In a perfect world, Berhalter would have found a way to squeeze both Jordan Siebatcheu and Daryl Dike onto the U.S. Men’s National Team’s Concacaf Nations League roster, and bring three strikers rather than his usual two, but given the 23-man roster limit and the need to bring extra cover to account for Adams’ uncertain health status, one of the two promising strikers was going to miss out.
Dike being the one left out was easily the most criticized of the roster exclusions, with his recent impressive stint on loan at Barnsley having made him a fan favorite among USMNT faithful intrigued by his power and ability to finish chances, but Berhalter’s choice of Siebatcheu should not have come as a surprise.
The Young Boys striker is coming off an outstanding season with the Swiss champions, having scored 15 goals in all competitions while on loan from French side Rennes. Siebatcheu’s outstanding season earned him a permanent transfer, which will mean an opportunity to play in UEFA Champions League for the 25-year-old.
Siebatcheu rise up the USMNT depth chart was also boosted by his stint at the March friendlies. Dike is a powerful presence up top, but the USMNT attack runs through Christian Pulisic and Gio Reyna on the wings, with Weston McKennie making runs out of midfield that require a striker who can combine well. Siebatcheu flashed impressive movement and hold-up play in March, traits that could allow him to thrive in the USMNT attack.
“When (Siebatcheu) got in camp the first thing we noticed was his movement inside the penalty box,” Berhalter said. “Very good timing to attack space, very aggressive attacking space, making one move for the defender, one move for himself, that he can really open up and get to that space when the cross is coming in. So that was that was really good.
“We also like his ability to combine,” Berhalter said. “When you see that the penalty kick that we got in the game against Northern Ireland. We see a couple other half chances. We thought it was interesting how you can play a ball into him and move off, and he can combine really well.”
Siebatcheu has that edge right now over Dike, but it is clear Dike impressed Berhalter enough to earn a call-up for the Switzerland match, and extended stint with the group as potential cover in the attack if there is an injury. Dike will also take part in the friendly against Costa Rica, which should provide him with another good opportunity to impress heading into this summer’s Gold Cup and World Cup qualifying in the fall.
“Daryl’s guy that we’re pretty familiar with. We’ve been supporting him from afar and all the great work he’s done at Barnsley, and we think he’ll have a big future with the national team,” Berhalter said. “But I think this is a great period to evaluate Jordan and get to know him much better before we go on to qualifying.”