Start of European season WC player tiers

As the European season gets going, I think its a good time to look at the player pool with eyes on the WC. The purpose of this exercise is to see how many spots are up for grabs and who are the players fighting to take those spots. As I do this, I am taking into account Gregg's previous roster decisions, but I will note players I think could/should break into the group. I divide players into 4 tiers:

Mortal lock: If this player got hurt tomorrow, and didn't get back to game fitness until 1 week before the WC they'd still be there.

Near lock: It'd take fairly unforeseen circumstances for this player to fall off the roster.

Incumbents: On the bubble, these guys would probably round out the 26 for Gregg if the WC was now, but they are far from untouchable

Insurgents: Guys who could do enough with their club play and perhaps a look in September to break into the roster.

Anyone who doesn't make one of these 4 lists I don't think realistically can do enough to make the WC roster (or I forgot them)

GK (3):

Near Lock: Turner and Steffen

The starting spot is very much wide open, but for Turner it'd take really bad performances in the limited chances he gets, and for Steffen a very poor start to the season for these 2 to completely fall off Gregg's roster.

Incumbent: Sean Johnson

I think Gregg likes what he brings as a 3rd keeper

Insurgents: Ethan Horvath and Gaga Slonina

I like Horvath's chances of at least forcing himself onto the roster with strong play in the Championship, and if Slonina finishes strong Gregg could start grooming him for the future.

FB (4-5)

Mortal Lock: Sergino Dest, Antonee Robinson

Incumbents: Reggie Cannon, Deandre Yedlin


Joe Scally: A strong start to the season playing some on both sides could vault him into the team

Shaq Moore: now playing at the same level as Yedlin on a better team, could impress with a playoff run

Sam Vines: His left footedness could be enticing to Gregg, needs to be a consistent starter for Antwerp

George Bello: Almost didn't include him, will really need to look like one of the most dynamic LBs in Bund 2 to have a shot, seems highly unlikely but Gregg has given him 7 caps

Jonathan Gomez/Kevin Paredes: Would need to surprise by breaking through with their respective first teams, but both have talent to potentially surprise

CB (4-5)

Mortal Lock: Zimmerman

Near lock: Richards, as long as he doesn't get sat firmly on the bench all fall with Palace he is likely safe

Incumbents: Aaron Long, CCV, Sands The 4th and 5th spot are wide open, but I'd guess Gregg liked CCV enough last camp to have him 4th for now, and Sands flexibility into the midfield helps his case


Brooks: Everyone's favorite talking point, needs to find a club ASAP, but if he does I like his chances of getting called in September

McKenzie/EPB/Trusty: Would need to show a nice step forward (and in McKenzie's case find consistent PT) to get back into the picture, but they are still young and improving so its conceivable

Mids (6-7)

Mortal lock: Adams, McKennie, Musah

Near lock: Acosta, LDLT

Incumbent: Roldan, Gregg likes to see his face at the end of the bench


Williamson, Pomykal, Mihailovic: MLS players with different skill sets who could make a case with a strong playoff run

Bassett, Ledezma: Very strong Eredivisie seasons could make a case

Busio, Mendez: perhaps if Gregg goes with 7 mids, he chooses a luxury player as a set piece specialist or DLP type guy. Busio would need to be dominating Serie B, and Mendez needs to be very impressive in Portugal, as he hasn't been called by Gregg yet

Alan Sonora: I actually don't think he will get into the squad even if he is lighting up Argentina, but just wanted to throw his name in for the heck of it

Wings (4-5)

Mortal locks: Pulisic, Weah, Reyna, Aaronson

Incumbent: Arriola


Morris, probably neck and neck with Arriola in Gregg's mind, needs to finish strong

Malik Tillman, really liked what he showed in the opener for Rangers, one of my surprise picks to end up on the roster

KDLF: Needs both consistent PT and goal production to get back into the conversation

Alex Mighten: If he is playing consistently for a premier league side the attention will grow

Strikers (2-3)

Near lock: Ferreira, May be a little high, but I think he would need to really scuffle down the stretch to lose a spot, along with 2-3 strikers getting hot

Incumbent: Pepi and Pefok? Hard to say who would be the leader in the clubhouse for a 3rd striker spot


Dike: My pick to make the roster, needs to stay healthy and hit bangers for West Brom

Wright: Needs to sustain his spring form to get another call back

Sargent: Has to find some scoring to go along with his defensive work. Could conceivably be the 5th winger as well, but Gregg said he sees him as a striker.

Brandon Vazquez: Scoring goals in bunches in MLS has him at least on the radar

Matthew Hoppe: If he can move to the Championship and get PT and production Gregg is familiar with him

Folarin Balogun: Rumored to be heading to Stade de Reims, if he can perform well in Ligue 1 he'd be hard to ignore, if he'd take the call

So what do you think? Who am I missing (I already went 56 players deep!)? Who's in the wrong category? Who are you betting on breaking into the 26 with a strong fall?

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