Top Stories

Projecting the USMNT November World Cup qualifying roster

87 Shares

As we draw closer to the midway point of the Octagonal round of Concacaf World Cup qualifying, the U.S. men’s national team finds itself in solid position to qualify for the 2022 World Cup, though November’s qualifiers present a challenging task.

Facing Mexico at home in Cincinnati, then traveling to Jamaica to play the Reggae Boyz, the Americans are looking at the real possibility of once again being without two of its best attacking players in Christian Pulisic and Gio Reyna.

Neither standout has seen the field for club or country since suffering injuries during September’s qualifiers, and the delays in the recoveries for Pulisic’s ankle injury and Reyna’s hamstring injury have gone well past the normal time frame, leaving the USMNT to have to start considering other options for the November 12 showdown with Mexico.

The good news is Brenden Aaronson has continued to impress, developing into a reliable starter for Gregg Berhalter as a productive wing threat. Veteran Paul Arriola made two starts in the October qualifiers, with mixed results, while Tim Weah showed some very good signs when he was called upon.

How many new faces, if any, should we expect to see come November? It is tough to see very many, but Joe Scally stands front and center as the leading candidate to earn his first World Cup qualifying call-up. The Borussia Moenchengladbach fullback has continued to start and show well in Bundesliga play, and his versatility would make him a valuable asset, even if he lacks the international experience of some other fullback options.

We could also see the return of John Brooks, who missed October’s qualifiers with an injury. The Wolfsburg defender endured some disappointing qualifying performances in September, but should still be considered a favorite to start when Berhalter constructs the defense to try and stop Mexico’s high-powered attack.

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


Projected USMNT World Cup Qualifying Roster


Goalkeepers


Matt Turner, Zack Steffen, Sean Johnson

Gregg Berhalter’s decision to start Zack Steffen against Costa Rica will have some wondering whether the competition for the number one spot has reopened, but Matt Turner should remain the top option heading into November’s qualifiers.

Turner is continuing to play regularly, whereas Steffen is not, and while you could imagine a scenario where Berhalter splits the November matches, you have to think Turner will get another chance against Mexico after he shut out El Tri in the Gold Cup final.

Ethan Horvath’s lack of playing time with Nottingham Forest has dropped him out of the top three for the time being.

Missed the Cut: Ethan Horvath, Bill Hamid, Brad Guzan


Defenders


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

It will be interesting to see how many defenders Berhalter brings to camp. Will he go with a standard eight, or bring one or two more for cover? Sam Vines is back in action after having been sidelined by injury and should slide into the backup left back spot behind Antonee Robinson.

At centerback, Mark McKenzie could be the odd man out given his lack of consistent playing time for Genk and the fact Chris Richards has finally broken through and made his first World Cup qualifying start. Tim Ream has been in excellent form for Fulham and should also make the cut as a Berhalter favorite.

Will Scally finally get the call? He absolutely should, though right back currently has Dest and DeAndre Yedlin both playing well for their clubs. Scally’s ability to play either fullback spot should earn him a look, but again, it will depend on how many defenders Berhalter decides to call for a pair of qualifiers.

Missed the Cut: Reggie Cannon, Bryan Reynolds, Matt Miazga, Walker Zimmerman, James Sands, Shaq Moore, Cameron Carter-Vickers, George Bello


Midfielders


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

There isn’t likely to be much change in this group, even though the team’s terrible showing against Panama raised some real questions about Lletget and Acosta. It is difficult to see Berhalter suddenly dropping either of them given how important they have been to Berhalter’s plans this year.

Gianluca Busio shook off the knock that forced him out of Venezia’s weekend match, so he should be good to go for November’s qualifiers.

Luca De La Torre narrowly misses out as Berhalter is likely to call in a smaller squad.

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


Forwards


Chuck Burton-USA TODAY Sports

Brenden Aaronson, Ricardo Pepi, Tim Weah, Paul Arriola, Daryl Dike, Josh Sargent

The continued injury issues faced by Pulisic and Reyna have created opportunities for others to shine, and Aaronson has made the most of it, and should be seen as a safe bet to start against Mexico.

Arriola showed well against Jamaica, but struggled against Panama, leaving Berhalter with a decision to make between Arriola and Weah. Arriola has faced Mexico in big matches on multiple occasions, so he likely has the edge for now.

Both Matthew Hoppe and Konrad De La Fuente have struggled for consistent minutes with their clubs, which could lead Berhalter to look elsewhere for some wing depth in November. Tyler Boyd is a name to consider. He has been earning regular time in Turkey. In this roster projection, Sargent operates as a striker/winger option, having seen

As far as striker goes, the Gyasi Zardes injury will open the door for either Josh Sargent or Jordan Pefok to make their return. Sargent has become a regular starter for Norwich City, but hasn’t been able to find the net. He should have the edge over Pefok now that the Young Boys striker has gone cold himself, failing to score a goal in the past month.

The striker to watch for is Daryl Dike, who has been playing well for Orlando City, scoring four goals in the past month. Sargent’s ability to play in a wide role could allow Berhalter to call in Dike as a striker option.

Missed the Cut: Christian Pulisic (injured), Gio Reyna (injured), Gyasi Zardes (injured), Jordan Pefok, Matthew Hoppe, Konrad De La Fuente, Tyler Boyd, Haji Wright, 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. I am stuck watching Cocomelon with my daughter so I am pondering the roster. I think he only brings 23 like at WC since only 2 games this window; essentially 2 deep at each field spot.

    G-Turner, Steffen, Johnson
    CB- MRob, Zimm, Brooks, Ream
    OF – Dest, ARob, Scally, Yedlin
    6 – Adams, Acosta
    8 – Wes, Musah, Roldan, Busio
    Wing – Aaronson, Weah, Arriola, Hoppe
    9 – Pepi, Pefok

    Given injuries and 23 limit, I would prob pick same group except Richards for Ream. Ream was apparently elected by players to the Justice League from what I have read so maybe that is why he usually gets called in.

    Reply
    • Ream, Roldan, & Arriola have NO Place in a 23 man roster at this point. If GGG call’s up 27-30 players I could live with their inclusion in the camp, but not if they step onto the field.
      Drop Ream for Richards or possibly Miazga.
      Drop Roldan for Luca De La Fuente
      Drop Arriola for Konrad De La Fuente

      I’d go with Sargent (even with his lack of production) over Pefok or Dyke….but I could live with Sargent being left off.
      I’d also go with Horvath over Johnson….but being the 3rd string keeper I’m less concerned with Johnson being in the 23 for a 2 game window than I would be if we were going into a tournament.

      Reply
      • Horvath needs to be at the Forest training grounds everyday letting his new manager see his skills. Flying to the US for ten days where he is highly unlikely to play doesn’t help him.

      • @Razor – for this window I’m not opposed to Horvath staying with his club, but if this were a 23 for a tournament or if there were more than 2 games I’d want the 3 best keepers we’ve got….which would include Horvath.
        Right now Turner is likely the # 1 and with Steffen we have a capable # 2….but Steffen has had injury concerns, so if there were 3 games I’d want Ethan to insure we weren’t caught out with injuries. There being only 2 games the risk is less of a concern.

  2. Meanwhile, in Scotland Christian Ramirez scored again. Even though it’s a lesser club in a lesser league, he is really on fire. And CCV just scored for Celtic on a corner kick with a very nicely taken shot taken while running across the front of goal.

    Reply
  3. Zimmerman has been our 2nd best CB in WCQ, have to think he makes it, and maybe starts a game. Arriola, Roldan, Lletget have not performed and it should be time to try someone different this window, let them earn their way back. Ives is right that Arriola has played well against Mexico in the past, so maybe Berhalter brings him. I would replace those three with Konrad, de la Torre, and either Pefok or Dike for a different look at the 9.

    Reply
  4. GB and USsoccer have totally mismanaged Julian Green. He hasn’t been great lately but he was ignored when he should have been given a chance. I’d still rather have him than Roldan and Lletget and Arriola. I’m not sure how you leave Zimmerman out of the mix. I could see leaving anyone of Brooks, Mckenzie or Ream out before him but especially the latter two.

    Reply
    • Agreed!!! How the heck do you leave a guy who sits on the bench on the worst team in the Bundesliga. Free Green!!!!!! Fire GG!!!!!

      Reply
      • You’re right. Why Overlook a German or Dutch 1st division player when we have ROLDAN. He’s been DOMINATING play against our WC advisories and rumor has it that PSG is ready to offer the Sounders Messi and 30M in Cash in trade for his services during the winter transfer window.

  5. I honestly do not understand how Ream, Roldan, & Arriola are even in consideration at this point. All 3 have had multiple opportunities and have left a lot to be desired. It’s past time we moved on from these 3.
    McKenzie & Lletget are 2 others who’s time/chances are running out unless something drastically changes.
    Konrad & Luca are making real strides at their clubs and should replace Arriola & Roldan in the roster. Ream is a dead end and needs to be replaced now with either Zimmerman or Miazga (since Richards can also play on the left).
    I realize Dyke is getting back into a good form, but still would like to see Hoppe at CF at some point. And Pefok is on level terms with Dyke so could easily see him get the nod.

    Reply
    • I’m with you on all of those names. McKenzie name should be mention more with the likes of Arriola, Ream, Roldan and lletget. Its one thing if GGG calls them up but the fact that Ives list them on the roster is a joke at best

      Reply
    • Completely agree with you on all counts. McKenzie’s athletic and a good defender, but he’s a crappy passer. I can live with ONE of Roldan or Arriola if you’ve absolutely gotta bring a high-effort guy, but I’d personally pick Roldan just because he can play midfield or winger and Arriola can’t…but I’d rather not bring Roldan either.
      I really like what Luca de la Torre brings, and have for awhile. If we’re bound and committed to keeping Reyna at right wing – and Johnnyrazor claims his heat maps for the USMNT aren’t that different than the ones at Dortmund and I haven’t seen ’em so I won’t quibble – then we really need somebody else besides Musah who can advance the ball and especially combine through the middle at CM. And I LOVE what I’ve seen from de la Torre in his ability to put in killer balls through the middle, operate in tight spaces, and combine. He unlocks the middle of the field for us and does it in a different way even than Musah.
      It’s obvious Gregg loves him some Roldan and Arriola. But sometimes you’ve gotta make the hard choice, upgrade and let go and Gregg needs to. And Ream’s time with the USMNT needs to be seriously over.

      Reply
  6. I think Ives is pretty close:
    Add: Zimmerman, Luca, Cannon, Nico
    Subtract: McKenzie, Roldan, Yedlin, Arriola
    Gregg has given past contributors chances and it seems Reggie and Nicos turn. Could also see Miazga if Ream declines.
    ——————————
    I’d like to see Ferreira but I think that is more likely to come if qualification is closer to a lock.

    Reply
      • I took this as Ives did “who Gregg will call” not who I would want. Gregg has given everyone else who contributed from GC/NL a chance and now that Cannon is healthy (he had been officially listed out with injury) and playing I think he’ll get a turn. In a two match window as a 3rd RB he may not even play. He’s got more minutes than Hoppe this season.

  7. I know Berhalter loves Ream, but both Mexico and Jamaica have real speed and that is Ream’s weakness. Replace him with someone else (Zimmerman?) and definitely no McKenzie. I also prefer Pefok to Sargent. Maybe Pefok has cooled off, but he is an aerial threat who can make a difference vs. Mexico. Meanwhile, Sargent hasn’t been even warm all season so far.

    Reply
    • Dest struggles to finish in the box, where most wings get their goals from. That’s why when they were down a goal they subbed on a wing and moved Dest back to RB. It’s also why Ajax moved him from wing to RB in the first place. He’s far more dangerous to score and assist from the FB position than wing. Unless of course Arriola is the other option in which case, sure why not.

      Reply
      • Right now with Pulisic and Reyna out we’re way short on wingers. I like Weah but I see him as a super-sub who can turn a game with his speed, especially against tired defenders, and I’ve noticed when you start him you get maybe 60 out of him before he really hits a wall and vanishes.
        So, that leaves Aaronson as your one real quality starter at wing. Unless you’re going to bring Konrad de la Fuente – and Gregg doesn’t seem high on him – do you not think Dest at RW and Scally at RB might not be better than Arriola with Dest behind him? Because Dest can be a little scattershot as a defender.

      • Quozzel, Completely agreed. I would take Dest at wing over Arriola every day of the week if you have a guy with Scally’s talent behind him as RB.

    • Is Dest at RW just a flashy Arriola though? It’s not just the highlight shot he missed Sunday, he’s missed multiple chances that wingers should make. Against Mexico and their high pressure I’d rather have Dest as a deep outlet who can break pressure with the dribble. I’d also be reluctant to drop Scally into USA vs Mexico as his first cap.

      Reply
      • Johnnyrazor…reluctantly, I agree. I’ve seen Scally play three times now and I’m convinced he’s the real deal but he’s also a newb and I’m with you that Mexico is maybe not the place to throw him in. But it’s going to be absolutely painful watching Arriola chase, hustle, run around like a cat with its tail on fire…and then miss sitters, sky shots over the goal, and turn the ball over all around the park because he’s got zero skill with the ball at his feet and can’t pass either. Especially against El Tri. I like Arriola and admire the hustle, I do…but he’s not USMNT material, not anymore, and it’s not all that close.
        It’s still hard to not be impatient when we’ve got this ever-growing generation of seriously upgraded talent…and I’m a big believer in that notion that talent always trumps experience if you are willing to give talent experience. And we’ve gotta get these kids blooded and used to working together. Even against El Tri, I’d be inclined to try to get Scally at least 30…and maybe at that point bump Dest up to RW if we’re (hopefully) starting Weah because Weah will likely be done at 60.
        But of course Berhalter will likely go with Arriola. Sigh.

  8. I think Zimmerman and Hoppe will both be called in. Well, really I think Zimmerman will be called in and I hope Hoppe will be called in.

    Reply
    • Zimmerman gotta be called in. Hoppe not too sure. His club situation sucks right now and I don’t think GgG rates him high. I hope we call him in

      Reply
  9. DLF has been playing every week and not looking out of his depth. Sure, most are off the bench, but he is playing against world-class players. Something, neither Arriola nor Lletget can do.

    Reply
  10. Interesting to so affirmatively write off both Pulisic and Gio. Pulisic seems to be ready to go any day now, and Gio was “2-3 weeks away” as of last week.

    Reply
      • pulisic is individually training now…which is why i said he seems ready any day now. And gio not til november, correct that 2-3 weeks from last week is either very beginning of november or right before the wcq games…either way before the wcq games. I’m not saying we should expecdt them to be starting and going 90 minutes, i’m just saying i was surprised they were both so affirmatively written off as injured and definitely not available in this article.

    • If Berhalter calls Gio or Pulisic he is going to get a lot of angry phone calls from the clubs. I suspect, strongly, neither player is called in.

      Reply
      • I think you are right about this. Doh!! Can you imagine how pissed Dortmund and Chelsea would be to have them both miss the last two months due to injuries picked up in the September window just to make their return in the November window and risk injury again without even playing a minute for their clubs. I think sometimes people forget that the men earn their livings from their club teams. GGG even trying to call them in would probably be a red flag to teams considering signing American players in the future which would ultimately be bad for the program moving forward. IMO, there is more to consider than just this window, but I’m sure many will disagree.

    • On the one hand neither Gio nor Pulisic are likely to be game sharp even if they are fit enough. I’m pretty sure neither BVB nor Chelsea would be happy if they were called in.

      On the other hand, the USMNT really could use 6 points from these two very tough games.

      Perhaps calling them in only for Jamaica would be the best thing

      Reply
    • On the one hand neither Gio nor Pulisic are likely to be game sharp even if they are fit enough. I’m pretty sure neither BVB nor Chelsea would be happy if they were called in.

      On the other hand, the USMNT really could use 6 points from these two very tough games.

      Perhaps calling them in only for Jamaica would be the best thing

      Reply
      • If both are healthy, but still getting into form, will GGG acquiesce and not call in the players he needs to win the games? I think if it was friendlies, of course not.

        These games have his job on the line, at least theoretically! He can’t defer to the clubs completely on this.

        That said, it’s doubtful that these two will be up to the task of playing 90 minutes if they’re yet to even see the benches for their clubs.

Leave a Comment