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Projecting the USMNT October World Cup qualifying roster

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It might feel like the September World Cup qualifiers were ages ago, but the reality is the gap between September’s matches and the October qualifiers has flown by, and the U.S. men’s national team could soon be facing some issues that were first created in the last set of qualifiers.

Christian Pulisic and Gio Reyna both suffered injuries in the September matches, and neither has made it back to club action yet. They are both set to miss this weekend’s club fixtures, meaning they will, at best, have one match worth of action heading into the October qualifiers, assuming either is close enough to recovering to be included.

Right now Pulisic appears to be closer to a return than Reyna, and the fact there are three qualifiers in October could lead Gregg Berhalter to call Pulisic in even if he might not be able to play in the first October match, against Jamaica.

The good news is that there are other previously injured players who have since returned to action to potentially help bolster the October roster, including Tim Weah, Yunus Musah, Gyasi Zardes and Paul Arriola.

One thing we have done in these latest projections is include a total of 30 players, and after seeing how the September group of 26 wound up being small for a three-match window, you have to think Berhalter will call up a larger group for the October qualifiers.

The possibility that some UK-based players could be prevented from playing in the Oct 10 road game against Panama due to UK-imposed restrictions could

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


Matt Turner, Zack Steffen, Ethan Horvath, Sean Johnson

Matt Turner enters the October qualifiers as the new first-choice option, though Berhalter could very well choose to give Steffen a game in the trio of matches.

One thing to note is our projection has four goalkeepers. Normally three are included, but if traveling to Panama becomes an issue for Steffen due to UK restrictions on travel to the Central American nation, then having Johnson in camp would make things much easier.

Missed the Cut: Bill Hamid, Brad Guzan


Defenders


Photo by John Dorton/ISI Photos

Sergiño Dest, John Brooks, Miles Robinson, Antonee Robinson, Joe Scally, Mark McKenzie, Tim Ream, Chris Richards, DeAndre Yedlin, George Bello

Centerback will be the position to keep an eye on as we see whether or not Berhalter gives Chris Richards a call. Even with an expanded roster, Berhalter will need to leave someone home and this projection leaves out both Richards and James Sands while including Walker Zimmerman and Tim Ream, who have earned regular call-ups.

It’s tough to see Berhalter call in more than five centerbacks, but you can see him going with a more experienced group for this set of qualifiers, so choosing Zimmerman over Richards wouldn’t be a total surprise. Berhalter could also choose to stick with James Sands over Richards given Sands’ ability to provide cover in defensive midfield (though his struggles in that role against Honduras make you wonder if that versatility is still working in his favor).

At fullback, Joe Scally should absolutely earn a call, and his versatility could help provide some depth at left back, where George Bello struggled in his September opportunity. Berhalter could choose to bring just four fullbacks given the fact Scally and Dest can play on either side, but our projection leaves Bello in for some cover. That said, Berhalter could leave out Bello, and stick with just four fullbacks to give him six central defenders to work with, increasing the chances we’ll see a three-centerback setup again at some point in October.

Missed the Cut: Sam Vines (injured), Reggie Cannon (injured), Bryan Reynolds, Matt Miazga, Walker Zimmerman, James Sands, Shaq Moore, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Kevin Paredes.


Midfielders


Photo by John Dorton/ISI Photos

Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams, Sebastian Lletget, Gianluca Busio, Cristian Roldan, Kellyn Acosta, Brenden Aaronson, Yunus Musah

Will Weston McKennie’s exile end in October? That is a big question heading into the next set of qualifiers. McKennie has found his way back onto the field for Juventus pretty quickly following his September issues with the USMNT, and Berhalter could find it difficult to leave him out for another set of matches.

Gianluca Busio has become a regular starter for Venezia and his steady play in Serie A should earn him a national team return, while Yunus Musah should also be included in the squad as he has started to earn more playing time for Valencia since his return from injury.

One player who could be a surprise inclusion is Djordje Mihailovic, who is on an excellent run of form and is a player Berhalter has shown himself to be a fan of in the past. If Berhalter isn’t happy with the level of creativity in his midfield then he very well could include the CF Montreal playmaker.

Missed the Cut: Djordje Mihailovic, Tanner Tessmann, Luca De La Torre, Christian Cappis, Jackson Yueill


Forwards


Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos.com

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

Will Christian Pulisic make it back in time for the October qualifiers? That’s a big question at the moment, and the fact he still hasn’t returned from the ankle injury he suffered in the September win against Honduras could leave the Americans without both Pulisic and Gio Reyna.

Pulisic should earn a call, even if he winds up only playing in the final October qualifier against Costa Rica, while Gio Reyna appears unlikely to make it back in time for the October qualifiers.

Matthew Hoppe is settling in at Mallorca, and should earn a USMNT return, where he can give the team something different in a wide role. Sargent’s foray in a wide role against Honduras could also see him earn another look there.

The good news on the winger front is that Tim Weah has returned from injury, and is a good bet to earn a call, with he and Konrad De La Fuente giving Berhalter some good options out wide.

And what of Paul Arriola, who is back from injury and one of the more experienced winger options in the pool? He hasn’t been in the best of form since returning to action and just misses out here, though Berhalter could decide that he values Arriola’s experience too much to exçlude him.

At striker,  Ricardo Pepi will be called in, as will Jordan Pefok, leaving us to ponder whether Berhalter might leave out Josh Sargent to make room for the return of Gyasi Zardes. For this projection, we’ll include both Sargent and Zardes, but if Berhalter winds up going with a smaller roster than expected, closer to 25 rather than closer to 30, then he’ll have to leave one of the aforementioned strikers home.

Missed the Cut: Gio Reyna (injured), Paul Arriola, Haji Wright, Daryl Dike, Nicholas Gioacchini, Emmanuel Sabbi


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. No disrespect to Roldan – but I rate de la Torre higher and he’s in great form as well. Would rather he get the call up in this window – can play the 8 or 6 as necessary.

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  2. the GB fanboys on musah are amusing. “he’s a CM, like coach says.” thus typecast the coach then has him picking up splinters. what he actually plays in club is wing, where we have instead used the barely capped konrad, the mediocre roldan, some 9s playing out of position, experimented with sargent…..normally when one goes to the mat over a deployment decision they are defending how the coach “uses” a player and not the squirrel-brained process that helps result (along with an injury) in them disappearing for months at a time. odd.

    and while i realize in theory we have wing options reality is the position is unsettled in praxis.

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    • Clubs and countries often have different needs. Musah has played both positions in his career and openly talks about preferring CM. Valencia was using him as a CM during preseason before his injury. I don’t know they’re roster well enough to know if they will use him again at CM after he is fully fit. The US does not have a lot of CMs that can take the ball from midfield and drive it through the defense. Musah does that and does it well, he needs to improve his final ball off of it but he creates havoc when he does it. We have many wing players playing at high levels. So shoehorning Musah into the wing because his club plays him there puts him in the 6th or 7th spot on the depth chart, whereas playing as a CM removes Lleget from the starting lineup. I guess that’s a personal choice.
      ———————————
      Your argument for playing Musah at Wing is the same argument Berhalter made for playing Adams at RB. Yes Adams can put in a shift at RB but he’s more impactful for the US at the 6. Musah can play as a wing because Valencia needs wings but he’s more impactful for us as a CM.

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      • sorry, no, but the person saying do whatever the coach wants eg adams at RB is the equivalent of musah at CM. that’s you, not me.

      • you are clearly missing my point where if the coach typecasts you at the wrong position then sits you, how on earth is that useful to the team? have you never experienced the basic soccer experience where a team misunderstands you but rosters you, and for a year you have to play out of position as a sub, and then next year you switch back away and the next team plays you correctly, gets you, and you start immediately? you’re missing where him being typecast in this way has not helped us staff up wing optimally, and has not helped him get summer or fall NT minutes. you talk like he’s starting at his new spot when the whole thing is in reality we didn’t even play him the one tournament minute that would cap tie him. even if i gave some credit to what GB thinks, if player x (in theory) struggled at position B in an experiment, common freaking sense would be swap them back to position A.

        all due respect but wasn’t this your argument on aaronson? i was like this kid is meh, no impression as a mid. continues to be true now. you said play him LF. he is actually good there. so maybe listen to me on this one, particularly if typecasting him as a mid costs us wing depth when reyna is out, and particularly if you’re not enthused enough about his supposed real position to actually sub him in there.

      • btw musah has played 5 official games this season, all at wing. last year he played every game wide.
        but you were telling me what they used him at in one game preseason?

        i am not the one shoehorning. you’re the one locking him to a spot under armed guard. i am saying why not try the man wide as he plays every game in club. on what planet is that pigeonholing.

    • You think yourself an intellectual but all you do is look at the decision US soccer makes and then say the opposite. By the law of averages they’ll make mistakes and then you gloat about how right you were. When you’re wrong then you just go silent and pretend you didn’t see it or throw out insults because you have nothing else to say.

      Reply
      • Maybe you can see my hands in the air emoji or didn’t read my comment on the other said that he was never pressured when he had the ball.

  3. I’d like to see Miazga, especially since he’s now a starter in La Liga, over McKenzie, who I think is still a little green on the international level.

    Reply
    • Miazga played the 90 against Athletico Madrid and his team Alaves kept them scoreless in a 1-0 win. Showed good form on a testy team, would be a good addition to the 30. Hoppe did not get any time in Mallorca loss. Weah had a killer assist with David in a Lille 2-1 win. Pefok got another goal (3 straight) for Young Boys in Switzerland. Berhalter need to look at the players in good form right now, and less on the team they play for or their past achievements
      g.

      Reply
      • he should primarily consider how they have looked for the USA, then a basic idea of their talent on an average day, and only after that care how the game went this weekend. otherwise you end up with people touting how the weekend game went against the 17th place team when almost every cap at a spot has sucked or the basic fact that when they were put together at the soccer factory someone forgot the defense chip.

        that’s dest, to be fair. but miazga is similar enough, you’re trying to use club form to distract from how he’s looked when he’s played for us. quit fighting the data. it’s even worse when the coach dropped him. courage of your convictions, unless he is suddenly and consistently dominant for a sustained period of time, your instinct based on cap history and talent is probably sharper than fanboys talking up how you looked against a tired and uninspired atletico that went pear-shaped the minute griezmann came back.

    • i’d rather see zimmermann, if healthy, or CCV or richards. we need defenders who can defend. if we are missing several attacking players and adams then we need the backline to hold. to me people keep missing the magic formula is NL attack (which put up GF) with GC defense (which kept down GA), give or take some guys being hurt.

      Reply
  4. Our players are so frail. No Adams, Puli or Reyna. I do feel for GB a bit because we just can’t get a team together.

    However, if Jason Yueill, a guy playing poorly in MLS right now, who really hasn’t physical tough play well is the answer, or plays a lot then F’em. I don’t care if he knows the system He doesn’t perform it well…so what’s the point?
    Eryk Williamson, and his grit would be a great option right now,,,,but injured of course. We have come so far from the days where if one of our decent players was out it was full panic time….but damn. Keep it FN simple Greg,

    Why can’t we have nice things? Maybe it will be a blessing in disguise. Motivated Mckennie, new blood in Richards, Hoppe w first team, Busio…..but Adams really, really hurts. Sigh.

    Reply
    • i tried to tell people to limit first choice player minutes this summer but everyone wants to see their favorites. as a result the NL team has been playing soccer since late May with little break. it was a short break due to covid, plus summer tournaments, plus a heavy duty club schedule with a couple games a week for teams in europe right now. particularly since we look best when we change players and drop tactics, and still seem in search of how to run us out, i am lost what the value of the summer was other than a trophy case flex. personally i thought GC was more valuable than NL for pointing out overlooked players and that we could potentially play a more defensive set of tactics successfully.

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      • The Gold Cup gave Miles and Matt a platform and they took advantage of it. One can argue that they should have been tested long before then.

        It also showed that Busio needs more “polishing”, although that could also have been determined sooner.

        Other than that it was a waste of time. The USMNT proved that by playing those first three qualifiers like they had all just met and had never played together before. If the US was one of the big boy soccer countries, the players and staff would be having rotten vegetables thrown at them on the street.

        People conveniently forget that the USMNT won the 2017 Gold Cup. That was a big help in World Cup qualifying wasn’t it?

        The manager is too slow and uncertain in his decision making. He stuck with the Yueill/Acosta backing up Tyler plan for too long past the time it was clear that neither one was really adequate.

        Now’s he’s out of time to find alternatives to that particular failed experiment.

        The manager has never shown a sense of urgency about his player decisions and now he’s reduced to throwing stuff up on the wall and seeing if it sticks. Lucky for him Pepi sticks.

        They should still qualify but he has made it harder than necessary.

        He went into qualifying having played 35 games, the equivalent of a club season. He should be fine tuning the USMNT through qualifying. Instead he’s scrambling with basic decisions like best CB, finding adequate back ups for Tyler or having an idea on how to score goals.

    • I’m surprised the injury toll from the last window isn’t getting talked about more. How many times can we come out of a window with 3-4 of our top guys hurt?

      Part of what I found galling about the last window was how many minutes we burned on our top players with little to show for it.

      Reply
      • could be overtraining, could be too many minutes, it is a rough sport and some will get hurt. the arena-berhalter line of coaches (and GB was an assistant to arena when he got started) have this tendency to focus on a favored XI and not develop a deeper depth chart. there are “old shoe” benefits to it but you don’t tend to rotate enough, and if someone is out you tend to get in this hole over calling an experienced mediocrity vs an untested kid because you have spent less time sorting out which players to use at the margins than on who to start. i think we are lucky gold cup went how it did because it provided an almost involuntary second set of interesting options, but if you noticed, few of them have stuck for the coach.

        i think like you suggest we should be monitoring minutes, rotating players, playing a “long game.” the idea is to have a healthy team for the meat of the schedule. i also think not rotating makes you a weaker team eg couva. we have to learn to identify and trust a longer list of people.

        i mean, by this point it should be almost obvious pulisic or steffen could be hurt/out any given window.

  5. What else does George Bello have to do to prove he’s awful? He’s worse than the Bornstein ever was, although I guess since Bornstein was a regular anyway maybe George will be too. In any case, the guy simply doesn’t belong.

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    • Naaaa. Bello isn’t at all awful- he is a promising, talented but very young defender that is inexperienced and not yet ready for international level play. Semnantics? No, there should be a huge difference in the way you judge a player between a teenager thrown into the fray in an international tournament- getting the predictable inconsistent play and… the entire career of a guy who was inconsistent, unreliable over a decade and not quite international level well into his 30s.

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      • I agree. I’ve seen Bello be VERY good. He was probably Man of the Match in the MLS All-Star game ahead of even Matt Turner, looked absolutely dominant against Liga MX’s all-stars…which was as talented or more than Mexico’s national-team roster. So his ceiling is obviously very high…you don’t see that and un-see it. His match-to-match or even minute-to-minute consistency is obviously not there yet but I have zero doubts whatsoever that when (if) he develops to his potential Bello is going to more than belong…he was actually doing a pretty fair Alphonso Davies impression that game. Again, you don’t unsee that.

  6. We’ve got 5 or 6 guys sitting on yellow cards, the UK travel restrictions, he can do 5 subs a game, and we saw how easily players got banged up…
    He should call in 30 players..no reason not to

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  7. The roster is within close range of anyone’s expectations, assuming no injuries before then. A large and resilient roster is needed for October.
    The hard part is player selection for each game, and balancing playing time, and picking who plays away in Panama.
    Jamaica’s game is built on speed, and less on structure, so a nimble defense and counterattack is key.
    Away in Panama or any CA country poses different challenges than playing at home. Like Honduras, look for players who can handle the adversity, and play with tenacity,
    With any luck, Costs Rica will tire by the 3rd game of this break, and good minutes management should equate to a positive result.

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  8. Ream has no future (he was good vs El Salvador but it’s El Salvador), Robinson & Brooks vs Jamaica, Robinson & Ricards next game.

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    • …and McKenzie and Richards v CR. (McKenzie made a sweet thru-ball, passing all 3 lines to Dike, over the summer vs CR). I also would like to see Richards sub for Brooks @ the ‘75 v Jamaica. Get his rhythm going.

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  9. My big problem is at CB. No Ream, we have other players with international experience. Not convinced about McKenzie either. Bring in Miazga and and CCV. I would also prefer Zimmerman over Ream or McKenzie. Bello was pretty unimpressive so Id replace him (Sands?) or just use the spot for another position. Once again I will call for Green and GB will ignore him.

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    • You’d need another LB if you traded Sands for Bello (was Sands really better than George?) I think we’ve seen the Dest at LB isn’t good and Antonee can’t play in Panama so I guess if you bring Scally he could play LB but who’s his backup if gets hurt during the window.

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      • Dest & Scally can both play LB. If you call in a 3rd RB (Yedlin) you have coverage at LB if Bello can’t cut it. Unfortunately we don’t really have other LB options.

    • Ream and McKensie will get the call. Miazga is solid in the air, but just lacks pace with 1×1 defending. CCV hasn’t gotten a call in how long? Not worth the risk.

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    • CCV is 100%…he’s a guy I haevn’t seen and seems to be doing OK so he has to be better than this guy!!!!!!!! Very limited player. Get ready to be dissappointed. If you think Ream is slow at least he can pass. CCV’s lateral movement is really poor, which is why no one in the EPL was really serious about him…..sorry. That’s the reality of him and all of those 100’s of scouts aren’t wrong. Sabbi is another fantasy. Doesn’t even produce that much, has even been benched a few times, and has the vision of an MLS player from the mid 2000’s. His clips look cool the few times he does produce, but no one is putting one together of him running with his head down to nowhere 4 or 5 times a match. That’s for certain.

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      • I’ve long said the key to being popular with US fans is to not get called up. Add EPB to that list with Sabbi and CCV.

      • i want him to stop the other team. i have 6 attacking line players who can do the other half of the job. CCV either wins it or flattens someone, and if you check his US game logs he associates with a lot of low scorelines and good results against good teams. not his fault he disappeared after 2018, and he plays in the same league that “qualifies” a good chunk of his teammates as “prepared.”

      • JR: you’ve long said it because when you’re coach’s pet you love his choices and by definition they got called up. i think his forward line ideas are in the neighborhood of reality. i think his backline choices are whack. they generally favor slick over defense. so the ones who can mark but are slightly sloppier — usually not as much as implied — get dropped. i am fine with bringing back the gold cup people and 2018-era omits who can mark someone. i think the other half of the team can take care of getting a ball in the net if the defense holds them scoreless. particularly with the mediocrities we face this window.

  10. I don’t mind Ream’s inclusion in a camp. He can help prepare our young CBs by being a player/coach. However, I’ll be disappointed if he sees the field, as he is still a liability against speedy players…and we need our young players to gain international experience. I’d therefore include another CB…either Miazga or CCV.
    I just don’t understand the love affair Gregg has with Roldan. Roldan had a decent performance against Honduras…but in the previous 10 international games he was invisible at best and a hinderance most of the time. I’d replace him with Luca De La Torre…who has had limited inclusion but what he had was positive. Green would be another player I’d call in for the 8 position as he could also be deployed as winger if needed.
    With Reyna still sidelined I don’t have any issues with the forward/attacker options, but would possibly include Gioacchini in camp to insure coverage in the event of injury.

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    • The same nonsense was advocated to squeeze Mike Bradley onto 2019 rosters. He didn’t rub off, we didn’t look better or get results, and he usually ended up playing. We looked better as the personnel churned and we found different people to play 6. I also think that using players as claimed “teaching devices” tends to be conservative in nature and promote the coach. “I have a way and he will be my player-coach teaching you guys it.” One could make a fairly convincing argument what we needed from GB was give up on his tactics and select different people. He doesn’t need a “TA” to teach his ideas, he needs to abandon them and wake up. The most dominant US performance of late — Honduras away and CR home — often involved fresh faces playing nothing like Berhalter Ball.

      Far as I am concerned if they can actually coach, retire and become an assistant if you want to stay involved. Otherwise I think we’re exaggerating what wisdom Ream has to impart. And I would make veteran savvy a roster tiebreaker only if you’re still as good as the kid you’re shoving off the roster. Reality is too often people brought on the roster for lockerroom purposes end up playing for real — Wondo. You’re then either up to it or not.

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      • Sort of agree with you guys about Ream… But I do like Ream for CONCACAF away games, where we need more of a mental presence. Yes, relative to the younger 95% of this roster, he does bring that on the field, not only in the locker room. The opposition will probably bunker to begin with. Ream does need cover on the counter, so there’s that. And even if it was a happy/scary/unnecessary accident, I do think GGG stumbled upon something in bringing Robinson off the bench at LB for away games. I start Ream at LCB in a 5-4-1 or 5-3-2 ash setup. Yes to CCV over Mckenzie. Away games to El Tri, Canada, and Costa Rica may be the exceptions.

      • @ IV – I wasn’t advocating for Ream to be included, just saying that if he is called up I don’t want him seeing the field. Unfortunately he will be called up and he will be used.
        @ QuakerOtis – due to UK travel restrictions…Ream most likely wouldn’t be able to be used in Panama…so he’ll likely be used in the 3rd match.

      • @Lost : Failed to consider that. Not sure how. In that case, I’ll do a 180 and agree with others. I think GGG sees the same positives from Ream that I mentioned. I would prefer a 4-3-3 at home against this Costa Rica team, and a quicker CB who gives more on set pieces.

      • QO: there is actually a grey area here. technically UK demands quarantine for red list and EPL/EFL has said they won’t release for red list games. those are not the same thing. the first game is jamaica — not panama — at home, and not away. they have to release for that. panama is the sandwich game in the middle, then we have another afterwards. they are already called at that point, and have another game left. i think technically speaking we could have them play but they would get quarantined 2 weeks on return. realistically won’t happen, but we will get the players for games 1 and 3 if we want.

        to answer your question, the EFL does align with EPL on lower division callups but then there is the grey area i mentioned. we could use at their inconvenience (quarantine) since they are already in camp. we just won’t. but technically if you called them for game 2 alone they could literally say no to red list.

  11. Calling up Sean Johnson (or some other fourth keeper) seems good to me, because if Steffen can’t go to Panama because of UK COVID restrictions, then neither can Horvath, and we can’t go there with only one goalkeeper.

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    • 4 keepers makes sense if you call 30 people and this time properly spread them across the lines. but sean johnson for that job, less sense. i expect you’re right, but if we weren’t picking him circularly because he’s been picked before and hoped to be something, i don’t know if he would be the next one we’d choose.

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      • Exactly let’s look at Johnson’s national team stats since club form which is such an absurd weekly roller coaster. Let’s see Johnson 9 appearances 8 clean sheets, 1 goal allowed. Hmm, well let’s try someone else Horvath 7 appearances 2 clean sheets 6 goals allowed. Well that’s interesting I can see why Johnson’s stats would offend you.

      • you’re a devil’s advocate clown. seanjean’s last US cap was 2/20. seanjean is like the epitome of the “camp cupcake starter,” which covers like 6 of his 9 caps. those games have not usually been hard contests, and he has barely had to make saves. he has not proven he can hack the level whatsoever, and U23 would suggest otherwise. that is not the same as mexico in a final, or keeping italy close, or tying portugal. that is not the same as the actual insane saves horvath made. on what planet do you live. one guy has played awesome with some consistency issues. the other guy is roster filler who never had to play anyone hard at all. come back with some oranges to compare.

      • IV – you are the one advocating to ignore club form (ad nausem in this thread alone) and go off what players do in the Nat shirt. You can’t have it both ways and cherry pick. It’s kinda shocking to see you actually try to pull this off here.

      • i don’t see how the laughers johnson and hamid gave up to ES U23 in that elimination loss are “form.” and for johnson that’s about the only big game i have ever seen him play. and it went bad. trying to claim that a few “january” games in net are “form” is laughable. that is tryout camp. he stands around in net while we beat some poor B team in a non-window game. to be fair, he’s not really been given an A team test. but then that’s my point. he’s no more tested in a real sense than any other 4th keeper we could theorize.

        at which point, based on club stats, he wouldn’t be in the first few considered, if we treated it as a merit job and not just a kingly succession where the fact we once thought you were the future means you are the next keeper up……guzan, who similarly flamed out. if this was on merit, melia, frei, and a few others are better keepers. you can make fun of me all you want but turner’s league GAA suggested he would be good.

    • Soto scoring against Panama reason for call up, Ferreira eating up TnT (most of the players literally had not played a competitive match of any kind in a year due to Covid) reason for call up. Johnson oh his caps don’t count because they’re in January and did you forget that youth game 9 and a half years ago.

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      • you’re missing some not-so-subtleties here. first off, if you looked closely at my proposed call sheets lately, i haven’t been suggesting soto. i like the kid but i can think of 3 better 9s with NT proof of concept this year, pepi, pefok, etc. unless we have an injury rash, maybe next cycle. so i am not even sure where that’s coming from anymore. second, you’re conflating standing around in the net for an uneventful tail kicking as “form” akin to a kid scoring 2G 3A other end of the field. you’re missing that one player is actively performing while the other is along for the ride. all due respect to your lameness, but ferreira and soto can at least point to some game that went well because of them. johnson i dare you to name some game where he actually had to play well. and hamid actually helped lose ireland. third, rumor was ferreira was going to make one or both summer teams til he hurt his shoulder. fourth, if you have never had to make a “positive” case to be included, then there is no proof of concept any different than a rookie. you’re basically making the “ream” experience argument. yes, johnson has played more. only in circularity does that mean you should make the team next time. you can then argue we need to trust experience but horvath, turner, moore, robinson, pepi all suggest we overrate that value.

        like i said, on a basic level, if we zapped the cap history and just went on talent and club GAA, no one would be proposing either guzan or johnson. and while i grant johnson has been around the edges of camp for years, he has never been used in a tough game and won it for us. he’s been around because he’s been around. this cycle has been a useful negation of experience for its own sake. talent matters more.

  12. As other posters noted this lineup is unbalanced as it has too many forwards disguised as midfielders. One easy solution is to drop Pulisic. The qualifiers are almost upon us and if he hasn’t managed to get back on the field with his club we should just leave him to recuperate. The last thing we need is for our best player to be playing scared and, given his rotten luck with the national team and injury, who wouldn’t be?

    Also we don’t need Zardas and Hoppe and Sargent and Pefok, and Pepe. Unless there are no limits on how many we are allowed to call (or can afford to have travel) then GB needs to make a choice and leave one home.

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  13. Julian Green just drew a red against Bayern. He beat Bayern’s backline and was going to be in on goal and got hacked down in really gnarly fashion from behind. Was subbed off, dunno if he’s 100% or not.

    Bayern still beat Furth 3-0…and added another goal after the red. Kind of embarrassing.

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    • From what I know, it looks like Furth isn’t serious about staying up unless they make a lot of additions during the January window. Be that as it may, calling a 3-0 loss to Bayern embarrassing, even with a man up, seems a bit excessive given Bayern’s strength. The last 2 times Bayern has played Barcelona, they have won 3-0 and 8-2. I would be willing to guess that no team has outscored Barcelona by 9 goals over 2 games in forever.

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      • For Furth to keep it to 3-0 is an accomplishment. Bayern could beat them by 6-9 goals. One of the embarrassments of the Bundesliga is how teams like Furth and Armenia Bielfeld are allowed to “compete” with Bayern.

        That’s like asking Kansas State to compete with the Kansas City Chiefs.

  14. Not writing Sargent off entirely, hope he finds some goals, but maybe he needs to “gel with his club” and “find his form” before joining the national team again. I’d bring Wright or Gioacchini, or Dike perhaps, as bench options over Sargent. Ives is probably right about who GGG will bring though.

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    • I agree. I’d personally go with Gioacchini myself. He’s got some real quality, IMHO. I’d have to be persuaded on Wright and see he’s made some real strides since last I saw him. His touch seemed awfully heavy.

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      • And to be clear, Gioacchini is an attacking option for the final 15 minutes. He seemed to get lost in The System when asked to start on the right, but he fits my favorite American sports cliche — “Brings an X Factor off the bench.”

  15. At forward I would push Dest up there as a wing, call Musah as a wing and not a mid, and call Nico and Ferreira. Leave off Zardes, Konrad, and Sargent.

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    • Also, Aaronson is a wing forward and not a mid. As is Musah. At mid, call Green, Holmes, and Tessmann. Drop Yueill and Roldan. Ferreira can also double as an actually effective AM.

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      • At back, I think A Robinson earned his way out of my doghouse for the time being, but whose leg does Moore have to hump to get out there? Call CCV, Richards, and Scally. Dest to forward but can be an emergency back. Drop the nervous Sands, Ream, Brooks, and Yedlin.

        At keeper, the first 3 are fine but Melia instead of Johnson. Much better numbers. Frei’s are even better but not betting an emergency keeper slot on someone barely back from a knee problem.

      • Roldan is better than I’d like to give him credit for, and his game and domestic player status make him a shoe-in for Panama. May even start under GGG. Tessman has played a little for Venezia… but I don’t know that he would bring more than Roldan in a CONCACAF qualifier. I’d love to bring Green in, but I don’t know who would be sacrificed given the need for travel to Panama.

      • Something like

        Pepi
        Aaronson Acosta Ferreira Dest
        Adams
        A Robinson M Robinson CCV Moore
        Turner

        Bench
        Pefok Hoppe Weah McKennie Lletget Green Zimmerman Richards Bello Scally Horvath Steffen

    • @ THE IMPERATIVE VOICE, Respectfully disagreed on Ferreira. Not impressed with Ferreira at all. Despite Sargent is in a slump, but between Sargent and Ferreira, it’s a no brainer that I’d take Sargent on any day.

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      • I think he’s saying Ferreira as a #10 which I would be for but that would mean a system change as we’ve been playing with 2 8s. I fear Ferreira would have the same problems Aaronson had when playing as an 8 against ES. Berhalter wants 5 guys across the front so finding a way to do that without negating better players than Ferreira to fit him in.

      • @YODA, If you’d like to use this argument that “Sargent doesn’t score anywhere”. Let’s look at the facts. In the 2021-2022 season, Sargent has scored total 4 goals. 2 goals in EFL Cup for Norwich and another 2 goals in 2 Bundesliga for Schalke. Jesus Ferreira has scored 6 goals total for Dallas FC this season, not exactly prolific to me. Have you seen how Ferreira performed during the Olympics qualifications?

      • ferreira was going to make GC but was hurt. ferreira had 2G 3A on TnT last winter. ferreira is not a typical 9 but to me combines well with other players in a more withdrawn way. ferreira is on like 4G 3A his last few MLS games, for those club form obsessives. dude to me is an underrated connecting player. to me not everyone needs to be the scorer, you want some players who set the others up.

      • sargent hasn’t scored in TWO YEARS at which point trying to deconstruct ferreira’s huge scoring toll LAST WINTER seems strained. the whole deal, to me, is it’s a production position and the sheer amount of faces who came in and produced since he scored last. soto! nico! hoppe! ferreira! pefok! etc. at a point of you being the only one who doesn’t produce, even if my idea doesn’t get the nod, yours shouldn’t either. and i say this as someone who was on the sargent bandwagon 3 years ago. my issue is he has barely registered since he got handed all those starts, and he isn’t playing defensive mid or keeper where that is “ok.” the offense funnels to him. it’s not good if it’s usually his sub who scores. that says something.

      • i don’t think he’d play poorly wide. i think his runs forward are….wing type runs. i think what dest can handle is defense. what typically happen with fast wide players is the ones who can mark someone become wingbacks, and the ones who like cheating up become wings. he has the speed, dribbling, and creativity to play wing. he lacks the defense to play back. play him where his skill set works and where his weaknesses don’t cost us.

        fwiw i have said if we got rid of the crap defenders dest would survive but brooks and ream wouldn’t. dest has other uses. they don’t. dest to me can be like FJ or yedlin once were. and particularly if pulisic and reyna are out, we could use some creative roster ideas as well as bringing back some cut players eg hoppe, or trying sargent wide where he can use his skill but his physical timidity is less problematic.

    • So cute you see Musah as a wing when he’s perfect as the connector/presser as an 8. He’s the can break pressure with the dribble that doesn’t exist in the MF. I understand Reyna is hurt but even minus him wing forward is by far our deepest position so yes let’s play him there instead one of our most shallow Creative CM.

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      • dude, i am saying play him where he plays club. that’s not cute, that’s common sense. you’re the one saying play him where GB typecast him — then dropped him. and while we lack adams at mid, wing is where we will have more absences to fill, both sides. worth noting also that to the extent moving him inside allowed us to play him and reyna same time, without reyna we don’t have that concern.

        you’re also basically contradicting yourself in terms of recent discussions about moving reyna or pulisic to CM — which i have advocated. for them it was like we need them wide. they are out but now we need musah middle. ok, whatever.

  16. Vines’ collarbone there is no way to get around, and I wouldn’t risk Reyna’s hammy. But Pulisic’s absence may include some degree of club politics and Moore is basically a healthy scratch. “Hurt” is different than “form.” One should be avoided and is an explicit exception to required release. The other is letting Chelsea or Tenerife tell us how to treat a player their coach has some issue with. Do we have that same issue? Did we hire their coach? No. Not our problem. We badly need to get out of the deference business, “I need to do summer club training,” how did that work out? Not good it seemed. About everyone who played that card is on loan now, wow, I am glad we deferred to Roma and Bayern on letting them kick the tires and decide they could give zero effs. “Club form.” Lot of people picked on that basis sucked. Lot of people left off on that basis started playing well. Absurd weekly roller coaster, pay attention to constant talent and not weekly spreadsheets. “He’s out.” Is he hurt or cross-ways with Tuchel. One is a real issue. The other is their concern and not ours. One of the problems with the UCL fanboy stuff is getting the two teams twisted.

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