The roster for the U.S. men’s national team’s World Cup qualifiers against Mexico and Jamaica will drop later this week, and there has been movement in recent weeks that could impact Gregg Berhalter’s final decisions.
For starters, Christian Pulisic is on the verge of returning to action for Chelsea, making him a good bet to be included in the squad. Secondly, Daryl Dike’s continued goal-scoring success in MLS has pushed him front and center into the striker conversation as Josh Sargent and Jordan Pefok continue to struggle finding the net.
Then you have Joe Scally, who has only served to strengthen his claim for a place on the roster. The 18-year-old Borussia Moenchengladbach fullback has started 12 consecutive matches in all competitions for Gladbach, and is coming off one of his best weeks.
These developments have led to some tweaking our projected roster from the one we projected two weeks ago.
Here is the 26-player roster we could see Berhalter calling up for the November World Cup qualifiers:
Projected USMNT World Cup Qualifying Roster
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
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 (injured), Bryan Reynolds, Matt Miazga, Walker Zimmerman, James Sands, Shaq Moore, Cameron Carter-Vickers, George Bello, Henry Wingo
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 has returned to form after suffering a knock that threatened to sideline him,
Luca De La Torre has continued to play well for Dutch side Heracles, but he is a candidate to miss the cut if Berhalter goes with a smaller squad.
Missed the Cut: Luca De La Torre, Djordje Mihailovic, Tanner Tessmann, Christian Cappis, Jackson Yueill
Christian Pulisic, Brenden Aaronson, Ricardo Pepi, Tim Weah, Paul Arriola, Daryl Dike
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 another striker, and while Josh Sargent and Jordan Pefok are both candidates to fill that spot, we’re giving it to Daryl Dike, who is in outstanding form, scoring goals on a regular basis for Orlando City while Sargent and Pefok have struggled to find the net.
Our previous projection gave Sargent the nod, in part because of his ability to play on the wing if needed, but if Pulisic is indeed back in the mix, then Berhalter can turn to a pure striker like Dike.
Missed the Cut: Gio Reyna (injured), Gyasi Zardes (injured), Josh Sargent, 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.