The U.S. Men’s National Team face the first two of six major tests this fall on September 7 and 11 when they take on Brazil and Mexico, respectively.
The friendly against Brazil at MetLife Stadium officially kicks off a new World Cup cycle, but some remnants of the failure to qualify for Russia will still be around.
With no head coach in place under new general manager Earnie Stewart, Dave Sarachan is set to take charge of the squad on an interim basis yet again.
Young players should once again headline the 23-man roster for the September clashes, as chemistry starts to build on the international stage ahead of the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup.
While the demand for youth is fan base’s the top priority, there will be a few veterans included on the roster to help ease the transition to the next generation of stars and provide some experience on the field against two competitive opponents.
It must be noted that Sarachan could call more than 23 players into the squad to get a look at them, but we opted for the traditional 23-man roster for our projection.
Below is our look at who should receive call-ups for the upcoming September friendlies.
Brad Guzan, Zack Steffen, Alex Bono
Once considered the deepest position on the depth chart, goalkeeper is suddenly a concern beneath Zack Steffen.
The Columbus Crew netminder, who is receiving interest from abroad, is the USMNT’s No. 1 goalkeeper at the moment, and he has a chance to further lock down the position this fall.
Brad Guzan comes along to help Steffen through camp and potentially start one of the two clashes, while Alex Bono serves as the third goalkeeper in camp.
The dynamic of the position could change in a few months if one of Bill Hamid, Ethan Horvath or Jesse Gonzalez reverse their form, but right now they’re all looking up at Steffen.
Missed Cut: Jesse Gonzalez, Bill Hamid, Ethan Horvath
DeAndre Yedlin, John Brooks, Matt Miazga, Antonee Robinson, Aaron Long, Erik Palmer-Brown, Eric Lichaj, Reggie Cannon
DeAndre Yedlin and John Brooks should be two of the first names written on the roster sheet by Sarachan and the new manager.
Now at the 50-appearance mark, Yedlin is the experienced leader of the young USMNT. A few up-and-coming stars of the squad have pointed to their relationship with Yedlin in recent months, which makes him a candidate to captain the side sooner rather than later.
Brooks will be the anchor of the USMNT defense, but now he needs to find a consistent partner.
With Geoff Cameron still hunting for a new club and Tim Ream on the shelf with an injury, the spotlight shifts to Matt Miazga, who is on loan at Nantes.
Erik Palmer-Brown is confirmed to join the camp, per NAC Breda, while New York Red Bulls head coach Chris Armas hinted at a potential call-up for Aaron Long, who is one of the best defenders in MLS this season.
Another loanee, Antonee Robinson, who is at Wigan Athletic, continues his line of call-ups, while Eric Lichaj provides experience at full back.
The one name to watch in this group is FC Dallas’ Reggie Cannon, who has arguably been the best player at right back in MLS.
Missed Cut: Cameron Carter-Vickers, Tim Ream, Jorge Villafana, Tim Parker
Michael Bradley, Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie, Christian Pulisic, Timothy Weah, Romain Gall, Alejandro Bedoya, Jonathan Amon
Michael Bradley and Alejandro Bedoya are the two veteran holdovers in this squad and they’re included for a handful of reasons.
Whether you like him or not, Bradley still has plenty to offer the USMNT, and he’ll be a vital asset to help bring along the young core of defensive midfielders.
Bedoya, who is in the middle of one of the best seasons in his career, provides the same element and would be a good closer for both matches in a holding position or on the wing.
Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie, Christian Pulisic and Timothy Weah are the headliners of the next generation, and there’s a good chance all four start together in at least one of the September games.
Romain Gall, now at Sweden’s top club Malmo, has been electric in the Allsvenskan, including a brace over the weekend for Malmo, while Jonathan Amon’s had a similar impact at Nordsjaelland in the Danish Superliga.
Gall and Amon are worth taking a look at in club, and if they impress enough, they could get late cameos in both matches.
Missed Cut: Wil Trapp, Julian Green, Keaton Parks, Lynden Gooch, Cristian Roldan
Jozy Altidore, Gyasi Zardes, Andrija Novakovich, Bobby Wood
The absence of Josh Sargent on this list allows him to work on breaking into Werder Bremen’s first team during the international break.
Jozy Altidore deserves a call-up to play against two tough defenses, where his hold-up play will benefit the speedy wingers the USMNT is expected to trot out on the field.
Gyasi Zardes is in the form of his career, and he has plenty of familiarity with Sarachan from their days at the LA Galaxy.
Novakovich continues to impress in front of goal in the Netherlands, and he’s a solid option to come off the bench or start in either match.
Missed Cut: Josh Sargent, Dom Dwyer, Rubio Rubin