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Who the USMNT should call up to face Paraguay?

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We examine which names should be on the roster for this month’s friendly

Portugal vs USA - International Friendly Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images

The United States has a friendly on March 27th against Paraguay in Cary, North Carolina (7:00 PM EST on Fox Sports 1 and Univision Deportes). This will be the first official FIFA international window of 2018, so we should be able to see some players who were not available in January. The USMNT has nothing to play for until the Gold Cup in July of next year, so we might as well give some players an opportunity to see the field and gain some international experience. Full disclaimer-this is who I want to see, not necessarily who I think Dave Sarachan will call up. Here’s the 23-man roster I’d like to see in the March USMNT camp:

Goalkeepers (3)

Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC), Jesse Gonzalez (FC Dallas), Stefan Frei (Seattle Sounders)

At this point in time, Zack Steffen is likely the clear cut Number 1. Bill Hamid hasn’t been able to get off the bench in Denmark. Same goes for Ethan Horvath in Belgium. Tim Howard’s already 39 years old. An argument could be made that Brad Guzan should be here, but we’ve seen lots of Guzan and largely know who he is. I’d like to see Jesse Gonzalez even though he has got off to a slow start to the season. He’s still very young and could find himself in the conversation if he can find some better consistency. Stefan Frei is a guy who has had some stellar performances for Seattle and has never really got a look.

Defenders (8)

Cameron Carter-Vickers (Ipswitch Town), Matt Miazga (Vitesse), Shaq Moore (Levante), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle), Antonee Robinson (Bolton Wanderers), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake), Ike Opara (Sporting Kansas City), Brandon Vincent (Chicago Fire)

With John Brooks often injured and having missed the vast majority of the season, we need to start to entertain the idea that he won’t be able to be the building block of the backline that many of us want him to be. Carter-Vickers was just named Ipswich Town’s Player of the Month and Miazga has had a very stong year in the Eredivisie. I’d like to see Shaq Moore get a callup with little at stake, although I can certainly see arguing that his lack of first team playing time is a reason to wait. I included him, because we don’t have a ton of right back options outside of him, Yedlin and Timmy Chandler. Ike Opara did enough in January to warrant another look as a depth piece at least in the short term. Erik Palmer-Brown is another player I would like to see, but he only has one start to his name so far in Belgium. Brandon Vincent is another relatively young Left Back who can challenge for the spot. He gets the call over Danilo Acosta since Acosta has lost his starting job in Real Salt Lake.

Midfielders (9)

Weston McKennie (Schalke 04), Kelyn Rowe (New England Revolution), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Kenny Saief (RSC Anderlecht), Keaton Parks (Benfica), Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls), Christian Roldan (Seattle Sounders), Julian Green (Greuther Furth), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew)

A legitimate argument could be made against just about every name on this list, but I think this is the group of the most deserving players right now while also being highly youth focused. Pulisic is certainly a questionable choice given the thought that we know what he is already. I included him, because it’s been 6 months since he had the opportunity to represent his country. It could do him some good to get around a new group of players, and he could have a positive effect on the camp at large. McKennie and Saief should be in the starting 11. Tyler Adams and Christian Roldan need to show more than they did in January, but they both have the ability. Keaton Parks is a very questionable choice since he has only played sparingly at the first team level at Benfica. However, he has been very impressive when he has been given opportunities, and he has a lot of experience in the Portuguese second division. Julian Green has been playing regularly and very well as of late for Greuther Furth and is still young at 22. I thought Wil Trapp did enough to warrant future looks in January and he’s looked very good early in the season. Kellyn Acosta and Jonathan Amon are out injured. Lynden Gooch hasn’t been seeing the field for Sunderland. Their careers just started, but players like Kyle Scott, Anthony Fontana and Ben Mines could be options soon if they continue to see the field for their respective clubs.

Forwards (3)

Aron Johannsson (Werder Bremen), Timothy Weah (Paris St. Germain), Andrija Novakovich (Telsar)

I would love for the USMNT to call up Jordan Siebatcheu, but he missed last week’s game with an injury so his status is up in the air. If he’s healthy, I’d rather see him than Novakovich. Aron Johansson has been in fantastic form for Werder Bremen. Timothy Weah has appeared two weeks in a row for one of the best teams in the world. The real flier in this group is the 21-year-old Novakovich. He’s a Reading loanee that has ripped up the second division in Holland. If this was a game the USMNT needed to win, then I wouldn’t call him. But with nothing at stake, I think it’s a good idea to reward his goal-scoring run (he has 16 goals in all competitions this year). I could certainly see the desire to have a Jozy Altidore or Gyasi Zardes here, but they are known quanitites at this point.

I’m sure I will receive all levels of hate for this list of players, but this is who I would call for this window. Hit the comments section to let me know what you disagree with and who you would rather see.