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Berhalter looking to add winger or central midfielder to USMNT roster


Gregg Berhalter has named 27 players to his initial U.S. Men’s National Team roster, but there are plans to add one more from abroad who fits certain characteristics.

Berhalter unveiled his first squad as U.S. head coach on Thursday, but the group of players that will compete in the annual winter camp is not yet complete. The 44-year-old is working to add one more player to the team, but that player, unlike the rest of the roster, will not come from within MLS.

Clubs are required to release players to international duty during scheduled FIFA dates, but next month’s camp falls outside of them. As a result, Berhalter is in conversations to try and secure the release of one more field player.

“There’s a number of guys that are in consideration,” said Berhalter in Thursday’s conference call. “We’ve spoken to some clubs and we’ll make this decision when we have the right guy. But we’re looking for a specific profile, someone who can execute either in the wing position or as a central midfielder.”

Given the roster’s composition, a wide player seems to make more sense. There are already a number of central midfielders on the all-MLS-based squad — including Michael Bradley, Wil Trapp, Kellyn Acosta, Cristian Roldan, and Russell Canouse — but few actual wingers.

Regardless of the position, a player based in Scandinavia seems likeliest to be called in. Leagues in that region have a longer winter break than most of their European counterparts, so the chances of getting a Scandinavian club to okay the player’s release are usually higher.

One player who plies his trade there that is not under consideration for the 28th roster spot is Romain Gall, who is enjoying a solid season with Swedish side Malmo. Berhalter, who previously coached Gall at the Columbus Crew, tried to secure 23-year-old attacker’s release for the initial roster but Malmo refused.

“In Romain’s particular case, his club has Europa League games in early February and were resistant to releasing Romain for our camp,” said Berhalter. “We completely understand. I think that’s a great competition that Malmo is in, we’re excited to follow them as they work through the competition, and I’ve had conversations with every Scandinavian-based player so we’re all set and the camp is a reflection of the guys that are available.”

One more player will be added, though, and it could wind up being Jonathan Amon. A 19-year-old winger who plays for Danish side FC Nordsjaelland, Amon fits the mold of what Berhalter is looking for. Another option is Keaton Parks, a central midfielder who is on the books of Benfica but does not play for the first team. Berhalter could even end up going with another MLS player should he not be able to secure the release of someone overseas.

In any case, there are plenty of possible options. Berhalter just has to see who he can land.

“We’re working through it now who exactly it’s going to be, but it’s obviously going to be a central midfielder or a winger,” said Berhalter. “We need 24 players in the camp, 24 field players, so we’re going to add one of those two positions.”


    • I think I detect sarcasm …

      NYRB: Alex Muyl
      ATL: None
      Portland: None
      SKC: None
      LAFC: None
      SEA: None (Roldan played outside 2nd half the season already called)
      Dallas: None
      DC: Arriola (already called)
      Crew: None
      RSL: Baird (already called has played 4 matches as a winger)
      Phi: Fafa Picault

      So there you are looking for another American winger from MLS its Fafa vs Alex Muyl

  1. I suggested something like this the other day — specifically some Danish players (Sabbi and Amon) — and people on here giggled. Oh well.

    • No one giggled, as I pointed out clubs were unlikely to release them which they apparently were. Given that Amon and Sabbi’s clubs are both in position for the relegation playoffs if they are to be released its not a good sign as to their standing with their clubs.
      I do think its promising that Berhalter who has a history with Gall is trying to bring him in rather than just assume he’s the same person/player he was a few years ago.

  2. I actually am excited to see what Berhalter can bring to the table.

    I like his ideas. In particular I like his tactical flexibility. Pressing all the time is great but it doesn’t work, especially in Central America in mid-day heat, and I like his more pragmatic and cue-oriented approach. Klinsmann wanted his guys to turn into Germanic supermen who could press for 90 even in a toaster oven…and it just wasn’t realistic.

    Everybody wants to go all FIFA Manager and put their elite 11 on the field like there’s a numerical rating, but what I really wanna see is a well-thought-out TEAM, one that understands what Berhalter wants to do and is capable of playing a comprehensive style for once.

    Berhalter did pretty well with Columbus considering the mediocre pieces he had to work with.

    • Your thought process is correct. Unfortunately, we won’t see a glimpse of the final product until he gets most of the starters (Euro) players to train.


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