The United States Men’s National Team program has a dilemma coming up in March. For the senior national team, they travel to the Netherlands and Wales for their last friendlies of 2020. The two matches should be great tests for the team before they undertake the CONCACAF Nations League playoffs in June followed by the beginning of World Cup qualification in September.
The U-23s will have a busy March as well, as they seek to qualify for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. If they finish in the top 2 in the CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship, they would earn a trip to their first Olympic Games since 2008. The tournament takes place in Mexico and begins and ends outside of the FIFA international fixture window.
The dilemma lies in the current player pool of the USMNT. The team, and head coach Gregg Berhalter, have been proud of the fact that the team’s roster has been the youngest ever. The average age of most of the rosters over the past year have been below 23 years of age, meaning that there are several players in the pool that are eligible to be on the Olympic qualifying roster. However, there have been some key injuries lately to established regulars on the USMNT, from Paul Arriola to Tyler Adams to Christian Pulisic. There have also been injuries to players trying to work their way back into the mix, like Tim Weah. That only adds to the struggle over who Berhalter plans to call into the USMNT for the March friendlies and who will go with U-23 head coach Jason Kreis to Mexico. There’s also the added hurdle that clubs are not required to release players for U-23 competition, but are required to do so for senior national team duty.
So, this week’s Community Corner asks you: where would you put the Olympic-eligible players in March? Who would you send to Europe with the USMNT and who would you like to see help fight for a spot in the 2020 Olympics? Hit the comments and discuss, offering the players you would include on each team and why those players end up where you put them.