The U.S. Men’s National Team roster for October’s Nations League matches didn’t have many surprises, and featured plenty of names we have grown accustomed to seeing, but also some omissions that could be considered head-scratchers.
Brenden Aaronson was the only new face in the mix, and could be considered the biggest surprise, but some fringe selections probably also came down as surprises even though they have been called up by Gregg Berhalter on multiple occasions, including Daniel Lovitz and Corey Baird.
Who are some of the players who missed the cut, but deserved a spot on the USMNT Nations League squad? Here are five:
The Derby County midfielder returned from injury and has been in good form since breaking back into the Rams lineup. Berhalter chose to bring in Weston McKennie, Cristian Roldan and Sebastian Lletget as his options at the number 10 positions in his system, which is understandable, but Berhalter certainly could have made room for Holmes.
One option for Berhalter is moving Roldan into contention for the defensive midfield role. Roldan performed well as a number 10 against Uruguay, but he has also shown he can play in a deeper midfield role.
The last time we saw Robinson in a USMNT uniform he was struggling against Jamaica in a friendly last June. That match wasn’t particularly impressive, but Robinson has continued to play regularly and play well for Wigan as a natural left back.
Daniel Lovitz earned another call-up despite having yet to impress in his multiple cameos with the USMNT. Berhalter did point to Robinson being eligible for the U.S. Under-23 team, meaning he could be a part of a U-23 camp in October, but that doesn’t change the reality he could have been called into the USMNT squad.
Berhalter only called up one new face for October, and it was a player who isn’t expected to contend for a major role. Alvarado has been playing well for Necaxa, but has yet to earn a look from Berhalter.
The current state of the USMNT centerback position is underwhelming. John Brooks is injured again, and Tim Ream is likely to shift into a centerback role for October’s matches. Matt Miazga recently returned from injury, while Walker Zimmerman is back in the fold despite a lackluster showing in September. Ream and Long should likely be the featured tandem, but it feels like a missed opportunity to have Alvarado in a camp to see him in person.
If not wanting to bring in a new face to the defense was a part of why Alvarado wasn’t included in the October squad, then Miles Robinson could also have a gripe about not being included. Sure, he only just made his USMNT debut in September, but he has continued to play at an MLS Best XI level with Atlanta United.
Ultimately, Zimmerman’s experience gave him the edge over Robinson this time around, and Berhalter also noted that Robinson will have a major part to play on the U.S. Under-23 national team that will convene in October.
Brad Guzan was chosen to join Zack Steffen and Sean Johnson in the goalkeeper pool, which isn’t a huge surprise considering he earned the start against Uruguay in September. That being said, you can make a strong argument that Bill Hamid has had a better season in MLS play than Guzan, and his stellar showing for D.C. United last Sunday against the New York Red Bulls only served as a reminder of his form.
The big knock against Hamid is that he isn’t good with the ball at his feet, a key requirement to play in Berhalter’s system. Guzan has improved his ball-handling skills since joining Atlanta United, but calling him a sharp passer would be a stretch.