Depressing Post-Camp player tiers

I did this 2 months ago at the start of the European season to get a snapshot of where the player pool stands with regards to making the WC roster. 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. Last time I did this, I took into account Gregg's previous roster decisions, and noted players I think could/should break into the group. Since it is depressing to try to get into his mind right now, this time I am going to flip it and give my opinions, while noting who I think Gregg will likely take. I divides players into 4 tiers, and am adding a 5th tier now:

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.

Fallen Off: They may have had a chance in early August, but between what has happened at their club and not making the September camp (especially for uncapped players) these players don't have hope.

GK (3):

Mortal Lock: Turner

Turner has staked his claim to the spot, he should be the starter barring injury

Incumbent: Sean Johnson, Ethan Horvath

Insurgents: Zach Steffen

Berhalter will have him on the roster over Horvath, but I'd need to see improvement in the Championship to put him on my roster. That said, Horvath and Johnson aren't exactly tearing it up so those spots are open.

Fallen Off: Slonina

His club falling out of the playoff race ensures he won't be playing soccer in October, ruining his chances to string some higher profile impressive performances together. Should be in the MLS pre-camp to give JoMo someone to shoot at.

FB (4-5)

Mortal Lock: Sergino Dest, Antonee Robinson

Near Lock: Joe Scally, Deandre Yedlin

They outperformed their competition, and Dest showed again he can handle back up LB just fine, no need for a lefty. Only thing that could bump Scally IMO would be if he stopped playing for Gladbach. I'd guess Gregg has him more as a shaky incumbent at this point.


Shaq Moore: Could impress with a strong playoff run

Sam Vines: Continuing to play well for Antwerp could provide some forgiveness for his performance, there's a chance 5 FBs are brought.

Reggie Cannon: Racing against the clock with his injury, but could nab one of the last spots if we think about how he played vs Morocco instead of Japan.

Fallen Off: George Bello, Jonathan Gomez, Kevin Paredes

CB (4-5)

Mortal Lock: Zimmerman

Near lock: Richards

as long as he gets like 60 total minutes from now to November he is probably safe

Incumbents: CCV, Tim Ream

Weird to call them incumbents, but given the performances this window they take these spots by default. The utility of having either Tim Ream or John Brooks on the roster at this point should be abundantly clear. (Gregg will take Long over Ream)


Brooks: Needs to get some minutes, but the player he was when he was last seen in the spring is still better than Ream.

Long: If he is the 4th or 5th CB on the roster, never seeing the field, and is a valued culture guy I'm fine with it

Sands: I'm not very high on him, but he has a platform at Rangers in the CL to put up eye opening performances.

Fallen Off: McKenzie, EPB, Trusty

Mids (6-7)

Mortal lock: Adams, McKennie, Musah, LDLT, Acosta

LDLT gets locked in with a good enough showing despite not playing for club, and Acosta doesn't have competition for back up 6 (please no more playing him with Adams)

Incumbent: Tillman

Didn't show much this window, but is the most talented player left. Strong showings in the CL or against the top teams in Scotland will move him closer to a lock.


Williamson, Pomykal, Mihailovic: MLS players with different skill sets who could make a case for the bottom of the roster with a strong playoff run

Roldan: Was the incumbent pre-injury, is he going to get any game time before the end of the year?

Fallen Off: Bassett, Ledezma, Busio, Mendez, Sonora, Johnny

Wings (4-5)

Mortal locks: Pulisic, Weah, Reyna, Aaronson


Morris and Arriola: Probably room for one of the two, Arriola will have the advantage in that his team will play longer.

Fallen Off: KDLF, Alex Mighten

Strikers (3)

Near Locks:

Ferreira: Still here despite poor performance against Japan (I think he played well off the bench vs SA, created problems on the press) because he has a unique skill set, but his hold on the starters spot should come down to club performance amongst the competitors

Incumbent: Pefok and Sargent

Almost put Pefok in near locks, but he does need to maintain club goal scoring form to justify his inclusion as the goal hunter with our anemic attack. Sargent did better than Pepi in their brief stints this window.

Sargent is coincidentally my favorite to get the most minutes right now, but also the most likely to drop off the roster if his form dips and Pepi's surges (and then Pepi would be the favorite for most minutes, as Ferreira and Pefok are more situational players)


Pepi: Would need to find a goal scoring groove in the Netherlands to change my mind.

Dike: I know he should fall off, but I can't quit him. if he gets healthy and starts scoring goals I'd shock the world and take him.

Vazquez: Hopes hanging by a thread since he has never been called, but if he scorches the MLS playoffs and some of our hot players cool down I wouldn't eliminate the possibility of giving his first call up at the WC.

Fallen off: Wright, Hoppe, Balogun

That has my roster shaking out like this right now:

GK (3): Turner, Horvath, Johnson

FB (4): Jedi, Dest, Scally, Yedlin

CB (4): Zimm, Richards, CCV, Ream

Mids (6): Adams, Acosta, LDLT, Musah, McKennie, Tillman

Wings (4): Pulisic, Reyna, Aaronson, Weah

Strikers (3): Sargent, Pefok, Ferreira

You'll notice that is only 24 players. I think with those 24 we have cover at every position, the last 2 players would not play more than garbage minutes, so I'd leave those spots up to culture fit/niche roles. My heart says take Morris and Long, but my head says take Arriola and Cannon if he gets healthy in time.

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