Top Stories

The USMNT prospects still waiting for their first call-up from Berhalter


When Bill Hamid earned his first U.S. Men’s National Team call-up under Gregg Berhalter, his name came off the list of top USMNT prospects still waiting for their first chance to be part of Berhalter’s project.

The USMNT coach has called a wide array of players since becoming national team coach a year ago, but even his thorough mining of the national team player pool hasn’t kept some worthy candidates from being left out of the picture.

Hamid was one of those players in 2019, but Berhalter brought him in for the January camp. The USMNT coach knows there are other candidates he has yet to call in, but insists he and his staff are monitoring a broad range of prospects.

“I think there’s a lot of guys that are on the cusp and all we’re asking is for consistent performance, be a high performer,” Berhalter said on Friday at USMNT camp. “An example is Mason Toye. He wasn’t in camp this time and I called him up and I said ‘Hey, here’s what we saw from last year. Here’s what I think you can improve on, and we’re keeping an eye on you, so hang in there, get your performance to a high level and you’ll get an opportunity’.

“Nothing’s personal, this is about performance.”

One player who has yet to earn a look despite some solid performances on the club side is Julian Green. The 2014 World Cup goal-scorer was a regular part of the USMNT set-up in 2018 under interim coach Dave Sarachan, showed some good glimpses playing in a midfield role, but he has yet to earn a look from Berhalter.

One potential knock against Green’s USMNT prospects is the fact he currently plays in the German second division. Berhalter, who spent part of his career playing in the German second division, insists Green’s current club situation isn’t working against him.

“It’s a high level. He’s playing at a high level and, for us, it’s how he fits into our group,” Berhalter said of Green. “We’ve been monitoring him, we’ve been in touch with his representatives, and for Julian, he’s been part of the program and we’ll continue watching him.”

The January camp has provided Berhalter with an opportunity to look at several young players for the first time, but the reality is that opportunities for new faces will only become tougher to come by as the year goes on, and matches become more important.

Here is a look at some top American players still waiting for their first USMNT camp under Berhalter who Berhalter should consider in 2020:

Julian Green

The 24-year-old is playing the best soccer of his club career, thriving in an attacking midfield role for German second-division side Greuther Furth.

An injury late in 2019 set him back, but he heads into 2020 with a contract that’s expiring and a chance to make a jump to the Bundesliga this summer.

Ventura Alvarado

The Necaxa centerback has been out of the USMNT picture for years, after a largely unsuccessful stint as a young prospect first called in by Jurgen Klinsmann.

Alvarado has matured as a captain and standout in Liga MX, and as a left-footed central defender, he is a player worthy of a look given the dearth of such players in the pool.

Mason Toye

One of the biggest surprises of the January USMNT roster was Toye’s exclusion, given the squad’s U-23 heavy makeup, and the need for fresh blood at the striker position. Berhalter is watching Toye, but the Minnesota United forward will have to wait a while for that first camp.

That being said, he’s a good candidate for a place on the Olympic qualifying squad in March, so that first USMNT look may not come until the summer at the earliest.

Richie Ledezma

In fairness to Berhalter, Ledezma would have been a premature call-up in 2019, but he is worth mentioning because of his continued progress at PSV. The U.S. Under-20 World Cup midfielder is thriving at Jong PSV, scoring a pair of goals just last week, and impressing in the Dutch second division.

A first-team debut at PSV looms, and he may come off this list in March, when the USMNT faces the Netherlands in Eindhoven.

Lynden Gooch

The English third division is a far cry from the top leagues in Europe, but there’s no denying how well Gooch is playing these days at Sunderland. The 24-year-old has scored five goals in his past eight matches, helping Sunderland climb into position for potential promotion.

Gooch is an experienced winger hitting his stride, and given the USMNT’s need for fresh options on the flanks, Gooch should be on Berhalter’s radar.


  1. My March roster
    GK: Horvath, Steffen (Hamid), Gonzalez
    RB: Dest, Cannon
    CB: Miazga, Long, Brooks, EPB
    LB: Ream, Gloster (Gasper)
    DM: Adams, Durkin (Cappis, Parks, Yeuill, whichever isn’t w/ U23)
    8/10: McKennie, Morales, (Green)
    10: Holmes, Ledezma, Lletget
    RW: Reyna, Gooch, Wright
    LW: Weah, Pulisic (Arriola)
    CF: Sargent, Altidore, Soto
    U23s that I thought might be released like Llanez I left off. I left off Morris, Roldan, Hyndman, Guzan, because of CL schedule. Green, Weah, and Pulisic injuries obviously a factor and of course more injuries will happen between now and then. I think is probably more first time call ups than we’ll see but given injuries and Olympic qualifying we might see more new guys.
    Who did I miss?

  2. Ledesma for sure should be called in for march to get a feel for the senior national team. He is moving forward I am glad to hear that all the youths from this past u20 world cup are progressing higher and playing or developing in europe. But ledesmas ability to keep the ball and turn around with it and passing ability is needed as an extra threat on the team.

  3. Green & Alvarado are the 2 names that stand out the most of the 5 names listed. A name that should have been listed is Hyndman.
    Holmes, Green, & Hyndman are all players I’d rather see in a camp ahead of Roldan.
    Alvarado is a player who could play anywhere across the back line. Including LB where we’ve seen Lovitz & Ream trotted out as Berhaulters top 2 options.

    I’m waiting for Berhaulter to realize that we have a number of viable CB’s in the player pool and are thin at defensive minded outside backs. Going to a formation that uses Wing-Backs would optimize our strengths while reducing the defensive responsibilities of Dest, A. Robinson, Yedlin, & Cannon.
    This would also eliminate some of the poorer performers that we’ve trotted out as wide attackers (Boyd, Baird, etc….).
    As our young talent gains more experience and improves their defensive skills we can shift back to a more traditional 4 man back-line.

    • Wouldn’t that then require more strikers another weak position? Your just trading one weakness for another. You have a promising set of guys who can play on the wing upcoming (Weah, Reyna, Llanez, Pomykal and Vassilev can play there, Konrad, some further projects in Sabbi, Akale, Wright, even Sargent plays wide depending on Bremen’s formation).
      What could really work is if one of the fullbacks came forward into midfield while in possession thus overloading the midfield and allowing the forwards to stay high and stretch the defense.

      • Wouldn’t really require any more forwards/strikers than we currently use (1). So the current cast of Forwards wouldn’t change. If at a future date some of the young wingers improve to the point where they are better options than Morris/Weah than either of them could be moved to the Striker pool ahead of Zardes or the often injured Jozy.
        It actually gives a coach more tactical options since more players could play the wing-back roll than a straight outside back roll. This would allow more freedom to take a flyer on a more situational player if in tournament play.
        Fact of the matter is we have a good crop of CB’s. 2 Outstanding CMs (Adams & McKennie), attack minded outside backs who are potentially week defensively.
        Makes too much since to me not to use 3 CB’s with Adams & McKennie in front of them…thus giving the wingbacks less defensive responsibility and maximizing their offensive contributions.

    • 3-6-1 then?
      I understand the thought I’m just not sure it’s something Gregg will do. His Crew teams were not very good the times he went with 3 CBs and it didn’t work very well in that experimental friendly with a Jamaica.

      • It’s actually more of a 3-4-3 formation with what would currently be called our wide midfielders playing wing forwards pinched in & a little behind a target/poacher.

        –A. Robinson——-McKennie—-Adams———Dest-

        Funnels opponents into the strength of the team while allowing Pulisc, Weah/Reyna, and the wing-backs more freedom to find open field and use their speed. High press with technical ability to cycle the ball.

  4. Does anyone know what is going on with Alvarado it looks like he’s only played in one of their last eight games including the playoffs. I assume injury but what is the injury?

    • I already replied to this once and apparently my reply was already deleted. (WTF?!)
      I’m glad that you ask. Apparently Alvarado hasn’t played since around Thanksgiving. There was a report of a muscular injury to the left thigh before the quarterfinal against Querétaro. By this week the coach (unfortunately Sosa again, no longer Ambriz) has said that injuries will not affect his side, though he didn’t even mention Alvarado. (God forbid that I should mention a competing website, even if they had more information.)
      Sorry not to be of more help.
      Again, this is the kind of reporting that SBI could itself do, if it cared enough.

  5. Green’s absence is the most striking since he has proven able to contribute at the international level, and we have so few options in creative attackers. I get he was injured in the fall and his club is in season right now, but he should get a look in March. I don’t know where Berhalter is going with these double #10 positions, but I have to think Green is an upgrade over Roldan.

    • In a different thread you said Ledezma might be released for OQ because Jong PSV will be relegated but I believe there is no relegation in the Eerste Divisie this season. Which might make it more likely actually that he’s released.

      • i was under the impression relegation from Eerste was just temporarily suspended for a couple of seasons but set to resume this year? i could be wrong about that.

  6. The fact that Berhalter mentions Mason Toye is close to a call-up, a player is 5 goals in 22 matches in MLS ffs, but doesn’t call in a player like Duane Holmes who is crushing performances week in and week out for Derby County is indicative of the bizarre pandering to MLS-based talent versus players playing better in better competition in Europe.

    • Duane was called this summer he was injured at that camp and sent back to his club. Took him awhile to recover i am pretty sure that didn’t sit well with Derby County. He is in a much stronger position with his club again and i hope he will be called in again this summer. He fills a position need. I just don’t understand why GGG hasn’t given a chance to any player that can fill the CAM role. Mason Toye should be with this January group because he should make the u-23 roster.

      • Baby shin guards- Sebastian Lleget has been GBs best option @ the 10. Hopefully, he gets more appearances because GB rates Roldan as a 10. If Green comes back from injury, and plays well, maybe we see him in March.

    • They don’t play the same position and he’s made similar comments about Holmes. I would call Holmes in over Roldan but Holmes really has hit this higher form recently, he wasn’t playing great in Sep. and October. Roldan will be busy early in the season with CL so hopefully Berhalter gives him a rest and brings in Holmes or does not call in Boyd who isn’t playing.

  7. If you have never watched English League 1, it is tactically on par with MLS. However, the level of athleticism is higher in MLS than League 1. e.g., the players’ mental abilities are similar in both leagues but MLS has bigger, stronger, faster and quicker players than League 1


Leave a Comment