As the USMNT gets prepared for upcoming qualifiers, the team is ensuring that the entire available player pool is in the best possible condition for the matches. Obviously, the players that are abroad in Europe have been training and playing with their clubs. Those based in MLS though have had more time with the national team over the winter break to keep their fitness. That included last month’s friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina and the team’s training camp that opened earlier in the month.
However, there are players that are not in camp and have been absent from their clubs recently due to injury. Tim Weah and Gio Reyna have been dealing with injuries and working their way back to fitness recently. Manager Gregg Berhalter gave updates about the players yesterday saying, “With Gio and Tim it’s too early to tell – we just don’t know yet.” He also added, “we have 14 days until they can come into camp and those 14 days will be important.”
Meanwhile, two MLS players have also been coming back after lengthy injuries as Aaron Long and Jordan Morris have been training with the national team this month. Morris seems to be ready for regular playing time as he started the Bosnia match and saw time with the Sounders at the end of the MLS season. Long, on the other hand, might not get a serious look with the USMNT for this qualifying window at least. Berhalter noted that the center back is making progress, but “for us it’s about having fit players, having guys in rhythm available. I’m not sure he’s going to get there, but hopefully he’ll be close. Then he goes back to preseason with his team and he plays games there at the start of the season and hopefully in March we’re having different conversations.”
While the USMNT has a solid roster, it’s clear that the depth of the team will continue to be critical if starters like Weah and Reyna aren’t quite ready yet while players like Long and Morris who Berhalter values are still looking for form and fitness.