Tab Ramos will name his final roster for the 2015 U-20 World Cup later today. Before that happens, let's have a little fun and predict who that roster will consist of. The are a plethora of options at Ramos' disposal. Whether these options are all quality options is still up for debate, but they exist nonetheless.
Several hints have been dropped by American soccer media members about possible surprises on the roster. Doug McIntyre of ESPN tweeted out his interest in seeing if Arsenal phenom Gedion Zelalem would make an appearance.
U.S. U-20 World Cup roster to be announced tomorrow. Curious to see if Arsenal prospect Gedion Zelalem is on it. #usmnt— Doug McIntyre (@DougMacESPN) May 6, 2015
Does that mean Zelalem could finally be cleared by FIFA to join US Soccer? Who knows.
As for who is eligible and who we think will be bound for New Zealand, here are our predictions for the final 21-man roster:
Goalkeepers (3): Zack Steffen, Jeff Caldwell, Ethan Horvath.
Steffen is the clear No. 1 in this group. Expect him to play every minute unless the US clinch the group early. The other two are there for insurance purposes.
Defenders (6): Cameron Carter-Vickers, Conor Donovan, Matt Miazga, Erik Palmer-Brown, John Requejo Jr., Shaquell Moore.
The center back corps is strong with Carter-Vickers the star of the group. Miazga and Palmer-Brown could be in a fight for the starting spot next to him. The fullback depth chart is thin. Donovan and Palmer-Brown can cover in case of emergency.
Midfielders (8): Emerson Hyndman, Russell Canouse, Romain Gall, Junior Flores, Kellyn Acosta, Joel Sonora, Zach Pfeffer, Cristian Roldan.
The midfield, like almost every level of US Soccer, is loaded. Hyndman will pull the strings while Canouse or Acosta serve as their 'destoyer' partner. The other options will be in a fierce competition for the attacking midfielder spot.
Forwards (4): Rubio Rubin, Bradford Jamieson IV, Andrija Novakovich, Tommy Thompson.
So many forwards to consider in the pool, some tough cuts will have to be made. Ben Spencer and Maki Tall are the odd men out in our projections. Novakovich wins the roster spot as the lone target striker. Rubin is the best player in the U20 pool and will have the chance to make a name for himself in this tournament. Thompson and Jamieson round out the roster as winger/forward options.
Do you agree with our predictions? If not who would you like to see instead?