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Sarachan unsure of when older veterans will return to USMNT

The U.S. Men’s National team is continuing its youth movement heading into friendlies against Brazil and Mexico, which means many of the program’s most established veterans have yet to return to the team since the USMNT failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup last October.

Sarachan’s 25-man squad is dominated by youth, with 15 of the 25 selected players just 23 or younger. However, this experimental approach consequently leaves many of the national team’s seasoned veterans, like Brad Guzan and Jozy Altidore at home.

“I don’t have a roadmap as to the exact time when it makes the most sense (to bring them back), but I think right now the focus is the group we have here,” Sarachan said. “Down the line we’ll address that issue but right now we want to get to get this group going.”

The group Sarachan mentions returns many familiar faces to the national team set-up. Despite the team’s relative youth, the 64-year-old head coach made clear that he has been impressed thus far with his new, young squad.  

“My instincts have told me to look forward and start to vet some of these prospects that we think have a future,” he said. “So far since I’ve been doing it it’s been an honor and the group has responded. I think we have established now somewhat of a core of guys that have sort of taken on that responsibility of turning that page and looking forward.”

Regardless of the significant step up that many of the younger Americans have made, Sarachan later admitted the value of having some older faces in the locker room come the Gold Cup.

“I do know the veterans,” He said. “I know what they can bring, and they’re part of the future when we get into the meat of things next year.”


  1. My caption for the photo: Manager Dave Sarachan explaining to assistant Richie Williams “you have to score more goals than your opponent to win a match.” “Oh, that’s why I was such a terrible U17 manager,” responded Williams.

  2. The odd thing is listening to people act like we know what players to call in September of the first year in the cycle. Like we don’t need to call anyone who didn’t play France. Like everyone played perfect in that series. Like we won all those games.

    The idea is not just to identify the best but also a bench and a pool. Sorry but letting an interim coach decide he’s figured out our XI or 23 already is dubious.

    • But it is even more ridiculous to bring in 16-20 new guys each round just to give everyone a try. We are not France or Germany we don’t have hundreds of players starting in top leagues. This isn’t junior high everyone doesn’t get a try out. If you can’t make your squad in MLS you can’t play for the US. If you are only playing youth level in Europe you shouldn’t be playing for the senior squad national team.

  3. Dave’s plan seems to be talk like he’s the guy and act like he’s the guy and maybe someone will forget to interview anyone else for the job. Or he’s been promised the U23 job?
    I think when we are talking “vets”, you are looking at Bradley, Altidore, Bedoya, Omar, Nagbe, and then kind of left out older guys like AJ, Chandler, Corona, Williams, maybe Morales. I don’t see how we could put out a winning caliber squad for the GC without some over 26-year-olds given almost all of the European and perhaps the Liga Mx players will be unavailable preparing for their league season. Take out the Euro guys from this squad, are you confident that we would beat CR, Mex, and Jamaica, I’m not.

    • I’m not sure exactly what anybody actually expects Dave Sarachan to do. But if he wants to make his case for the job, I don’t begrudge him that. As long as he is doing a good job in his role (and I think he definitely has), why not? Put a guy in a job for 9+ months and I think it’s natural that if things are going well, he will start asking why people think somebody else can do it better. Human nature and competitive spirit. Not advocating for or against the guy, just think the attitude of “act like an interim manager” is weird and meaningless.

  4. It’s time for Sarachan to get some credit here. If his instincts are telling him it is time to start building the team around the talented 20 yr olds, then he is on the same page as the commenters here, and most of US fandom. His comments leave you thinking he may not call in the leaders from last cycle at all. Good on him.

  5. I like in general that he’s gone youth movement but there is only really one totally new player, and he’s starting to repeat questionable decisions like Horvath and Novakovich. And didn’t Roldan get his chance a year ago and not do anything? So though it’s generally young it’s not really fresh and in some cases he’s starting to develop his own Bornstein-style inexplicable obsessions like a true USA coach.

    Personally I’d like to see new faces and experiments around a limited amount of carryovers. Keep trying people out. Maybe cap-tie some of the dual nationals to lock them in. Quit acting like a coach auditioning for the job and calling in people more to get a result than to widen and deepen the pool.

    • If there is a more sophisticated idea in here than “Let’s throw a bunch of sh*t at the wall and see what sticks”, I am missing it.

      • All due respect but we are at the experimental phase of the cycle, when we need to figure out the pooi. I would rather keep seeing new players than the interim coach settles on certain younger players and not others. Yes, Weah is going to turn out. Ditto McKennie. But there are also Miazga/Novakovich/Roldan type repeats in here that haven’t really earned the selection yet. So my point is dedicate at least some of the selection to people we haven’t seen before. Next year and beyond are for starting to settle on selections and lineups. Right now is our opportunity, before games start to count, to see what all we have. And all due respect but it doesn’t begin and end with Sarachan’s last call sheet he’s starting to xerox.

        Last cycle showed the downsides of playing too many games to win, with selections for same. You need to identify as many interesting players per position as possible in case of injury, poor performance, or other reasons to replace. If all you know is one player then they better stay healthy and on the boil.

    • IV: You make it sound like there are a slew of quality young players just pining to get their first cap. If there are, I’d love to know them. I think Sarachan has done a decent job of identifying the long term prospects and giving them some reps. I’d agree with you about Roldan, but DS must see enough to at least include him in the 25. You gotta give him props for keeping the veterans out at least one more round.

      Regarding cap tying duals, you know as well as any of us that these friendlies wouldn’t do the trick. Again, if there are some duals out there who are just screaming for a call up, let me know. The fact that we have this core of 10 players under the age of 23 who are getting many reps together is a big step in the right direction.

      • There are some younger players who haven’t been called yet and also some of the last few call ups that only really got some short sub opportunities.

        As I said on the other thread, it’s not just tournaments that cap tie, and we are currently calling in a pile of players for a U20/U19 camp. My suggestion, alongside a broader callup here, is simply divert some players over who are already in a later age group camp but are in demand dual nationals who I would see as at risk because they have more than one passport and don’t even play here. The Jonathan Gonzalez scenario. You can say wait until they have earned it but “earned” caps have never been the only reason we call people. it has routinely been a concern before that prompted early caps before for players we wanted to lock. Two separate issues, cap now, and then later on work out whether they are going to be all that helpful.

      • Just to be clear IV is incorrect friendlies do not cap tie players. There is no uncertainty on this subject feel free to google cap tie rules you will find at least 10 articles from multiple sources to confirm this. FIFA does not define friendlies as competitive matches (hence the name) therefore they are not tying events.

  6. How about never? Turn a new leaf over and don’t look back. It’s time to move forward and build with the players we have. Sarachan is taking a smart approach. I’ve been fairly happy with his call ups.

  7. encouraged by the quote “I know what they can bring, and they’re part of the future when we get into the meat of things next year.”

    six friendlies this fall, if after these six games we believe that any of these players would improve the team then I will welcome any of them back into the new team in 2019. probably will be six more friendlies for the Gold Cup to (re)incorporate whoever is needed.

    of course all of this could change if there is a new coach this fall.

  8. Guys like Bradley are fading fast, if you have watching Toronto not making the playoffs you have seen it. Brutal. So why play them now? See where they are at in a few years. I am definitely in the camp of never again, but if we are wrong, I don’t think you can hold a grudge forever if they are the best option.

    Or maybe you can, cause you can’t count on them? Ok, whatever, I don’t think it will be meaningful in a few years. Old guys fading, new guys are 19-22 years old and better already.

  9. Sarachan unsure of when older veterans will return to USMNT…..that in itself is very positive, because it means that US Soccer is focused 100% on young players that would have had a shot at, but didn’t make, the world Cup!!!!!.

    “I would say that the roster, if you followed our team over the last six friendlies, will be composed pretty similarly to what we’ve done in the past,” Sarachan said. “But I feel very confident that the group we’re going to bring will be very competitive.”

    Sarachan’s thought process is in the right place but since he is going to be replace soon I wonder what the new coach will do or what his approach will be.


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