The United States Men’s National Team enters CONCACAF Nations League play this week in a state of transition. Since the failure of the team to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, there has been long debates within a divided fanbase about whether the youth should take over the roster or if there are still room for some veterans as the team moves forward.
However, like it or not, the best teams in the world and the last 5 World Cup champions all had teams that had several veterans, including several who played heavy minutes for the team. While many fans would prefer that the USMNT be comprised solely of youth players that don’t have a lot of experience, the truth is that a balance is needed. Some veterans may be counted on for heavy minutes, while others may provide leadership to those youth players who are routinely in the lineup.
The USMNT has spent the bulk of the last two years, with the exception of the Gold Cup this past summer, playing friendlies that didn’t matter while the program began its transition. Now, from here on out, the games count. We have Nations League beginning on Friday, which doubles as qualification for the 2021 Gold Cup. We could have the Nations League playoffs in June 2020 should we qualify, and then next September, we enter the Hexagonal round of 2022 World Cup qualifying. We will need some of the youth to step up, for sure. We also need some veterans to help lead the way.
Today’s Community Corner question asks you: which veteran do you want to see feature on the USMNT over the next two years? The criteria are players over 27 years of age that have over 20 caps for the USMNT. As always, pick your player, hit the comments, and tell us why that player is the veteran you want to see on the roster for these upcoming important matches.