 1, European players game 3, and maybe a transition in the middle before sending MLS players back. Except, we’re playing France in the last game so in theory you want your best team then, unless you don’t care if we win or look great.

    This is part of where I get into how the “Big Dog” scheduling we have the rest of the year complicates using these games as pure talent evaluation exercises. Games like those encourage a coach to fall back on “Old Reliable” even if our results suggests they ain’t all that reliable. Cross-purposes.

  12. Steffen should be the 1, not Guzan. Guzan has had years to establish himself as Howard’s successor, and all he is is inconsistent. Steffen is statistically superior, faced 2 more shots and allowed 1 fewer goal, lower GAA, higher save %. Sarachan only hurts the team by maintaining “unearned continuity” that a successor will have to figure out and unwind. Keeper became a problem area at the end of the last cycle as Howard fades, and if we want the issue worked on rather than pretended about, move on to newer options.

    Who gets called and starts should not relate to who is on a bye that week.

    • Yes. There are three clear GK options going forward, Steffan, Hamid, that order. Even the most inconsequential match is important for one of those three goalkeepers to gain experience on the field with the national team.

      Guzan, not national team quality. Yarborough, terrible form, probably the worst GK in the ligamx this year. If you had to, Melia or Gonzalez would be the better call for a stand in 3rd keeper

  13. There is no way I would take Gooch, Rubin, and Roldan over Gall, Amon, and Delgado as midfielders right now. Might take Rubin over Sapong as a forward, that is kind of a toss up at this point.


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