The United States Men’s National Team is less than two weeks away from the start of World Cup qualifying, and the long road to the 2022 World Cup will finally begin. The USMNT has had a terrific summer, winning the Concacaf Nations League as well as the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup, capping both titles with victories in the final over Mexico. However, now that is in the rearview mirror as they look forward to the arduous task of taking on the Octagonal round of World Cup qualifying.
The USMNT begins qualifying in September with 3 matches in 7 days: away to El Salvador on September 2nd, a home match in Nashville versus Canada on September 5th, and then closing in San Pedro Sula with a road match against Honduras on September 8th. Because of the busy window, USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter is likely to bring in between 26 and 28 players to ensure that he can keep his players rested and put forth a competitive squad for each of these important matches.
So, a good exercise would be for you in our SSFC community to determine who you would call in for the upcoming September window. We want you to go through the various positions and pick who you would call into camp for these qualifiers. Keeping in mind that an expanded roster is likely, that means you have an extra 3-5 players to select from a normal 23-man roster.
Justin has broken down a list of players at each position for you to consider. There are players who are dual nationals that may not have made a commitment to the United States or any other country they are eligible to represent, but as long as they are eligible for selection, they are listed. Some players are naturally listed at multiple positions, so beware of picking the same guy twice!
In most windows, coaches will select 3 goalkeepers. However, with the expanded roster, some of you may feel the urge to bring a 4th one. Still, we want you to pick the goalkeepers that you think will give the USMNT the edge against El Salvador, Canada, and Honduras.
In most windows, coaches select 4 central defenders. With the expanded roster, there may be room for a 5th centerback in September. Looking at this list, it may be hard to limit it to just 5 players.
A typical roster would have 4 fullbacks, 2 on the right and 2 on the left. Berhalter has gone with 3 RBs and 1 natural LB before, since Sergiño Dest can fill in on the left as well. There should be room for an extra fullback on whichever side you prefer.
There’s a fair amount of crossover from right back, as Dest, Joe Scally, and Shaq Moore are natural right backs. Would you rather have an extra player on this side, or do you want the depth on the right?
The “destroyer” position, the number six to shield the back line, having dependable defensive midfielders is important. Who are your preferred players at the base of midfield?
Gregg Berhalter has shifted his midfield since he became USMNT manager, typically playing with 2 more box-to-box central midfielders (8s) and choosing to forgo the typical attacking midfielder (10). Do you believe in more box-to-box options, or will your attack be balanced?
There’s a great deal of flexibility between the wing and forward positions at the top of the USMNT player pool. Players like Gio Reyna, Yunus Musah, Tim Weah, and Matthew Hoppe are all capable of playing multiple positions, including central mid, winger, and a #9, up top striker.
Striker appears to be one of the more open positions in the USMNT depth chart at this juncture, with several options. Who would you trust to lead the line against El Salvador, Canada, and Honduras?
So, who do you have in your World Cup qualifying roster? Pick your roster, and then let us know in the comments!