The United States Men’s National Team is beginning preparations to commence its fall Kickoff Series with friendlies next month against Brazil and Mexico. With the roster likely to be announced this coming weekend, thoughts are now starting to swirl about who American interim manager Dave Sarachan will bring in for these two major matchups.
So, as the dawn of a new World Cup cycle begins, will Sarachan continue his evaluation of the youth talent that will likely form the core going forward with another huge test? Or, with the USMNT facing a heavyweight in 5-time World Cup champions Brazil and their arch-rival in Mexico, will he bring in some experienced players? The rational thinking is that it will be a mix of both, with some of the veterans that could possibly feature in the near future joining some of the youngsters that might be ready to take the torch.
Most fans are probably ready for the future to begin now. However, that future could include some of the guys that we relied upon during the last cycle. It’s Sarachan’s job—until we hiree a new coach—to figure out what the best combination of players is best to take on the big names. With that in mind, here’s which names Sarachan might call upon when the roster is released:
GOALKEEPERS: Alex Bono (Toronto FC), Brad Guzan (Atlanta United), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC)
It’s an all-MLS group of goalkeepers, as Brad Guzan brings some of the veteran presence that may be called upon for part of one of these matches. Look for Zach Steffen or Bill Hamid to get the majority of the time in net. Ethan Horvath is a possible addition or substitution here, but this may be the group of goalkeepers that are in the best form.
DEFENDERS: John Brooks (Wolfsburg), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Swansea City), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Eric Lichaj (Hull City), Matt Miazga (Nantes), Erik Palmer-Brown (NAC Breda), Tim Parker (New York Red Bulls), Antonee Robinson (Wigan Athletic), Jorge Villafana (Portland Timbers), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle)
Erik Palmer-Brown seems to be near official, as his team spilled the beans just yesterday. Aaron Long is the newcomer to this group, his call-up leaked by his coach Sunday evening. It will be interesting to see what he can do in camp. One veteran that will finally return to the national team after a long absence is John Brooks, who’s back healthy and playing well in the early season for Wolfsburg. DeAndre Yedlin has also returned from injury and will provide a young but experienced presence.
MIDFIELDERS: Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids), Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls), Paul Arriola (D.C. United), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Weston McKennie (Schalke 04), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Tim Weah (Paris Saint-Germain), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew SC)
Now, most of you are probably looking at one name in particular and going, “Whyyyyy,” and that name is Michael Bradley. While many people think he should never be called into the national team again, the bet here is that Sarachan wants some veterans in the middle who could possibly help guide the young core against Brazil and Mexico. He could very easily be left at home, but don’t be surprised if you see his name on the roster.
FORWARDS: Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Andrija Novakovich (Fortuna Sittard), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen), Bobby Wood (Hannover 96)
Jozy Altidore is another name that will draw some ire, but for these September friendlies, Altidore will likely be called in. The other forwards we have are all in new situations and trying to earn playing time for their club, but while it’s possible that Sarachan could leave them to train with their clubs, it’s more likely that he calls in what he considers his best strikers to try and put some balls in the back of the net.
We will likely find out this weekend who will represent the United States against Brazil and Mexico. Hit the comments to let us know not necessarily who you want Sarachan to bring into camp, but who you think ultimately gets the call.