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