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McKennie, Pulisic headline USMNT squad for January-February qualifiers

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Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie and Sergiño Dest are among the top names headlining the U.S. men’s national team’s 28-man roster for upcoming World Cup qualifiers against El Salvador, Canada and Honduras.

Gregg Berhalter has called in a larger-than-normal squad for the first qualifiers of 2022, beginning with the January 27 home qualifier against El Salvador in Columbus, Ohio.

The squad is a good mix of European-based players and MLS players, and features the return to the full squad of Jordan Morris, who is back from injury.

Tim Weah is in the squad after recently recovering from injury, while DeAndre Yedlin made the cut after recently playing his first club match in a month this past weekend.

Midfielder Luca De La Torre and fullback Brooks Lennon are among the fringe options brought in, along with young Chicago Fire goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina, who is the fourth goalkeeper in a group that features Zack Steffen and Matt Turner.

Among the players left off the roster are Gio Reyna, who has yet to return to action with Borussia Dortmund since resuming training for the injuries that have kept him out since September, and John Brooks, who was left off in favor of Mark McKenzie in central defense.

Among the other players who missed out are fullbacks Joe Scally and Sam Vines, with Berhalter bringing back Reggie Cannon along with DeAndre Yedlin at right back, with Dest looking likely to feature at left back at some point during the upcoming qualifiers.

Here is the full 28-player roster:


USMNT World Cup qualifying roster


GOALKEEPERS: Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 9/0), Gabriel Slonina (Chicago Fire; 0/0), Zack Steffen (Manchester City/ENG; 26/0), Matt Turner (New England Revolution; 13/0)

DEFENDERS: Reggie Cannon (Boavista/POR; 22/1), Sergiño Dest (Barcelona/ESP; 15/2), Brooks Lennon (Atlanta United; 1/0), Mark McKenzie (Genk/BEL; 8/0), Chris Richards (Hoffenheim/GER; 6/0), Antonee Robinson (Fulham/ENG; 15/3), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United; 15/3), DeAndre Yedlin (Galatasaray/TUR; 71/0), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; 23/2)

MIDFIELDERS: Kellyn Acosta (LAFC; 45/2), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig/GER; 22/1), Luca de la Torre (Heracles/NED; 4/0), Sebastian Lletget (New England Revolution; 33/8), Weston McKennie (Juventus/ITA; 28/8), Yunus Musah (Valencia/ESP; 11/0), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders; 30/0)

FORWARDS: Brenden Aaronson (Red Bull Salzburg/AUT; 15/5), Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 42/8), Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas; 5/2), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders; 40/10), Ricardo Pepi (Augsburg/GER; 7/3), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG; 42/17), Tim Weah (Lille/FRA; 18/2), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew; 66/14)


What do you think of the squad? Who are you happy to see included? Who are you disappointed to see miss out?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. GB suggested in an interview that there is a contingency player list on standby for covid tests or injuries. so he may extend beyond the 28. i take this as the default travel roster.

    Reply
    • Yeah have to assume they are players who were in Phoenix though. Bringing in Euro based players doesn’t make a lot of logistical sense unless the positive case is in the next day or so.

      Reply
      • we had this discussion previous windows. the MLS players have moderate preseason fitness. a euro might be jet lagged but more game fit. the euro player likely wouldn’t get much practice, but i don’t think they got much anyway. it’s kind of fly in, kick the ball around once or twice, play game, hop plane, repeat. if we had, say, a private jet ready, you could have a european here in only a few more hours than a MLS player would take, better game fitness and sharpness. likely better player. heck, since the 28 man already presumes depth i’d rather have the better contingency show up for the 3rd game than the worse one immediately for the 2d.

        re your logistical sense, often enough we have known before game 1 some player is positive, carrying a knock, card trouble, unfit, etc. i can wait until that reaches crisis proportions or i can go ahead and trigger my contingency. we have tended to wait until concern peaks. eg if pulisic shows up fresh off covid or an ankle with limited fitness, an extra LF should already be called. don’t wait for the dominoes before covering your bases.

      • That’s kind of adorable that you think USSF just has a private jet stocked with Pepsi Max available to pick up Ethan Horvath. These guys fly commercial.
        ———————————
        Could it still happen sure. I was just letting you know it probably won’t. Just be glad LDT was the contingency for Busio or Yueill would be in camp.

  2. Well Pulisic should be well rested since he is hardly playing for Chelsea these days (o minutes, last two games). Have to believe Chelsea will be looking to move im

    Reply
    • Thank you Chelsea for resting Pulisic so he is fully ready for this compressed 3 game window. And thanks to Augsburg for limiting Pepi to about 55 minutes this weekend, and to Leipzig for limiting Adams to 30 minutes. Juventus, on the other hand, had McKennie carry an excess workload, playing every minute of four games the past two weeks, including 90 on Sunday. This roster can beat El Salvador at home in the cold without McKennie.

      Reply
  3. “You have to press as a team so IMO Zardes compliments them much better than Pefok or Dike because he doesn’t force them to lose that part of their game.”

    Okay.

    However:

    Is pressing the only reason the USMNT is better than these three teams? I don’t think so and I don’t necessarily agree the whole thing falls apart if say Pefok is there instead of Gyasi. There are pluses and minuses to everything and I think that the pluses from a Pefok/Dike type could possibly outweigh the pluses brought by a Gyasi.

    Right now if these games turn into winter wonderlands that tends to eliminate a lot of tactical considerations for BOTH teams and aerial supremacy could become vital on set pieces.

    It’s hard to press on ice.

    Now forechecking? That’s fine but I don’t know if Gyasi skates well.

    Reply
    • We have Wes for set piece headers. Seems weird but that seems to be how he scores most of his goals.
      —————————————————
      The argument against Zardes seems to be his goals aren’t pretty enough because he does score goals. He has 8 goals the last 2 years for the NT.

      Reply
      • “We have Wes for set piece headers. Seems weird but that seems to be how he scores most of his goals.”

        Best to have more than one focal point on set pieces.

        Why weird? Going back to his Schalke days, it seems to me Wes has always been a pretty credible aerial threat. And he’s been great in the air in Italy, possibly because he gets better service.

        And as much as I advocate the possible need for an aerial set piece threat in the upcoming games, the USMNT sucks at set pieces. Mostly it seems like they don’t have a decent dead ball artist. They have Acosta and Lleget taking them. Acosta used to be great at it, not anymore. Lletget should be banned from taking them.

      • Just weird in that he isn’t super tall. He obviously has a great vertical but also seems to have a good knack at timing his jump.

      • JR,

        There is a very long list of guys such as Wayne Rooney who aren’t super tall but are killer in the air.

        It’s like rebounding in basketball . Being 7’3″ helps but rebounding is mostly about anticipation, vision, timing , strength, aggression and athleticism. Barkley was what 6′ 6″?

        Clint, Landon and Pulisic were/are all great aerially. Clint is 6’1″, LD and Pulisic are about 5’8″. Gyasi is 6’2″ and is not as good in the air as the other three. I don’t have a problem with Gyasi and his awkwardness but Pefok is better about constantly being in the box. He’s always there. and that changes the game.

        If you watch Weston recently with Juve, his anticipation and timing have been wonderful and he’s been good at finding space for himself. He’s also very aggressive and attacks those crosses. And he gets crosses with Juve that he didn’t get from his guys at Schalke and doesn’t get from Lletget, Roldan or Ariolla. The USMNT has historically been pretty lousy at crossing and this edition is no different.

        So his aerial superiority is only now coming into prominence.

    • i thought the second window and specifically jamaica and panama were a refutation of the idea that playing worse players for pressing traits made this work better. we had players out there who couldn’t create or finish and only occasionally won something chasing people around. panama in particular often ran right past our press. to me it’s punch-down tactics that work on lousy teams. also, the teams i watch that truly press, like, say, italy, it’s a full team effort, not just some forwards and the 6. like they are sitting not just on the defender on the ball but his immediate passing options. nowhere to go plus a swarm plus a man about to slide tackle you. if all i have to do is pass out of the press then all you’ve done is sped up my tempo. personally i prefer solid, ungimmicky defense and you see where as the backs have been swapped out and adams healthy this has become a points machine.

      Reply
      • Weah-Pepi-Aaronson
        McKennie-Adams-Musah
        That’s the lineup from Jamaica what are you talking about? The home match was the same with Arriola for Weah and won 2-0. Yeah everyone would love Reyna and Pulisic out there but they weren’t available.
        ——————————
        No one wants to see the Panama lineup again. Please see the 20 comments on the subject below. Throwing Arriola next to Pepi and Pulisic fine. Acosta next to Adams and Musah fine. Zardes between Aaronson and Weah fine. Lleget and Acosta in the MF with Moore and Bello bad bad bad, literally nothing Weah and Musah could do to with that lipstick on that pig.

      • i am talking about the home game we won 2-0 in a grinder with arriola at right wing after being tied scoreless at the half when i believe they were close to or bottom of the standings. i am talking about the team we beat 4-1 last march and 3-1 the previous gold cup. case you haven’t noticed about every result from Canada NL game 2 through the gold cup summer has tightened up in quali. what that hints about his selections and tactics speaks for itself.

      • 17 shots for the team, a text book red card drawn by Arriola in the first minute another obvious red card let slide later when Arriola nicely played Aaronson in. Arriola made the correct run that freed the space for Dest to cross to Pepi for the first goal. Played one non regular win 2-0, and Arriola played well and wasn’t in anyway responsible for the lack of first half goals. He flubbed a half chance in the second but he created several chances by turning Jamaica over.

    • Dude! Really??? We’re ten days out, it’s pretty easy to see what the weather is going to be, and what it’s not going to be. It just does not look like they are going to be playing on any frozen tundras, not in Columbus, Minnie, or Toronto. It’s gonna be cold, for sure Zardes has a more than solid strike rate for a guy who has played a large portion of his men’s team career as a wide mid. It’s a pretty decent rate, even if he had played all games at striker, which I’m sure you know he hasn’t,

      Reply
      • Cbus and Hamilton do not look bad right now, but have you seen the latest forecast for St. Paul? It’s looking more like snow at some point during the day if not at game time. There’s also the possibility, albeit low, that it changes to rain or freezing rain at some point. Bottom line, I’m expecting it to be slicker than snot out there frozen tundra or not.

      • OldNSlow way too early to predict weather in upper Midwest in the Winter. Forecasts up here aren’t worth a thing until a day or two before.

  4. this team is likely to qualify no matter who he calls, the pool’s that improved. we should be first place in a walk and if this is work at all it’s underperformance. canada has good kids? mexico used to be good? we should be better than both. that this is even a contest says GB is undercooking it. the system and the weird selection process will be why it’s even a debate. the problem is despite all the big talk about improving the team’s ceiling when you get down to it people are content to just qualify. the only way you get fired is to implode and lose a bunch. if we want a higher ceiling and better results we have to be more picky about what the coaches accomplish. bar has to go up. that he’s very safe sitting 2nd with a first place team says we still have the old mentality. says we’re content to squeak qualification and have this guy blow world cup games with the wrong choices. you play a world cup team with the wrong people one time and you will go out. ask bob bradley.

    Reply
    • But seriously what country would fire a manager that won two continental competitions, is in second place (and as you stated well positioned to qualify), and has beaten their biggest rival in three straight? Certainly people need to be held accountable but you’re saying his job should be in trouble because he isn’t moving us further in a WC that hasn’t happened yet.

      Reply
      • for starters, the general understanding of gold cups is the first one in the cycle is the more serious one and the second is experimenting. as such the first one tends to more accurately reflect quali results and quality. last cycle we finished 4th in the 2015 gold cup then 5th in quali but 1st in the 2017 gold cup (right before couva). ok, 2019 gold cup we took 2d and that’s where we sit right now. the second tournament in the cycle misleads, and we notably have dropped a few of the good players who helped achieve the summer wins (pefok, hoppe, moore, horvath, etc.). that plus injuries and glitches and it’s not the same standard.
        your counter-argument begs the question. the women, with the exception of this cycle, usually fire coaches who struggle at all. that is part of how they maintain their standard. they don’t wait until they blow up completely. we wait until we suck which correlates with middling effectiveness. we tolerate mediocrity.
        moyes’ record at ManU was 27W 9T 15L. solskjaer was 91-37-40. klinsmann was 25-9-10 at bayern in 3rd place!
        it is actually routine at top clubs to fire a coach who does “OK” but not up to the desired standard.
        IMO international coaches who do “just enough” are often fired, just at the end of the cycle. at least part of my concern here is the fanboys backing GB not only get him through this underperforming cycle but get him 2026 as well. GB is a poor coach with suboptimal selection and tactics meeting an unusually great development cycle. it would be a shame if he got to ruin this “class” for their whole international career. at some point we have to acknowledge the problem where we talk like we want better but then ultimately settle for being a team content to qualify and have a quarterfinal ceiling.

      • Club coaching is a completely different animal. If you’re Bayern and your brand is we win everything 3rd place isn’t good enough and they have the money to make abrupt changes. Smaller clubs have to make quick changes because the immense amount of money lost from being relegated forces their hand.
        —————————
        USWNT has fired coaches twice after serving less than 4 years. Greg Ryan after finishing 3rd at the WC because he benched Hope for Scurry in the semis. Tom Sermani after finishing 7th at the Algarve Cup. Sermani is the only one to not get an Olympic or WC run. Had Gregg finished 7th at the GC we’d be debating Bob Bradley’s lineup right now. Again whether you like the aesthetic or not he’s winning, thus he’s not going to be fired.
        ———————————
        I never like a NT manager staying a second cycle. It seldom works.

      • JR

        “Certainly people need to be held accountable but you’re saying his job should be in trouble because he isn’t moving us further in a WC that hasn’t happened yet.”

        His job should be in trouble because his team doesn’t perform consistently.

        And they don’t perform up to the level of the available talent, especially when you consider how much better they are than their opposition.

        It’s like the Cowboys winning the NFC East with a 12-5 record. Six of those twelve wins are barely legit since they come against the NFC East. Maybe they should institute a handicap system in such cases.

        This team does does not perform consistently well because they are poorly coached and poorly organized.

        Qualification should not be in doubt. In spite of everything, they have 15 points and have 6 games left against teams they should wipe the floor with. Canada, probably the most realistic threat to the USMNT just lost their best player to COVID. Mexico have been effectively de-balled. Costa Rica are the only team in this tournament who would be collecting Social Security if they were Americans.

        The won/lost record is great but that’s an illusion. It was compiled against non entities, teams that the USMNT often could make mistakes against and start off poorly against but who were too weak to maintain the gift they were given by the USMNT. It will be different in Qatar.

        USMNT fans should not be nervous but they are. It’s not just me. They are nervous because they’ve seen this manager’s act for three years and are afraid that at any moment, he may pull one of his “searching for width” deals and blow the whole deal, which, mathematically, is still possible. Everything about this manager’s USMNT record looks like it is a castle made of sand.

        I posted that I wanted him fired after he lost the “Lovitz” Gold Cup final. Everything he’s done since has convinced me that I was right then.
        Still, he’s not going to get fired and they almost certainly will go to Qatar.

        I think he’ll be in charge of the team until the end of 2026. But no matter how long he stays, his tenure will have been time wasted for the best and largest group of young high level talent this team has seen.

        What a shame.

      • And part of my point is that retention/firing by the same low “bar” encourages the same mediocre results. A coach facing higher expectations might be more practical about their system and selection, and quicker to implement whatever it is they are trying to do. GB to me acts like someone handed the job through 2026 no matter how it goes. If it sucks well the system takes a while to implement. like longer than any soccer system in history.

        The snobs also ignore that this has long since become another 2nd cycle Klinsi/ Arena clunker with too much of the offense chosen to chase as opposed to score. Like the idea was this would change our soccer. This is kind of turning back into closer to what it always has been. At which point either (a) the snobs should insist on a more pure attacking formation or (b) guys like me would want a formation and tactics that fits a counter team. But we have long since abandoned the missionary concepts he was supposed to implement in some project, and most of the rest of the region is already parroting 433 anyway. So I don’t see the value in protecting him to protect the project. The project either “never really was” or long ago stalled. Like Klinsi showed up spreading things out then turned into an empty bucket.

        I would have done it before quali and I think if we had guts we’d do it once qualified but before the tournament. But my long term concern is we not carry on this pretend project with low accountability too much of these players’ careers.

  5. I think that’s the question. We can’t play with a Acosta, Lleget, Roldan midfield and expect to score. It just will not happen. We saw it in GC and in Panama.

    Reply
    • At WC only get 20 field players and games are spreadout enough that you expect your best players to play every game if needed. Essentially a backup at each position. I expect most of the roster is set already barring injuries (which is unrealistic because prob 2-3 players will miss due to injury). I think he rounds out the roster by trying to be 2 deep at each position in multiple formations so direct player to player comparison may mot be ultimate decider. Right now Adams, Wes, Musah, Busio, and Acosta would go with 6 spot up. It wont be both Lletget and Roldan and somebody could overtake Busio and Acosta but it wont be Lletget or Roldan. When you have 3 games in 7 days, you are limited. Busio isn’t there because he has COVID. LDT, from what I can tell is playing a lot of 8 now which helps him. He doesn’t play with a 10 and I think he thinks he should be able to play his preferred 4-3-3 against all 3 of these teams, which he should.

      Reply
      • “At WC only get 20 field players and games are spreadout enough that you expect your best players to play every game if needed. ”

        spreadout?

        I don’t know about that.

        In the 2018 WC, France , the winners, played 7 games:

        Group:
        June 16, June 21, June 26.
        Knockout rounds
        June 30, July 6, July 10
        Final
        July 15

        It does not look like the games are spread out. That’s 7 games in one month or a game every 4.3 days for the Champions.

        Pull you hamstring in game one and you could be out , or at least very limited, for the entire tournament. That’s why fitness, depth and player versatility have long been important in the WC.

        Also, the games are high intensity so discipline is huge. Cards are a huge deal.

        I don’t know the schedule in Qatar but I don’t imagine it will be very different. A big difference in Qatar will be it happening in season as opposed to just after the season.

        Traditionally, players showed up banged up and worn down.
        Whether the scheduling affects the rate of injuries will be a fascinating study.

    • Yeah, and I’m not saying that You can’t bring one or even two in a situation where you have an unlimited roster… but you have to bring guys like Busio… its not even a situation where you can say he didn’t play well for the nats previously. He is solid.

      Wait, I’m hearing reports of COVID. Ok, that would explain Busio. Tessman then. I trust his time at Venezia more than what I have seen of those three.

      Reply
    • There is no way on God’s green earth Berhalter would trot that midfield out there together again. I’d be surprised if any of the MLS midfielders start a game tbh, bc they haven’t started one since the Panama game, and they are not in form(which baffles me as to why they’re here to begin with). At the end if the day whomever Greg puts on the field needs to get it done, this is a critical window and we can’t afford to take a step back.

      Reply
    • ES and honduras home should be 6 points and this is a huge window to get a ton of points because the last window won’t be easy. the offense should be better than this. a good chunk of that is continuity eg the mids and arriola, but another chunk is his new found ferreira obsession or calling DLT for inexplicable reasons. he comes across like some yanks abroad fanboys because DLT has been a fascination for them on his interesting resume but never does anything and ends up moved on to the next team. to me being in holland is slippage for him from where he was. i’ll be curious if he keeps a job in holland adding nothing productive. feel like he’s like hyndman where if he came here he’d be exposed as a journeyman level MLS player. on history or productivity it should be holmes or green. if i gotta risk do we advance i want it on someone who’s scored on belgium or france and not someone who’s barely done anything for anywhere he played. regardless what his perceived club form is. and that bit’s funny anyways because almost any other player just being in B.1 is seen as a basis alone for getting called. but he has to score 15 goals and even then he’ll be in camp but never play. or like how horvath has to play but steffen doesn’t. feels like talking points when what we need is old fashioned apples to apples analysis.

      just on a basic level this roster would only exist for this coach. about a 1/3 of them would disappear. you hope it doesn’t matter the last 2 windows but the grind is going to turn into make or break soon.

      Reply
  6. GGG plays a formation that puts his best players (Pulisic, Weah/Reyna, McKennie, Adams, Dest in their best positions (except possibly Reyna) and lets them play a style that gets the most out of them which includes pressing. Pepi and Zardes can press; Dike and Pefok can’t. Do all you critics really want your best players to adjust their game to compensate for players that aren’t the top teir players? If your CF can’t press, no one can. Same for Brooks – he is not a good 1 v 1 defender (at least not for US he isn’t). Do you really want Adams, Dest and Robinson to have to adjust their games to protect Brooks from 1 v1 situations when he can play Zimmerman, Robinson, and Richards with no adjustment? He is building his team around his core players and they are really good core players. Let the insults begin …

    Reply
    • Slow down turbo. I don’t think any of us are saying you replace any of the three CBs you mentioned with Brooks. McKenzie is not a good a defender as Brooks, even in a US shirt.

      Zardes can press, but he was hurt for a lot last year and I’m not sure he’s in the greatest form. I’m ok with him over Dike, but not my preference. Arriola over Hoppe, Sargent, etc.? I know Sargent wasn’t scoring goals before yesterday, but Arriola is all hustle with little skill. With Sargent you get both even when he isn’t scoring. Hoppe is like this generations Dempsey, he tries shit and gives effort.

      I realize now as many have mentioned Busio has covid, but I still don’t see how you bring both Lletget and Roldan.

      Reply
      • Hoppe is coming back from injury. Hoppe’s best chance to make world cup is probably to get his club situation better where he is playing regularly either with Mallorca or someone else. He didn’t even get in the game today and they were losing late. The roster for this cycle isn’t the roster he will take to world cup. I agree with you and like Hoppe alot but he is probably better served staying with his team right now. I don’t think Roldan is as bad as most but most of the names people throw out that should be there besides Roldan and Lletget don’t play the 8. Who’s are the 8s you would bring instead? 6 fwds will go to WC. Right now, Pulisic, Weah, Reyna, Aaronson/Morris, Pepi, and Zardes are going. Already, one pretty good winger is not going unless there are injuries. Arriolla is not going unless there are injuries. Pepi and Zardes could get replaced if someone else steps up but they have to know how to press or they won’t be considered. Pefok is 25, he’s not going to learn. Dike is young; he might. If you are losing you have to press. The US can’t waste a roster spot on a 9 that cant press.

      • Tele: I’m a Dynamo fan and I’ve been telling people we should chase Green, Hoppe, Horvath, Moore, CCV, EPB, this whole list of players GB demotes based on their perceived club status. They can play, they need a platform, and if they come here GB can’t ignore them anymore. Solves both their club and country issues if it works right. Shame it has to work this way but under this coach he takes the transient weekly club roller coaster stuff too seriously and pays too little heed to basic talent. In which case you have to adapt and put yourself in a good club situation because he will forget who looked good this summer and fall. Personally to me it’s nonsense, best predictor of NT success now is how you played last caps. Not whether you’re starting for Heracles or Columbus. I thought this whole line of argument was refuted when Wondo was setting records in MLS but missing key sitters in the world cup. Bit silly. Failure of institutional memory. Talent is talent.

    • Tele, there is no way that you can tell me, after that mess in Jamaica, that its isn’t good (especially when you aren’t limited in roster size) to being a change of pace guy.

      You want to press? Cool, Cool. I love the press too. But in Canada in -40 (or whatever) or maybe with some snow… you are telling me that it’s not worth bringing someone who can be strong and win headers?

      Then, bringing Lleget, roldan and acosta… while you leave out Busio and Tessman who are both either starting or playing meaningful minutes for Venezia… and you think that is a smart move? You want one of them, fine, I have no problem leaving delatorre at home for 1 (ONE) of them. Gawd, then on Defense, leaving Brooks at home and Scally too (I realize there may be a covid issue with him) and bringing Lennon and McKenzie is another bit of craziness.

      Reply
      • I am trying to forget the Jamaiaca game but I don’t recall thinking that Pepi ot Ferreira were the problem so much as the midfield. I’m not sure it mattered who the 9 was. I recall Aaronson, who I think is a good player, having a particularly bad game and the obvious hole left with McKennie out of the lineup. I think the biggest problem is the lack of depth at midfield. MMA is a great midfield but the drop off is significant for any of those players. I actually think there is a bigger drop off from McKennie to Busio than Adams to Acosta, but Busio is young and can still improve whereas Acosta is probably at the top of his game now. I am hopeful that LDT will be an improvement as an 8 sub because IMO that is the biggest weakness on the team. The fact that GGG put Acosta in for Musah at the 8 ahead of Lletget and Roldan is probably pretty telling. Of course, it didn’t work but was probably his best option.

      • Tele, I think part of the drop between Wes and Busio is that their styles are so dramatically different. Whereas Acosta even though he is no where as good plays a similar style so it looks more normal. Williamson is probably a closer like for like for Wes in terms of style, still hoping he can recover fully from his knee injury.

    • When an opponent parks the bus and forces the ball outside, often the only way to score is through headers off of crosses. In situations like that it helps to have a big guy who can throw his weight around a bit, create space, and get to balls in the air. That is what has made Lukaku valuable, as one example. That’s why I would like to see Pefok included. He’s that kind of player. So, the issue is if Berhalter will bring players to adjust to what his opponents are doing. And, he could be brought in and added and not require someone else taken off the roster. As for Brooks, he is so much better than McKenzie it’s ridiculous. CCV is better than McKenzie. A whole lot of playhers are better than McKenzie. He has no business being on this team.

      Reply
      • we have much better defenders than mckenzie, that’s fair, but they’re not brooks. brooks and dest and robinson are who people put out there whose dream is backs who play on the ball like mids but don’t care if they can mark. we did that for a chunk of the cycle and grew out of it. i used to play defense and am happy we grew out of that nonsense. this is a much better team if the GA is kept down because the defense is picked for defending first. and we overrate the attacking value of the backs picked for offense.

    • That is a unique and possible explanation for some of the decisions he makes! I appreciate someone thinking outside the box and providing an alternate narrative than the mainstream.
      My question to you is how do we get our 3 midfielders on the field AND Weah, Reyna, and Pulisic? I do not fancy Pepi an elite player for our team.
      Also how certain are you that Dike and Pefok can not press?

      Reply
    • i agree with you on defense, because you’re concerned with their prime directive. get defenders out there who can defend and not ones who need help. he has gotten religion on that. i disagree on offense. the prime directive there is score goals. pefok, nico, green, and holmes are more likely to make that happen than the people he calls. he overrates the value of pressing and my concern is “wondo.” you get in a situation you need a goal and what you have is someone picked for pressing. they miss the sitter and that’s that. in that situation club form or not, pressing or not, i want pefok or green out there because they have scored the Big Goal before. i don’t want to be worried zardes or arriola shanks their chance to row Z.

      more to the point, if you’re scared about defense to the point you’re running mids and forwards out there for defense, then you’re playing the wrong formation 433.

      Reply
    • “Do all you critics really want your best players to adjust their game to compensate for players that aren’t the top teir players?”

      Yes, they don’t have a choice.

      We can debate how many top tier players the USMNT has but I promise you they don’t have 11. Few national teams do.

      That is the very nature of any national team. You’re supposed to adjust because you spend a very small portion of your time playing with these guys and this managerial staff. Christian Pulisic just said so.

      The national teams playing well is largely a matter of how well all the talent adjusts to the unfamiliar environment.

      Your NON top tier guys should be chosen to help get the most out of your top tier guys. That’s why so many object to the USMNT’s usual suspect NON top tier guys.

      Reply
      • Your last paragraph was the exact point I was trying to make and I agree 100% with that. I think the top teir are Pulisic, Weah/Reyna, McKennie, Musah, Adams, amd Dest and their ability to press is part of what puts them in that teir. You have to press as a team so IMO Zardes compliments them much better than Pefok or Dike because he doesn’t force them to lose that part of their game.

      • “You have to press as a team so IMO Zardes compliments them much better than Pefok or Dike because he doesn’t force them to lose that part of their game.”

        Okay.

        However:

        Is pressing the only reason the USMNT is better than these three teams? I don’t think so and I don’t necessarily agree the whole thing falls apart if say Pefok is there instead of Gyasi. There are pluses and minuses to everything and I think that the pluses from a Pefok/Dike type could possibly outweigh the pluses brought by a Gyasi.

        Right now if these games turn into winter wonderlands that tends to eliminate a lot of tactical considerations for BOTH teams and aerial supremacy could become vital on set pieces.

        It’s hard to press on ice.

        Now forechecking? That’s fine but I don’t know if Gyasi skates well.

  7. I’m worried about the second game in the cycle. Will Berhalter roll out Arriola, Zardes, Roldan, Lleget, especially if we win on Jan 27th? I’m so sick of seeing them. If we qualify, will they make the final roster?

    Josh Sargent has paid his dues by working hard for a few years for relegation level teams. That takes a lot out of you, but Sargent keeps running. The commentator couldn’t say enough about his overall game yesterday.

    Reply
    • I would not expect to see all of the MLS players on the field at the same time. You’d expect to see an MLS-heavier lineup in cases where we’re holding a lead late in the game and need fresh legs, or to press a CA-based team to wear them down and sub on your best in the 2nd half. A team like Honduras is a good example. They lack depth, and play the US in the 3rd game. We beat them away earlier in WCQ by tiring their defense, and scoring late.
      .
      This is a reason why Pefok doesn’t get called in. His transition game and holdup play are lacking, and really have not improved. Dike will certainly improve in those areas at WBA to compete in England. Sargent has those qualities, but his game has remained level since leaving Bremen. Sargent need to stay focused, look at his competition, and aim for March.

      Reply
    • El Salvador is the scary game for me.

      The USMNT traditionally does not do well in the first game back after a long layoff.

      If the weather is okay it should not be a problem.

      BUT

      If it is insanely cold as it looks like it may be , that will affect everyone not just the Salvadorians and it could be a frozen mess.

      Those kind of conditions will tend to nullify to USMNT’s huge talent advantage.

      You need solid, mistake free defenders in such games because they are usually low scoring affairs decided by mistakes. Mark McKenzie and Kellyn Acosta look like good candidates to be the new Rico Clark/ Omar Gonzales.

      If they then El Salvador and lose to Canada and wind up with only 4 points it wouldn’t be the end of the world but it would make for a very dramatic final window.

      Reply
      • This is the first time I can recall the US scheduling WCQs in such cold locations, but it does makes sense. The US always has to travel south of the border and play in a sauna, so why not use the weather to our advantage? I recall the advantage the biting cold had for Canada in their game against Mexico in Edmonton. Mexico struggled to adjust, and came away with zero points in that int’l break. Most of the US players have played games in winter cold, but El Salvador & Honduras are just not prepared for these extreme conditions.

        Also, CA teams historically have not succeeded playing away in the US. El Salvador was our first WCQ, a tie, and the US team had little team to prepare and become cohesive. Honduras was a 4-1 victory.

        The other advantage being played here by the US is travel. All three US games will be in close proximity with short, easy flights. This will help the fatigue experienced by the Euro players after long flights. The most challenging game is obviously Canada. The Canadians, on the other hand, travels to CA for the first game and third game. Honduras has two home games, then a long flight with little rest and acclimation for the third game against the US. All things given, I see the possibility for 7-9 points in this break.

      • PN: ES has quite a few Americans on their roster and/or guys who play professionally here. Zavaleta played in Toronto’s for years, A Roldan plays in Seattle. Some of the others have spent time in New York or in north on USL teams.

  8. I wished Tyler Boyd had of left Turkey after what they did to him. After the club not allowing him to play, he has not gotten a call up since. Also, I believe Jeremy Ebobisse is going to play for Cameroon now, he was called up for the ACON cups.

    Reply
  9. Come on Ives, really: “The squad is a good mix of European-based players and MLS players”?

    I know you try to balance neutrality and editorializing, but I’m guessing a big majority of serious fans would disagree with this statement. Why not say it’s a head scratcher or provide criticism? Is there a follow article?

    Reply
  10. I don’t understand Lennon over Scally. What has Lennon done to justify his spot. Scally plays regularly in one of the best leagues in the world. Plus he’s played on both the right and the left.
    Brooks omission I don’t get as well. GGG says it’s about form but I have to think that it’s more an attitude issue. Brooks is our best passing center back and we’re going to need that when we play 2 teams in our home fixtures that will bunker in and a center back who can unlock the defense.
    Would have also liked to see Sargent over Arriola.
    The rest of the roster I’m ok w as long as Lletget, Roldan, and Arriola don’t see the pitch

    Reply
  11. Everyone STOP the over-analysis – bring in the most talent in the best leagues and end this passive bs. End it.
    PS – Green is money, so is Pefok and Sabbi. This js embarrassing. US still acts like they’re the underdog and that they have to grind it out and may not get to the world cup that is nonsense that’s an attitude problem from the top down.

    Reply
    • Please tell me Sabbi’s qualifications for the NT? 6 goals over the last two seasons for a bad team in Denmark?
      —————————————
      I don’t think he’d get called anyway but Green was listed as injured with a bad back for this week. This might also explain his 27 mins over the last 2 months, if he’s been having back issues.
      ——————————————
      When has Pefok looked good for the NT?
      ——————————————
      There are names on there I don’t like but there’s no one out there without plenty of negatives that are just being ignored.

      Reply
      • Timeout- Pefok played well vs Canada. He banged with CB Doniel Henry for 83’, occupying the head of the attack, he was extremely important to the build up that lead to a goal, which lead us to come away with a point. I had a convo with Vacqui, about Pefok a time ago. Vacqui compared Pefok’s game to Oliver Giroud. While I think, lofty comparisons never hit the mark, this comparison was apt. I agree, Pefok game is basic. Exactly what we need when our players on the wings are dynamic. Don’t know about you JR, but I’m tired of our CFs being known as hardworking, hustler’s who are good teammates but they don’t score. Sabbi is diff story, because Haji Wright & him played with CP & McKennie, during their U15. If one or both were to play with their childhood friends, I’m confident in saying we would see them give more for the US than for their clubs. I am of the belief, that if players on the pitch, don’t have chemistry, then it needs to be developed under the guidance of GB. We have to see Pefok w/ CP on the left, and Morris/Weah/Nico on the opp side. It’s seems to me, we see something that works once, then GB doesn’t try it more than 2x, but then again I’ve already pre-judge GB as not being a great manager so I’m prejudice. I think, I’m the only US futbol fan willing to admit it.

      • It’s, the problem with Pefok is it changes everything else we are trying to do. He cannot press. He also for someone his size is pretty mediocre at hold up play and winning contested headers. All strikers are flawed in ways, Zardes and Ferreira (if he plays as a 9) maintain our pressing system and draw defenders away from the areas Pulisic, Aaronson, and McKennie like to get into.
        ———————————
        Sabbi has been at OB for two years if he doesn’t have chemistry it’s probably his fault. Haji has had a similar pattern in Denmark and Turkey, hot early then moved almost exclusively to the bench. Same happened at VVV he just was never hot but got downgraded as the season went. There’s a lot of things that could be but three teams similar pattern probably not all external.
        ———————————
        We don’t have many players without weaknesses in MLS or Europe but this idea that many have that some guy they saw play U17s 5-8 years ago and haven’t seen since is magically better because he plays in a mediocre European league is madness. Take Vassilev, he got a couple minutes in EPL due to injury. Everyone was screaming call him in, he plays in EPL he was good for U17s. Well we got a good look at him in MLS last year and he was nothing special.
        ———————————
        My biggest concern is Lleget, he has become Jackson Yueill like in his aversion to progressing the ball. He almost single handily killed every attacking chance in Panama. He’d receive the ball with 2 or 3 options and he’d take option 4 recycle the ball EVERY time.

  12. Josh and his wife just had their first kid.

    I think I’ve seen this before in other people.

    Maybe, suddenly, he’s realized he better stop wasting his talent. College is expensive. Time to stop farting around.

    Amazing what having a kid can do to you.

    Reply
  13. How mediocre players continue to be chosen playing in a league with no relegation is astounding. While our European players are trying their best in competitive leagues just to retain their spots everyday battling get overlooked by these cupcake players is a tragedy. Berhalter is who he is and he’s not gonna change no matter what. We’ll most likely win in spite of him but I think not making the world cup would benefit the US team in the long run since more than likely Berhalter would get fired and would put the whole USMNT structure in the spotlight to change. I hate saying it because I love watching my country at the world cup but its true.

    Reply
  14. – Given the expected weather conditions and the matchups, a solid roster.
    – Good to see LDLT get a call-up. He is in good form at Heracles, and hope he gets spot time this cycle.
    – Good to see Slonina called in, even as the 4th keeper, for practice time. If his trajectory continues, he’ll be fighting for a starting role for the 2026 WC.
    – This is Morris’s first call-up in ages, and that is a really good sign. He is recovered and fully fit. KDLF has not been impressive, and Weah is just getting into form. Here’s hoping we see the Jordan Morris of the past. More depth the better.
    – Why players like Lletget, Zardes, Arriola and Roldan? Look at the home competition this break. They collectively are aggressive, hustle in transition and always play hard. We need players like that for CONCAFAF.
    – As for Sargent? Consistency. Dike? Prove yourself for next month. Brooks? If the reports are true, you need an attitude adjustment. You are not a lock starter.
    – Reports are Busio has Covid.

    Reply
    • “Why players like Lletget, Zardes, Arriola and Roldan? Look at the home competition this break. They collectively are aggressive, hustle in transition and always play hard. We need players like that for CONCAFAF.”

      You mean players who don’t know how to play soccer?

      In other words no one else plays “aggressive, hustle in transition and always play hard”? Our guys in Europe aren’t aggressive, and hustling? They don’t play hard?

      That’s a myth.

      Reply
      • Vacuity, you are the one saying these players don’t know how to play soccer. One of these players is a west ham academy player. My guess is that if you’re old enough, we could find posts of you hyping him, when he was there. Another is just a BAMF. And one has a pretty strong strike rate, especially against concacAf competition, which I’m sure under other circumstances, you’d be all to keen to point out. In this case, you’ll just have to suck it up. I feel like you’re promoting the myths, and that’s just my opinion. Thank you

      • Dvich,

        “Vacuity, you are the one saying these players don’t know how to play soccer. “

        You’re right. I should amend that. I should have said “don’t know how to play soccer well enough to be an asset for the USMNT”

        “One of these players is a west ham academy player. My guess is that if you’re old enough, we could find posts of you hyping him, when he was there.”

        Since when does having been in the West Ham academy guarantee you are a decent player? Lletget never got to play one league game in 4-5 years in England. He did play a Cup game at West Ham. You won’t find any posts of me hyping him during that time. You’ll find ones that say “ so what happened to Seba?” or “how is he recovering from mono?” Hard to hype someone who never plays or gets on the field. And unlike you, I’ve watched him closely since he got back from England. I thought that maybe his luck had turned and he would prove West Ham to be wrong. Boy, was I wrong. He’s been a disappointment. West Ham were right. And he’s too chicken to tell Zlatan to his face that he had problems with him. He’s not a high level player. He’s a dilletante.

        “ Another is just a BAMF.”

        Doesn’t mean you can play

        “And one has a pretty strong strike rate, especially against concacAf competition, which I’m sure under other circumstances, you’d be all to keen to point out.”

        Wondo had a fantastic strike rate vs. Concacaf opponents. And then when he got to the Big Show he found that scoring against CONCACAF teams is different from scoring against the big people. How is this team supposed to get “better” if they can’t beat the big people?

        “In this case, you’ll just have to suck it up. “

        Nah, I don’t. It don’t make no nevermind to me. None of this affects me personally in the least. BUT, the people who will have to deal with having these frauds on the roster are the other guys on the roster. You explain to them why they have deal with these “passengers”, these frauds gumming up the works.

        “I feel like you’re promoting the myths, and that’s just my opinion. Thank you”

        The fact that these 4 players are not very good is no myth. All I have to say to you is watch them play. That’s all I have done. Watch them play for the USMNT. And we all have had PLENTY of chances to do that.

      • Vacuum, I just don’t think your soccer knowledge is as vast as you think it is, sorry that’s my bottom line. Opinion. You don’t know as much as you think you do, and don’t really make a case, no matter how long winded your post are. Sorry, but it’s true! Suck it ip. Obviously you think you know better than Gregg and Bruce. I mean, are there any American coaches who know more about soccer than you? In your mind?

      • Dvich,

        “I just don’t think your soccer knowledge is as vast as you think it is, sorry that’s my bottom line. Opinion. You don’t know as much as you think you do, and don’t really make a case, no matter how long winded your post are. Sorry, but it’s true! Suck it ip. ”

        It’s ironic but your timing is fantastic. I was just about to say the same thing to you! Life is amazing isn’t it?

        “Obviously you think you know better than Gregg and Bruce. I mean, are there any American coaches who know more about soccer than you? In your mind?”

        They all know more about soccer than I do. Every last one of them.
        But they are not judged by that. They don’t participate in game shows.

        They are judged by results.

        Really a two part result, did you get to the World Cup and how did you do there?

        Bruce Arena failed to qualify the USMNT for the World Cup by failing to get ONE point from a very much weaker TNT team. That’s historical in a not good way. His legacy is otherwise sterling but Couva is a massive stain on that legacy.

        The current USMNT manager has had three years or so, 44 games and the best player pool in terms of skills that has come up in recent memory. He appears to have the total support of the USSF.

        He has only ONE job, get this shitshow to Qatar.

        To do that he has to get through arguably the most generous, easiest WC qualifying tournament in the entire world .

        The opposition is largely crap.

        The USMNT is indisputably the best team, with the most depth, money and resources of any in this tournament. It is not close.

        The record is great on paper but, while it’s not anyone’s fault, they have played mostly garbage teams. I have yet to see this team have one game where they have faced a decent opponent and put in a convincing performance.

        If the manager had a positive track record like a Pep or an Ancelloti, you could have faith that he knew what he was doing and that it will all come good when the real games start. You’d give them the benefit of the doubt.

        But this manager does not have a track record and if he does it’s not a good one.

        He’s not trustworthy. Neither are the players but only because they are so young and inexperienced as a unit.

        It would take some classic disaster to not get to the World Cup and if they do their chances to advance depend largely on the draw.

    • “- Why players like Lletget, Zardes, Arriola, and Roldan?….We need players like that for CONCACAF.”
      Yes, as a teenager Lletget was a West Ham academy player….and many of us were pulling for him and hoping he’d be worthy of being a USMNT player. Lletget is now 29 and has never lived up to the promise he showed when he was a teenager. Hence the reason why West Ham sold him. Don’t believe it, watch FIFAmerica’s breakdown of his play in the video “My Problem with Sabastian Lletget”. May shock you to see the statistics on “The Boy”
      Roldan has failed to perform at what could be considered even a Mediocure level. He may not have had any abysmal performances, but he hasn’t really done anything well or significant either. After 30 caps and at 26 yrs old….that’s just not good enough.
      Arriola has some use….but only in the last 5-10 minutes of a game if we’ve got the lead. He provides nothing offensively except shanked crosses and shots that end up in row 30 of the stands. He can’t break down or beat a defender at the international level and he can’t really combine with actual skilled players in our squad. IMO he’s a 5th string wide attacker at this point. (Pulisic, Weah, Reyna, Morris/Konrad, than Arriola)
      Zardes may be the only reasonably justifiable inclusion of the 4 you referenced….but that is less to do with him and more to do with others not yet performing. Personally I’d much rather give the time to a younger talent…Sargent, Dike, or Pefok to get them the experience.
      ===
      I’m disappointed that no-one was brought in to challenge/provide cover at the CDM position. Sands, Durkin, or Tessmann would have been worthy of bringing as 3rd stringers for possible integration.
      Also wish Scally would have been involved. I was not impressed with Brooks Lennon in the December friendly and even though Scally was sidelined for 2 weeks with Covid protocol’s he’s still shown more against higher level competition than Lennon has…while also providing cover for both outside back positions. Cannon & Yedlin are decent 3rd stringers and have their uses in CONCACAF, but Scally can be a true challenger to Robinson and/or Dest.

      Reply
    • Vacqui, I believe all understand the issue and limitations with MLS-based players. One cannot miss it reading postings on this site. It is about getting positive results this break, so you bring in the players that match up to the competition and can get those results. This is a three game window, where we need our best lineup against Canada, and two home games against CA opponents who historically do not get good results in away matches. Players like Lletget, Zardes, Arriola, Acosta and Roldan earn the callup to plug in those situations in pressuring and wearing down opponents, with the effect of not draining our key players during the three game window. Come roster selection for November, we will almost certainly see different selections. But this is about getting results now.

      Reply
      • PN,

        “I believe all understand the issue and limitations with MLS-based players. One cannot miss it reading postings on this site. It is about getting positive results this break, so you bring in the players that match up to the competition and can get those results.”

        My problem is not with MLS players, it’s with players who suck. The players I am critical of? I have seen almost all of their USMNT games. They are not and have not been, all along. the best available MLS players. That the teacher’s pets play in MLS is irrelevant.

        “This is a three game window, where we need our best lineup against Canada, and two home games against CA opponents who historically do not get good results in away matches. Players like Lletget, Zardes, Arriola, Acosta and Roldan earn the callup to plug in those situations in pressuring and wearing down opponents, with the effect of not draining our key players during the three game window.”

        That worked real well against Panama
        I’ve heard that basic argument before and find it incomplete. It assumes that the MLS guys do the “grunt” work and the Euro stars do the fancy “skill” without mussing their hair or getting their pants dirty. You insult Weston, Tyler and Pulisic, and others for example by assuming they can’t or won’t work and fight and hustle just as hard as “warriors” like Yueill, Lletget , Acosta, Roldan.

        On a real soccer team all the players, grunts and stars, have to be reasonably well rounded, especially the midfielders. Right now the USMNT has two regular midfielders Lletget and Roldan, who play important minutes who don’t do anything particularly well at the international level and who certainly have not got one creative bone in their bodies. Giving them the ball is like having your offense take a time out. That allows the bad guys a chance to set up and defend.

        The manager has, over three years and 44 games given out record numbers of first time caps but they are largely of the one and done and/ or 10 minutes of garbage time end of the game caps. Only his pet players and you know who they are, get real playing time.

        • Lletget gets lots of PT because he knows the “system”. And he knows the system because he plays so much.
        • Gioachinni gets no PT because he doesn’t know the system. And he doesn’t know the system because he does not play very much.

        “Come roster selection for November, we will almost certainly see different selections. But this is about getting results now”.

        Dream on. It’s not going to change in November. There are no competitive games after qualifying is over. There are only 6 more games to audition for Qatar. You’re not going to see a major change in this team based on performance during a friendly after qualifying. Most of the people here can probably already accurately predict at least 17 of the outfield 20, maybe more.

        This manager does not exactly believe in the best player idea. He thinks that his system, his tactics, are so good that, if they don’t win, then it’s because the player didn’t follow his instructions well enough.

        It’s clear this team struggles to carry out the manager’s orders. If things go awry, they certainly are quickly in disarray.

        Instead of building around the players and their actual strengths, he tries to mold the players to fit his tactics and schemes.

        That’s more what club managers do and it makes sense in that context. It makes less sense in the national team game.

  15. – Busio covid recovery..
    – Scally I’m assuming covid recovery..
    – WHO ON THIS EARTH THINKS MACKENZIE OVER BROOKS MAKES ANY SENSE…
    Dude has done nothing but run fast, clear balls to the other team, and kick it reaaaallly high in the air – and can’t even get steady playing time at Genk…
    Wtf dude
    Berhalter, your A-HOLE face is showing

    Reply
  16. Not even giving Tim Chandler a chance when he’s been in form and playing very well but calling in Arriola and Roldan instead? W T F, and I’m a DCU fan.

    Better get 9 points and nothing less, and no excuses otherwise.

    Reply
  17. I just see Berhalter making the same mistakes over and over again. At least he called in more players than before. But McKernzie over Brooks? No Vines to back up LB? There are a lot of better players than Arriola. Fortunately, I think we are good enough to overcome Berhalter’s poor choices.

    Reply
    • Arriola is good but not good enough for the USMNT level, and I’m a long time DCU fan. I rate Tim Chandler higher than Arriola because of his in form play.

      Reply
      • He plays LCB for Hoffenheim in a 3CB formation not exactly the same. According to transfermkt he played LB twice for Bayern for a total of 81 minutes and once for Bayern II.

    • I just saw highlight of his first goal today and it will be the talk of the premier league this weekend, and his second was a very confident finish. What weird timing! literally happens just as the roster announced and he is snubbed. If we have trouble scoring goals this window, Berhalter will get destroyed for leaving Sargent off.

      Reply
      • Josh and his wife just had their first kid.

        I think I’ve seen this before in other people.

        Maybe, suddenly, he’s realized he better stop wasting his talent. College is expensive. Time to stop farting around.

        Amazing what having a kid can do to you.

      • Disagree. He didn’t do AnyThing until today. Berhalter was 100% justified. Let the ignorant raise their toothpick crucifixes.

  18. I guess all the most important players are there, save one. The theme seems to be trust in the veterans. That said, I can’t believe Brooks is left out completely, considering he has regained his club spot and form. He is the only player besides Yedlin I believe that has actual world cup experience. I can see Robinson and Zimmerman being ahead of him as starter, but wow, big time snub. Also surprised Vines left off just because that leaves A Rob as the only true leftback for 3 games…must be planning for Dest there I guess which is a little risky since I don’t think he has played in a month? I don’t like Roldan or Lletget over Busio, but I’m not going to quibble over backups too much. As far as attackers, it’s clear now that Berhalter favors quicker pressing players more than traditional hold-up types, I will give him the benefit of the doubt since we are so thin there. This is the most important window of qualifying, we absolutely need to win the home games.

    Reply
    • I don’t think you can give him the benefit of the doubt. Pressing is all good till you get punched in the face and you have to fall into the long-ball game. You have an unlimited roster and you can’t bring a single big man to go rough it up with the bigs? Maybe win a header, or poach something? You don’t want to bring everyone, fine… but pick either Dike or Pefok and bring them. Because if it snows and/or it’s a shitshow game, we have exactly 0 forwards that are going to be winning headers of desperation corners at the end of a game – and its not Zardes, or Morris that will provide it.

      Reply
  19. Some are complaining but do we know if vaccination status or infection status impacted the selection. I thought Scally had COVID recently. I think this is probably the best we could’ve hoped for. I think considering the competition and we have 2 home games, we should be able to come out with at least 7 points…

    Reply
  20. No Scally. No Busio. And 4 right backs? wtf. Brooks must be an attitude issue. He’s also the only CB who’s actually playing competitive matches recently (outside of Richards who doesn’t even start regularly). Lleget, Lennon, Roldan are head scratchers. Would have rather seen Sands, Sargent, Pefok over some others. I’d even take Tim Ream over Cannon/Mckenzie because he’s actually playing now in competitive games.

    Reply
  21. I’m just shocked Green has any fans. The dude plays on the worst team in Germany and can’t even get playing time, but yet he deserves NT time. Makes no sense.

    My shock is no Brooks. He has been playing well. But we have enough cover on CB

    Reply
  22. arriola should be a cut, hoppe, nico, konrad, or push dest or moore up. someone with some precision. arriola at this point is literally out there just to chase. have we not learned the wondo lesson on key moments in front of net for forwards picked more to play chase and defend? if you push up dest then scally or reynolds can make the team. just silly.

    Reply
  23. further support on doesn’t watch the actual games would be ferreira plus zardes. i might indulge zardes as a third choice since he has produced, but that list reads like he’s second choice! so we’re saying we’d rather go with both them before pefok, nico, soto, sargent. that’s trash. and i even wanted ferreira to work but i also respond to what i see and it didn’t work. i am uncomfortable with this list because these are important games to chase max points and pepi went cold and the others maybe shouldn’t make the team……that’s who we’re depending on to knock balls in for must win games?

    Reply
  24. typical GB and his indifference to game play (as opposed to theory) in that lennon makes the team when he didn’t show much, reynolds and gomez looked better off the bosnia bench, and of course no moore. and while moore does have some transfer rumors i kept hearing loan.

    Reply
    • ” lennon makes the team when he didn’t show much, reynolds and gomez looked better off the bosnia bench”

      One popular theory about the manager is that he is so arrogant and confident about his schemes and tactics that he believes he can coach any player to success with them.

      For example, “Yeah a false 9 should work here. I’ll try Seba there because he’ll play it just the way I tell him to. “. If the player believes in this manager then it should all work .

      There’s some merit to that way of thinking but only if you believe that the USMNT player pool are largely interchangeable parts, the way Man City is, for example.
      He’s been quoted as stating that Ariolla and Brenden are interchangeable, while most people would probably say Brenden is substantially more talented.

      This makes you suspect that this manager rates players by how well they can perform a particular function for him.

      That’s fine until it’s not. And one of the notable characteristics of this regime is that they tend to not adjust well when Plan A craps out.

      Odd when you consider how many talented players he can call on.

      Reply
      • i’ve learned you can tell who he rates now and will rate after the game by who starts friendlies. that simple. maybe it’s what you say, some idea of system suitability. maybe he gets snowed by what he sees in practice for a couple weeks vs what to me matters, how the games go. but he tends to get into these depth chart concepts reflected in his lineups, which then do not adjust to how the games go. soto had 2 goals in 10′ and basically disappeared after. it makes sense if you think, oh, he came on as a sub. that means this coach hates him. but usually if the starter struggles and you have a brace off the bench, that buys you more time at their expense. most coaches look for “gamers” — people who perform in games — and favor game play over abstractions or practice. but, yeah, this guy, not so much. gets ideas in his head and it takes months or years to sink in he’s wrong.

      • Mr Voice,

        Depending on the circumstances, if a guy comes off the bench and scores a brace I’m inclined to keep using him off the bench.

        Scoring when coming in off the bench is hard to do..

        Why mess with what works?

      • it’s a fair point except what GB often does is keep the friendly starter in the team and dump the productive friendly bench player completely off the roster. lennon is back. reynolds and gomez are not.

  25. sorry but by the time we’re down to calling in DLT we should be on the phone first with holmes or green. how do you play offense in holland and have no G or A?

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  26. slonina is ridiculous, particularly at horvath’s expense. there have been recent windows where we risked going deep into the GK pool due to covid or immigration rules. this is a huge window in terms of do we make it. a camp body is inappropriate. if you’re gonna take 4 keepers it should be a proficient league play veteran with some cap history. i don’t care if you think he has a future. he’s not shown it yet in league. he’s not had to prove it in a friendly. you pick these for the present.

    Reply
  27. 28, finally. One is an extra keeper though, but a step forward from the first couple windows. Overall, not bad, but I would’ve changed a few things.

    I don’t get Lennon over Scally or Vines, but defense looks fine overall.

    Forward, I don’t get Zardes given that he’s out of season and may not be as sharp. I’d rather see Pefok or Dike. Arriola is back, I could see him as a crime with this group but we know that’s not how it will be.

    Midfield, why bring in Roldan and Lletget and leave Busio? It seems oh, I brought you in for january so I’ll keep you around because I’m familiar with you, and not necessarily the better player.

    Reply
  28. No Brooks, no Scally, no Busio are the three surprises to me. All are starting regularly in top leagues and are better options the MLS based crew chosen over them.

    Reply
  29. Brooks Lennon over Scally is a head scratcher. Scally can play both outside back positions and is doing so in the Bundesliga. As well Brooks is a good five years to six years older than Scally. He’s not the future. When all is said and done Scally will be the best option behind Jedi and Dest. Otherwise no issues with the roster.

    Reply
    • playing wing. they might consider him wide, particularly if we’re calling arriola in. he comes across like he could hit some precision service. couldn’t chase defenders all over the shop but he forgets what forwards are for.

      Reply
  30. Would have loved to see John Brooks here. He made a mistakes against Canada last time, I’m sure he would have been motivated to make amends. Plus, he’s been playing well lately. McKenzie made mistakes in the Nations League final too but he’s here every time.

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  31. it is what it is. But Josh Sargent has a pair for Norwich about the same time that the roster was announced. Let’s go boys!!!

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  32. Come on, Beerholder! Zardes? For the love of God, just stop. Care to rethink that now that Josh Sargent has scored 2 goals today (so far)

    Reply
  33. I think this includes the best set of players the US has been able to field in a long time. Of the players most people think are starters, only Reyna is missing due to injury. There will be some disagreement about the 2nd tier players, for instance neither Miazga nor Long are included and the fans of Julien Green are again disappointed. Sargent needs to score goals somewhere if he is to be included, right now it is hard to argue he belongs. However, the exclusion if Busio is surprising (is he injured?).

    We can still all have fun ridiculing GB when he picks the starters.

    Reply
    • I’m just shocked Green has any fans. The dude plays on the worst team in Germany and can’t even get playing time, but yet he deserves NT time. Makes no sense.

      My shock is no Brooks. He has been playing well. But we have enough cover on CB

      Reply
      • I think it’s less about people being fans of Green and more about people despising Roldan & Lletget. It’s a statement that someone who’s only getting 45 minutes a game for the worst Bundasliga team would still be a better option than Gregg’s 2 pets who have failed to contribute over multiple showings and who are currently out of season.
        Most fans see the CM pecking order as: McKennie, Reyna/Musah, Busio, Luca DLT, flavor of the month (Mihailovic, Williamson, Senora), Ledezma, Green, Holmes, Lletget, than Roldan.
        I don’t care how great a locker room guy Lletget & Roldan are, they aren’t contributing on the field, and during WCQ we can’t waste opportunities to get points by playing inferior players. Case in Point the game in Panama where Gregg fielded all his favorites….Acosta, Lletget, Roldan, & Arriola…and there was no threatening attacks or build up by this group.

      • “the dude plays on the worst team in Germany and can’t even get playing time, but yet he deserves NT time. Makes no sense.”

        It might if you look at the infamous “bigger picture”.

        He’s been hurt a lot this season. And the team bought no new players when they got promoted so Green got targeted early .

        He was a big part of them getting promoted and now we see that they are pretty crap so that says something about his ability to raise others up.

        And Roldan, Lletget and Ariolla have shown that they can only bring down a team not raise it up.

        But there are limits.

        “But we have enough cover on CB”

        Only if you believe the starting two are great. You’re only as good as the guys who are playing. Right now it looks to me like this manager has Miles and Texas Ranger as his starters. Now he needs to decide who his back ups will be and who will be the third CB should they go that way. I an’t believe he’s still trying to salvage the McKenzie experiment but I’ve seen this before so I should not be so surprised. Eventually Mark will bomb out and give the manager an excuse to bring in his true love, Aaron Long.

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