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Projecting the USMNT World Cup Qualifying roster (Take Two)

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The U.S. men’s national team roster for the September World Cup qualifiers is set to be announced later this week, and with plenty having changed since the last time we projected the roster, it is time to take stock of the player pool and consider Gregg Berhalter’s options one more time.

It has been a busy August for the USMNT player pool, as transfers go through, as do loan moves, while several player continue to wait for their next club destinations. Gold Cup participants Sam Vines and Gianluca Busio have completed their long-expected European transfers, while Matt Miazga has secured a loan move to Spain.

The player pool’s depth is set to be tested as well due to a rash of injuries, as well as Christian Pulisic’s positive COVID-19 test.

The good news is Berhalter has options all over the field, and no one injury is going to leave him without a viable alternative.

With all that in mind, here are the players we could see being called in for the World Cup qualifying training camp ahead of September’s qualifiers:


Projected USMNT World Cup Qualifying Roster


Goalkeepers


Zack Steffen, Matt Turner, Ethan Horvath

The same trio projected earlier this month remains, even though only Turner is seeing regular playing time. Could Berhalter leave Horvath with Nottingham Forest and select Sean Johnson to give him another goalkeeper playing regularly?

Missed the Cut: Sean Johnson, Brad Guzan


Defenders


Photo by John Dorton/ISI Photos

Sergiño Dest, John Brooks, Miles Robinson, Antonee Robinson, Sam Vines, Mark McKenzie, James Sands, Walker Zimmerman, DeAndre Yedlin, Shaq Moore

There is a heavy Gold Cup influence in this group, with four members of the Gold Cup championship squad listed here. Chris Richards narrowly misses out due to his lack of playing time with Bayern Munich.

Ream suffered an injury in Fulham’s last match, which puts his availability in question. Bello is another player who is very close to the final cut.

Shaq Moore enjoyed a strong showing at the Gold Cup, but has not played much since returning to Tenerife. The same can be said for Reggie Cannon upon his return to Boavista. Could Berhalter choose to leave them both home and bring in a DeAndre Yedlin, who has been seeing playing time for Galatasaray? Look for Yedlin to get the call, with Moore edging Cannon for a spot.

Missed the Cut: Tim Ream, Reggie Cannon, Bryan Reynolds, Chris Richards, Matt Miazga, George Bello, Erik Palmer-Brown, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Kevin Paredes


Midfielders


Photo by John Dorton/ISI Photos

Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams, Sebastian Lletget, Julian Green, Cristian Roldan, Kellyn Acosta, Brenden Aaronson, Eryk Williamson

The absence of Gianluca Busio will surprise some, but Busio hasn’t played since the Gold Cup, and has yet to make his Venezia debut since completing the transfer, so it is easy to see Berhalter choosing other options who have been playing more recently.

Yunus Musah’s expected absence due to injury frees up a spot, and Eryk Williamson could be the beneficiary after his good showing at the Gold Cup.

Aaronson has been used mostly as a winger with the USMNT, but he has experience operating in central midfield and should earn a look in a central role in this camp given the number of wing options available, and given the fact he has been playing almost exclusively in a central role for Red Bull Salzburg this season.

Tanner Tessmann is an interesting option. He has been getting minutes for Venezia, but it will be difficult for him to jump past someone like Eryk Williamson, who impressed at the Gold Cup, at least for the September qualifiers. Now, if Tessmann sees regular time at Venezia going forward, it could become difficult for Berhalter to not bring him in for October.

Missed the Cut: Yunus Musah, Gianluca Busio, Tanner Tessmann, Luca De La Torre, Jackson Yueill, Caden Clark, Owen Otasowie, Djordje Mihailovic.


Forwards


Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Christian Pulisic, Gio Reyna, Josh Sargent, Jordan Siebatcheu, Tim Weah, Konrad De La Fuente, Ricardo Pepi, Matthew Hoppe

Pulisic’s availability for the opening qualifier against El Salvador is in question due to his recent positive COVID-19 test, but he should still be part of the camp and take part in at least one or two matches.

Konrad De La Fuente’s fast start at Marseille should help him secure a return to the fold, where he will be competing with Tim Weah for a potential starting role against El Salvador.

The injury bug has hit this group, with Gyasi Zardes sidelined by a hamstring injury, Paul Arriola a question mark after his own recent hamstring injury and Daryl Dike sidelined by ‘LoomingTransfer-itis”.

Without Zardes and Dike, Berhalter should take the opportunity to call in Ricardo Pepi, who is playing very well, is an elite prospect as a teenager, and is being highly-sought-after by the Mexican national team. He is playing with real confidence, and finishing his chances, and if he is ready to accept a call-up and ready to be cap-tied then Berhalter would be foolish not to make it happen.

Missed the Cut: Gyasi Zardes, Paul Arriola, Daryl Dike, Nicholas Gioacchini, Jozy Altidore, Chris Mueller, Cade Cowell, Jeremy Ebobisse


What do you think of this group? Who made the cut that you were happy to see included? Who missed out that you feel should have made the team?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. Premiere league is not allowing players to go into red state countries due to COVID. Pulisic, Steffen and others might not go to Honduras or ES. Ives can you report on this?

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  2. I’d say Clark over Roldan but if Berhalter does bring in Clark who missed GC because of his appendix I think he’d drop Williamson first. Not sure Hoppe gets in because he hasn’t played since GC but maybe he does because of expanded roster.

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    • There are a number of names I’d take before Roldan…Luca De La Torre, Clark, Tessmann, & Busio are 4 that jump to mind.

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    • again, he played several july games — game shape – and has been in practices for a month. i don’t think players get unfit that fast. was not my experience as an actual player. i would be refreshed. i’d understand if he was hurt. he’s being involuntarily sat. 2-3 months i’d be concerned about game fitness. but he had several july games and is practicing. he’s at least fit for his likely use as a sub at best.

      but you don’t have to sort this now. the easy answer is particularly if you have 25-30 in camp you call him up and see if he’s fit or huffing and puffing when he shows. god forbid we went by the eye test and not by spreadsheets. you spend an extra plane ticket and uniform on him. if he’s fit, you are smart. if he’s out of shape, well, he was a contingency add anyway. this is how the US used to handle such things.

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  3. I feel Gio Reyna and Aaronson can give you way more from the middle of the field as playmakers, you can mix and match say Gio, Acosta, Williamson or Aaronson, Adams, Weston for example. Wings you have Konrad left Weah right, you need to bring two more wings Pulisic if healthy, and Hoppe, maybe pure winger in Robbie Robinson, basically you need two for each position like Brazil normally does

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  4. Sargent opened his books for Norwich and scored a brace in the English Carabao Cup in a 6-0 trashing of Bournemouth today. Sargent started and played all 90 minutes for Norwich. Siebatcheu missed a penalty at the 72th minute , but Young Boys scored a late winner in injury time and advanced to the Champions League group stage with a 6-4 agg results. Siebatcheu also started and played 85 minutes for Young Boys.

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    • subbing into the league loss is a more realistic sense of his role than starting in the second tier cup win, when they play the reserves. they had literally one starter held over from the weekend. it’s movement but he was playing regularly in the B.1 last season. not sure how this is progress other than people are anglophiles. maybe if they suck a while they begin edging pukki out.

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      • and i think the question on sargent, more so than club form even, has been can he produce in the NT shirt. that won’t get resolved til he either scores or not in some quali games. otherwise it’s been 2 years.

      • When moving from a different club and a different league and arriving rather late in the pre-season, it is not unusual for a player to take a while to get established with his new club. This is especially true when there is a veteran first stringer ahead of the new player. I can give plenty of examples. Here are some EPL ones. Pulisic didn’t get any substantial minutes with Chelsea until about half a dozen games in. Dempsey came to Fulham in a January transfer and didn’t start a single game, as I recall, for a team fighting relegation. Even after he scored the goal that kept Fulham up, the next season he started on the bench. Sometimes you have good ideas and a lot of times you have crap opinions that can be easily discounted with historical examples.

      • are you suggesting sargent = pulisic? pffft. ok, moving on to the next argument.

        reality is he’s being brought in to apprentice to pukki. this is a good sign for his apprenticeship. but when you’re a deliberate understudy to a productive starter they aren’t dumping the starter for you because you scored in a second tier cup game. it bodes decent for the transition later on — assuming you keep scoring in your cameos.

        i don’t care if you think some of my ideas are dumb — this isn’t one of them. any more than horvath picking a team with a keeper of the year starter ahead of him. it might be a future. it is only so much of a present.

        to be fair, it’s better than where soto sits with them.

    • IV he’s been available 4 times it’s not like he’s had 20-25 caps like you’d normally have in 2 years of NT play.

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      • whatever, dude, you are like berhalter’s devil’s advocate or something. does he pay by the hour? he had 3 goals on cuba, none on canada, in group in 2019. last goals he had. we lose to canada, he starts — none. we beat jamaica and score 4 — he gets none. we lose to the swiss — none. starts both nations league games — none. his sub, pefok, gets the honduras winner. zardes had 2 goals on canada the next game. lletget has like 3 goals in those games.

        i used to be high on him and his big supporter c. 2019 when GB dropped him. i was like, look at the 2018 goals. but at this point he’s not scored in years. at a production position. i’ve lost faith it has to be him. i kinda doubt he gets completely shoved out by this coach during this quali run, but i wouldn’t be surprised if he’s benched. and with this pool if he’s fighting for that bench role he will need to grow up.

    • Your still freaking out that he hasn’t scored in 4 games. People were probably too excited by his goal in his debut against a Bolivia B team and the 3 against Cuba. He was in a bit of a rut this Summer missing some chances he shouldn’t but his work in the press and his clearance against Honduras made up for that to an extent. If we want to press we can’t do that with Pefok (who was good for 5 secs this Summer but fairly bad the other 100 some minutes). He’s been on a fairly good run of form scoring in several preseason matches for Bremen and a brace in Week 2 of 2Bund. People might be frustrated because he’s behind Pukki who has 30 international goals had Championship seasons of 26 and 29 wrapped around 11 EPL goals, he’s not a slouch.

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      • i do not need a reminder what he used to do for the USA. i used to be head of his chamber of commerce after that bolivia goal. i am pointing out how the 2 years since — when he got elevated to starter — have gone. there haven’t been repeats of that sort of bolivia play.

        the thing you’re missing, is he’s not a “6,” he’s a striker. strikers who average 5-7 goals a league season, and have a best year of 3 goals for their NT, and who are getting outscored by their subs, do not keep their jobs long. i expect him to be on the roster on talent and intangibles. i am no longer assuming he starts.

        this is not crazy talk, no matter how you frame it, others on here say the same exact thing. you don’t keep a striker job being ice cold in front of the net. we have too many options lined up.

      • fwiw sargent has played the vast majority of his new season minutes as a wing — as i even suggested — which hints both sets of coaches question if he’s even a 9. so consider that.

  5. We never get to hear much about the personal relationships between Berhalter and the players, all we have to go on is what we see in his choices. I think that the thing that separates great coaches from good ones is the ability to develop good relationship with players. The opposite is certainly true that poor coaches fail to develop good relationships with players such that when the coach must, inevitably, make a choice to leave a player out that the player does not under-perform when called upon later.

    Players are by and large not stupid, they know when they have not performed well and they see and appreciate other players’ performances. They understand when they do not play well that they might not be called upon again soon and while they don’t like that they do understand it.

    Great coaches can be brutally honest about what more they want from a player without putting the player down and inevitably causing the player to not respond well. Great players are accepting of such honesty.

    Since such personal relationships involve both the individual player and the coach, the players must share some of the responsibility for the cooperation than is called for. Coaches will have some players they simply cannot develop a good relationship with due to personality clashes. It happens, even great coaches ccan have a poor relationships with a few players; fairly or not, those players will not often be selected all else being equal simply because the coach does not “trust” the player.

    We really have no way of knowing, but the inability of a coach and a player to form a sort of bond probably explains why some players are seemingly ignored while others of about equal talent are called upon more often.

    I think it is unrealistic to think that only current form, statistics, club team and perceived talent come into play in assembling the “best” team. Some people think this is bias, I think it may well be a sign of good coaching to know which players can be trusted.

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    • meh. to me the broad overarching story of the past year and a half has been him dismantling much of his 2018 favorites team in favor of people who actually perform, many of whom were known and/or capped before his tenure (horvath, moore) or suggested but ignored (reyna, hoppe) after he got the job. and some of his “finds” — like hoppe and horvath — were headed for nowhere until someone got hurt. they were accidents. so i don’t buy he is some genius who sees the practices we don’t, identifying people who fit. the quality of the pool is overcoming his defenses, and he is simply semi-bright enough to get out of its way. just like he has found jesus on other approaches besides the system. that’s all a dismantling of whatever structure you think he was setting up that players had to fit in. he’s now increasingly hunting good players and then trying to figure out how to get them on the field, without forcing the 433 every night. so what structure is he imposing? the pool is taking over. and good for them because to me we have talent and get out of the way.

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      • IV in June Hoppe is overrated and only had two good weeks we should be calling Soto and Wood. IV in August Hoppe was ignored.

      • @Johnnyrazor, ? I loved your response to IV. “IV in June Hoppe is overrated and only had two good weeks we should be calling Soto and Wood. IV in August Hoppe was ignored.”

      • the point is not whether I SUGGESTED HIM, it’s that everyone but me was. it does not make you a genius to put him end of the gold cup roster and then after sucky team play and injuries you turn him into a starter. the point is not whether i had him properly assessed — and i did suggest playing him wide — the point is he was an accident for the coach that so many people besides me wanted us to try. if arriola doesn’t get hurt does he do anything more than sub a few games like bello or williamson. just like if steffen stays well does horvath play. or if morris stays healthy does reyna get to start this summer.

  6. Didn’t Gio Reyna hurt his hammy too this past weekend? Something to look out for if that’s the case!

    From all accounts the players have bought in and really like Greg, and considering he’s brought in several youth players to every camp, all of this talk about losing this player or that player to Mexico is overblown and frankly a distraction. Ochoa and Akinola were never going to play because of the players in front of them, so there moves made sense for their careers! Musah didn’t play until the Costa Rica friendly because he was not playing well and reportedly wasn’t working hard in training while also giving attitude to the manager coming off of his club season, but kudos to Greg for still bringing him in. Yunus had also played in every game leading up to that NL camp, so this idea he was being overlooked is ridiculous. When players are brought in bc a manager is scared he’ll go elsewhere that never resonates well with the rest of the team, so while there is the possibility that a player here or there will choose Mexico over the USMNT, you don’t hamstring the rest of the team out of fear!

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  7. No mls players over guys like SABBI. Harkes deserves a look and it doesn’t matter the guys on bigger euro squads aren’t getting pt because they are still playing day in and day out against better competition.

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    • Harkes couldn’t find playing time in MLS and other than Celtic and Rangers the teams wouldn’t compete in MLS. Denmark is better than Scotland but not by much. Rosters are also not very deep so the idea that you are pressured to lose your spot from bad performances don’t apply.

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      • anyone who watches SPL correct me, but i don’t see numbers to justify anything. i think that’s more useful dynamic analysis than holding old resume items (“he didn’t play much in MLS”) against him for the rest of his life. he was a kid. he now plays in a first division. so how does he play. based on what i see, meh. that’s the better way to go about this than get snooty about MLS and SPL. we’ve had plenty of strong NT people pass through rangers, often by way of MLS.

      • To add to what you say, I remember watching a CL game between Rangers and Man U. Rangers gave a good account of themselves but lost. It was a pretty good SPL team then and they occasionally made CL knock out rounds. At the time of that match, the match announcers, who know both leagues well, opined that Rangers and Celtic were about equivalent of mid-level EPL teams. IMHO, the rest of the league is probably less than MLS. I can’t remember which player it was, about about a decade ago a Revolution player played for one of the lesser teams and scored about a dozen SPL goals, better than he ever did in MLS.

      • Gary: that might be a useful vague approximation but the problem with US’ analytics is you don’t know for sure if he fits that “average” or is an exception, unless you call him up and see. personally i see no reason to test it, he doesn’t do much in a mediocre league. QED. but if like AJ or Green he has a dozen goals in a modest league, it might be worth testing in person to see whether your “discounting” is fair on average or silly because him specifically. personally i feel like every time we underestimate a weah or horvath or like based on minutes, it gets disproven in person. i am a big fan of GAA and goals/90. a good sub may not play much but will have a good goals per 90 because they do produce when they play. reality is the scottish expeditionary players do not seem to be blowing the doors off where it’s more than an academic discussion. i just think it’s a rotten argument to dismiss more interesting players than this based on their address. IMO those arguments tend to go bust every time we take a flyer on the player at a camp. this should get decided in camp and friendlies, not on spreadsheets and speculation.

      • Gary: I think you’re thinking of Andy Dorman. i think he had one very good 12 goal year out of 3 in SPL, the others were in line with his MLS numbers. and it’s not like he went from 2 goals a year for the dynamo to league records for SJ (wondo), he picked up 4 goals extra one time. personally i feel like it would be roughly lateral but we generally don’t go there because we are better accepted now and i doubt they offer much pay or transfer. weah went there, played well, they kind of messed him around and wouldn’t buy. relative to what a good american kid is worth, they can’t afford us anymore. we are at best loan players. they can afford our journeymen who slide across in terms of level. my deal is more if someone goes there and dominates — or denmark, or holland, or sweden, or austria, or any of the more prosaic leagues there, they should get their chance and not just discounted out beforehand. that to me is a provable space where snobbery exists. we would rather give zardes 20 chances than a b.2 player like green or AJ up in sweden. it’s an exception to the “form” stuff. not all “form” seems to count.

        to be clear, i’m not saying call in people from the icelandic beer league 5th division. or call in anyone in the SPL no matter their season performance. i’m saying if fairly name brand pool players score 15 goals act like they just did that.

  8. Overall I agree with this list. A couple revisions I’d make
    Defenders – I’d swap out Bello for Vines. Not because Vines doesn’t deserve it, but he just made a transfer to Royal Antwerp and to give him some time with his new club. In addition, we have some cover at LB (Dest, Robinson and Bello) so we’ll make due and make sure to let him know that he isn’t being snubbed and he is fully in the conversation. Personally, I’d like to see Alan Sonora get a look as well, he’s been doing very well at Independiente in the Argentine league. He’s a technical deep-lying playmaker who does work on defense. I know bringing in new players into the pool during crucial WCQs isn’t ideal – but I do think he’s earned it.

    In the midfield – I’d swap out Christian Roldan for Sebastian Saucedo. I know Roldan is a favorite of GB, and he can play a few roles which does have value. But Saucedo has been playing well for Pumas and I think could be a more dynamic player than Roldan. Further, Saucedo does track back and can play in the wings or middle as a playmaker – which can be invaluable.

    Forwards & Goalkeepers – I’d keep the exact same list.

    Also – there was a comment here about not capping players who aren’t close to starting just to make sure they aren’t lured by El Tri. I agree with this sentiment. If its someone who has earned it at this point, and a spot has opened up due to injuries (like Pepi) than I’m all for it. But bringing in a player like J Gomez, whose way down on the depth chart just to play ‘keep away’ is a bad message to send to other prospective dual nationals and to players who have earned the call-up.

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    • this is not a friendly or a little tournament. this is the real deal. you do not leave people off now to bed in. you line up your best healthy 23. if you hear an excuse even vaguely sounding like that for quali, they are lying and don’t want to criticize.

      fwiw the same excuse was trotted out for a few summer players and the reality is, green, who already started, started again, richards, who was in the rotation and may be transferred, was a sub, konrad has a start and a sub, and reynolds sat. the value of bedding in is exaggerated. i half think it was a useful PR excuse for players who got miffed about nations league omission and didn’t want gold cup, missing how it helped 75-80% of the noobs who tried it. moore, hoppe, etc.

      sorry, not how NTs work, and not really effective for the players. to me it only sounds good to people who adore european soccer and find what we do inferior. otherwise what i have seen suggests US soccer is a good platform and if they eagerly chased you based on gold cup it’s weird to say they will flip out over disappearing for quali.

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    • I just can’t the images of how poor Saucedo was in Olympic Qualifying, I don’t think he’s ready for that level, so he’d be a no for me! I think you meant you bring in Bello for Vines, not the other way around!

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      • i was unimpressed as well, but where i’d go with it is he’s not really even played with the NT, with quali starting, and i think we can find 6-8 guys with recent camps or caps who played at least decent, so we don’t need to try a mid cold. i would only take risks on high end dual nationals we are at risk of losing, and do it with a lead on the scoreboard.

  9. Mueller shouldn’t even be listed as a potential option. His productivity has declined so greatly that he’s essentially lost his starting spot at Orlando City. If you want to believe it’s b/c he’s mentally checked out and just waiting to move to Hibs in Scotland, fine, but that wouldn’t make me want him playing for the US either.

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  10. I would make some changes like Richards instead of McKenzie, maybe Mueller instead of Roldan and I’d like to see Ebobissee in there somewhere. Several of the players listed can play either midfield or at5tacker like Reyna and Aronson so I think we should avoid pigeon holing players. My big concern is that Green isn’t called in. Berhalter seems to have avoided him in the past when he could have used him. We need Green’s play making.

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    • Julian hasn’t been avoided, he was in the last full training camp for Nations League and Greg also wanted to bring him in for the GC but Fuerth were just promoted, so it made more sense that he stayed with them for preseason to get ready for the start of the Bundesliga season! I hope Richards is brought in, if nothing else to train with the group and make up for lost time in the summer due to his injuries, but if not I wouldn’t be mad because he’s only played 18 minutes thus far since the Bundesliga season started. Remember, this is only ONE window, the first window for wcq so let’s not get our panties in a bunch if a player here or there misses out

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      • He was on the list for Match as well but got Covid with complications. I think he was back but the German clubs were limiting travel and he wasn’t match fit.

      • Well, it is turning out to be harder than I thought to find rosters from prior US teams. However, for the 2019 Gold Cup, Berhalter brought Arriola, Trapp, Tyler Boyd, Duane Holmes, and Roldan but not Green. I would argue that Green was better than all of those players. Green went to Furth in 2017 and Berhalter was appointed coach at the end of 2017, so the 2019 GC is the first competition where Berhalter could have brought Green and the next chances came in this year’s Nation’s League and Gold Cup. Maybe there are reasons, but even when there weren’t, Green wasn’t brought in.

  11. I agree Pepi should be called. I would also call Jonathan Gomez to train. I would like GB to get a closer look and see if he is the real deal.

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  12. the good news is through some 2020-21 experimentation i begged for, sheer volume of prospects, and some injuries, we’re getting back towards the 2000s era idea of the team as an earned honor for good players, and the favorites are dwindling down to bornstein levels. we could name some other people but there are fewer headscratchers that just don’t even belong.

    keepers are fine and i could see GB doing them. defenders i am personally not a brooks A robinson yedlin fan but it sounds like the coach. i would be a little concerned two or three guys i would leave off might start. i also personally would take cannon not yedlin, that’s about half a decade stale of fashion. mids i again think are well ventriloquized though i personally would move reyna to mid, am not sure williamson is ready, and wouold leave roldan off. i also think based on NT performance aaronson is a wing and not an AM, his AM NT performances weren’t very good. the forwards sound like the coach, more or less, though i expect nico involved somehow, don’t buy pepi gets called to stave off dual national issues because the coach rarely bends, and i’m not sold we call konrad if pulisic is healthy, and aaronson and hoppe make the team.

    i personally would call about 6-8 people different — and i am not so sure pulisic gets out of UK quarantine so easy for this — but like i said, the good news is this is trending more towards a proper battle between people who should be on the edge of the 23 and away from a favorites ensemble. and to smack around the people fanboying the coach like this was all planned, he wins every game late and basically had to reboot his messy team mid-gold cup, you’re overrating how much of this is talent emerging in spite of itself and how much is the coach. how much was he really going to play horvath? williamson? hoppe? moore? where are green CCV EPB holmes, etc.? he lavishes time on dike, zardes, yeuill, etc., and many of his recent finds are pretty much accidents. whoops, steffen dinged his knee, and his replacement is awesome. if you think about it, the replacement was never going to see the field until the blowout friendly. but — truce for now — we are better for it.

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  13. I’m definitely seeing Guzan not being called in anymore. Yes, he’s a veteran but he’s really starting to lack instincts in games.

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    • i thought dating back to last cycle guzan was horribly inconsistent and problematic. bears reminding he was intended to be howard’s successor and he even stepped in his shoes when he went on hiatus. but the pattern i’ve seen of guzan in MLS is he runs very hot and cold. he will make awesome saves one game and ship 3 the next. if you go back and look who was in the net for……England 0-3, some of the games we shipped goals in GC 17, the pair of qualifiers that got klinsi fired, the argie copa semi 0-4, the mexico playoff loss in OT, crappy gold cup 15….flaky to me. there is a reason he was heir to the throne, then shoved back out by howard, then bypassed for steffen. but then one reason we didn’t qualify for 18 is a list of nagbe arriola omar brooks yedlin bedoya type players were just kind of meh relative to expectations.

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  14. if you wanna do pepi my thoughts would be take about 30 in the traveling circus (which i think the intense scheduling tempo supports), roster him for the ES game, and sub him in sitting on a lead. you get the job done but as harmlessly as possible. GB at some point needs to get that a garbage time cap tie serves your long term interests, lets the team generally be about merit, but then uses a riskless part of the games to lock people in who we could lose.

    that being said, if he carries just 23 for all 3 games, and we’re going to use almost everyone, that should be players with some cap history.

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  15. “He is playing with real confidence, and finishing his chances, and if he is ready to accept a call-up and ready to be cap-tied then Berhalter would be foolish not to make it happen”…. This is regards to Pepi….Remember, though, this is Berhalter we are talking about…

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    • yeah, my worry is the coach with the exception of personal favorites like dest or musah almost goes out of his way to either (a) let them shop the other team and/or (b) act like he’s offended we would ever bend pure merit and cap someone early who poses a dual nationality risk. the irony is dest and musah are both works in progress, not much different than these others. some good qualities, some issues.

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    • yeah “remember this is Greg we’re talking about”, the same Greg that led this team to 2 titles in the same summer, but the doubt and pessimism continues for some reason! I’ve come to the conclusion this fanbase will never be satisfied, no matter who the manager is, and history would back that up considering every manager we’ve ever had was hated at some point or another during their tenure!

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      • dude, with the sheer amount of talent we have, we should be destroying teams. not winning 1-0. this is hard to figure out this summer. you have to look at games like switzerland or the 2018 schedule.

        and my point is not clobbering him for the sake of clobbering, but rather pointing out that as a matter of basic fact he wouldn’t give musah one minute to cap tie him this summer. with very few exceptions he does not bend on this issue. that is not a crazed rant. that is fact. ask the man, he would literally admit what i am saying. “i play the people i like, and i don’t race people into games to cap tie them.” well, that has a downside. i am simply pointing out what he does when people want pepi cap tied. pepi will play if he sees pepi as ready. otherwise he will not go out of his way for even a minute of cap-tying-sub. musah this summer. QED.

    • we should be destroying teams with our talent…LOL. Just keep moving the goals to fit your perspective man. Wow, that really made me laugh, thanks IV

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  16. Definitely wanna see Pepi, and if he refuses, call in Robbie Robinson. Those are probably the two most promising young strikers in MLS and both are dual nationals being sought after by other nations and we cannot afford to lose both because Gregg was taking his time working his list.

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    • That’s what I’m nervous about. Both of those 2 strikers are good on the ball and definitely are very capable of moving in and out of the defensive line causing havoc which would free up the attacking wide players. Just don’t know if Berhalter will call them in because they have zero caps, and then we lose out on them.

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      • I don’t like calling in prospects just to cap tie them when they are not really competive for a cap when everyone is healthy (Pepi might be competitive so I can understand him getting called in). I think that is disengenous and the players know it. Away Qualifiers is not the place to throw on a young player with zero caps. I think that’s a recipe for a disaster.
        I also think that’s why it makes perfect sense to bring in Yedlin. He’s been there and done it and will bring experience and a calming influece. We need some players who have Qualifying experience.

      • Ross: ES is almost a home game. i get not wanting to risk games on kids but if you’re up 2-0 or 4-0 with 10′ left (or better) and he plays forward, the risk is exaggerated.

        i also think the coach’s seeming hardline is inconsistent (dest, musah) and leading to a practical problem where kids are steadily walking away, ochoa, akinola, etc. plus this new talk on gomez, robinson, soto, etc. at a point maybe he can’t be so pure or we get nibbled to death.

        personally i think the way to go about this was use the summer to cap tie. but there we wander into the US soccer problem of now every single game is a must win run by a coach who doesn’t want to bend on a minute for even musah. you do that you will lose some people. you may figure out in 2-5 years you should have treated some of them more like dest.

        to be fair, some would argue he’s gotten practical on system. i think he’s basically doing on the job training. so time to learn you need to lock down dual nationals. and if we beat teams 4-0 you can do it at the end of games without risking results. pulisic’s first cap and minutes were the last 9′ of a guate qualifier up 3-0 already……

      • Well yeah, if we are up 4-0 or comfortablly wining I’m all for putting in a player to tie him. I was more meaning starting them in the game. Pepi and Robinson are differnt from Musah and Dest, those two are still prospects where Musah and Dest are much better players. Dest is a locked in starter and many could argue Musah could be as well.

    • El Salvador is not a home game. It’s a very difficult place to play. It seats over 50,000 and over half has a roof that traps in noise. They have had some crowd restrictions but the government is using qualifying as a carrot to get vaccinated and restrictions are expected to be lifted before the match. ES also played pretty well against Mexico at the GC and are actually trying to play football instead of just play physical. The US should win but it likely won’t be a walkover.

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      • i thought they were ruling out home sports events? i thought it was moved here? i guess not.

    • Fifa would not let them hold them in US. From what I heard it was all bluster from the government to encourage people to get vaccinated.

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