It has seemed like ages since we have had any tangible national team news to talk about but with today’s January camp roster announcement my heart is full of soccer joy. We are breaking down our first 2018 national team call ups and what those mean for our beloved Claret and Cobalt.
First lets start off with what we knew needed to happen. With the US bombing out of the World Cup in dramatic fashion, the shakeup of US soccer has begun. With it comes a need to develop the youngsters and get them battle-ready for the next qualifying cycle for Qatar 2022. It is no surprise then that 12 of the 30 players called into the camp have zero caps with the senior national team.
The defense is particularly fresh when you consider that only Bill Hamid has been capped and even he has only appeared in 4 matches. Likewise, the backline had 9 players called in, 6 of which have never been capped. Two of those players are very near and dear to us in Justen Glad and Danny Acosta, both receiving their long awaited and much deserved call up to the senior team!
The most capped player on the roster is the LA Galaxy’s Gyasi Zardes with 37 caps. I don’t know if it is attitude on FIFA 18’s The Journey, or the fact that his first touch is spotty at best, but I was a little surprised to see him on the roster at all. My hope is that he is there to give a senior presence, and hopefully won’t see the field as much as some of the newer guys.
The third RSL player to make the call up is our very own Brooks Lennon who will be listed as a midfielder. This will be his first senior team call up after showing well for the youth team in the U-21 FIFA World Cup last year.
Let me begin by mentioning that January camp is historically a proving ground for younger and less experienced senior team players. Many of the Europe based American’s are in the midst of their seasons and with it not being an official FIFA international window, clubs do not have to release players. Couple that with the fact that MLS Cup has just ended and the more veteran players are experiencing some R&R and you have a roster that has always been light on veterans and stars.
With that context, many of the younger and older stalwarts of the USMNT will be absent at this camp. Michael Bradley, the senior team captain over the last couple of years will not be in attendance, neither will his club teammate Jozy Altidore. Both are old-ish and may not receive another call up in the future. Time will tell but we may have seen the last of the old guard. Your younger stars who you can count on featuring with the USMNT team going forward but play ball in Europe are also absent. The boy-wonder Christian Pulisic will remain with Dortmund and John Brooks will remain with Vfl Wolfsburg. You can count on seeing them when the games start to matter.
Another sad absence is that of Jonathan Gonzalez, the 18 year old American born Liga Mx star in the making has reportedly chosen to represent Mexico and will be called into their camp and most likely cap-tied. This is a big loss for the US as he is young and very talented. He also was willing and ready to join the USMNT in November but was snubbed and if rumors are true, he felt very disrespected by how it played out. With the dearth of young US players like Josh Sargent, Christian Pulisic, and Weston Mckennie showing so much promise, it is so sad that we will see them take the field with the dynamic Gonzalez as foes and not friends.
Players will report to camp on January 10th in Carson, California in preperation for a friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina on January 28th at the StubHub center.
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION (Club; Caps/Goals):
DEFENDERS (9): Danny Acosta (Real Salt Lake; 0/0), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake; 0/0), Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes; 0/0), Justin Morrow (Toronto FC/CAN; 3/0), Ike Opara (Sporting Kansas City; 0/0), Tim Parker (Vancouver Whitecaps FC/CAN; 0/0), Matt Polster (Chicago Fire; 0/0), Brandon Vincent (Chicago Fire; 1/0), Walker Zimmerman (Los Angeles Football Club; 1/0)
MIDFIELDERS (11): Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls; 1/0), Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 15/2), Russell Canouse (D.C. United; 0/0), Marky Delgado (Toronto FC/CAN; 0/0), Marlon Hairston (Colorado Rapids; 0/0), Ian Harkes (D.C. United; 0/0), Brooks Lennon (Real Salt Lake; 0/0), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; 1/0), Kelyn Rowe (New England Revolution; 3/1), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; 2/0), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy; 37/6)
FORWARDS (6): Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution; 27/3), Dom Dwyer (Orlando City SC; 4/2), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 24/5), Christian Ramirez (Minnesota United FC; 0/0), Rubio Rubin (Unattached; 4/0), CJ Sapong (Philadelphia Union; 3/0)