The first game of 2018 could shape the USMNT’s future

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The US Men’s National team has been through a lot since October. Missing out on qualifying for the World Cup has left a bad taste in the mouths of Americans everywhere. Now that the calendar has turned to a new year, the USMNT have an opportunity to let the past die. The annual January camp has been going on for the last few weeks, and a friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina looms. Could the first game of 2018 shape the future of the Men’s National team?

Youthful roster:

This roster is one full of young players who are fighting for a spot in the national team. Even though the January camp squad is usually full of new/young faces, these players have a lot more riding on their performance. Not only are these players battling for a chance to be considered for future national team games, they are also trying to bring hope back to the disappointed fans. Take a look at the roster at all the newbies!

GOALKEEPERS (4): Alex Bono (Toronto FC), Bill Hamid (Midtjylland), Cody Cropper (New England Revolution), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC)

DEFENDERS (9): Danny Acosta (Real Salt Lake), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake), Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes), Justin Morrow (Toronto FC), Ike Opara (Sporting Kansas City), Tim Parker (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Matt Polster (Chicago Fire), Brandon Vincent (Chicago Fire), Walker Zimmerman (Los Angeles Football Club)

MIDFIELDERS (11): Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls), Paul Arriola (D.C United), Russell Canouse (D.C United), Marky Delgado (Toronto FC), Marlon Hairston (Colorado Rapids), Ian Harkes (D.C United), Brooks Lennon (Real Salt Lake), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC), Kelyn Rowe (New England Revolution), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)

FORWARDS (6): Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Christian Ramirez (Minnesota United FC), Rubio Rubin (Unattached), CJ Sapong (Philadelphia Union)

Who will make a strong impression?

The US are looking for the next wave of players to carry the torch as they move towards the next Olympics and World Cup qualifying. Who could take this opportunity and make a strong impression? Let’s take a look at a few who could:

Tyler Adams:

The young Red Bulls player has been a force in the central midfield. He now has the opportunity to impress people on the national stage. His box-to-box play has been a strength for him; someone has to take over for Michael Bradley in the coming years, it could be Adams if he makes the most of the opportunity.

Justin Morrow:

Morrow has been a force for Toronto FC for the past few seasons. His ability to defend well, and create offense make him a strong player. Can he do this on the international stage? He has spent most of his career as a wing-back, so being in a generic left-back role may take some time to get used to.

CJ Sapong:

A player once characterized as a “poor-man’s Jozy Altidore” has the chance to take over a crucial role for the USMNT. The target forward has been in great form over the last year. His ability to hold up play and get other players involved in the attack is an important part of how this team could operate. But, he usually does this as a lone striker. Could Sapong fit into a two striker system on a big stage?

Union teammates go head-to-head:

Speaking of CJ Sapong, he is going up against his club teammate Haris Medunjanin tonight against Bosnia-Herzegovina. Both look to be intrigue parts to their teams in this match up. Haris will look to control the midfield and pick out passes past the US’s inexperienced back line. Sapong will look to breakdown Bosnia’s defense by doing what he does best, distributing defenders and getting others involved in the offense. The two Philadelphia Union players have the potential to be the two  best players on the field, so be on the lookout for them.

Who’ll start?

I’d expect the USMNT to start a relatively inexperienced squad. While the roster has a lot of veteran MLS players, very few of them have been given the chance to show what they have on the international stage. This is the time to experiment to see who could come in to the already established squad for games with more on the line. As US Soccer is going through this interesting transition, now is the time to roll out the fresh blood!

USA vs Bosnia-Herzegovina 9:30 pm on FS1:

Head on over to FS1 at 9:30 tonight to catchall the action. Also feel free to interact with me on twitter my handle is TGing21. Let’s see if the first game of 2018 could shape the USMNT’s future!

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Peace out Union fans!

Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

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