Earlier today (Thursday, December 20, 2018), newly appointed Men’s National Team coach Gregg Berhalter announced his call-ups for January camp. Philadelphia Union’s Auston Trusty and Mark McKenzie have been called to the USMNT 27-man roster!
Union Homegrown’s to make senior national team debuts:
— PhilaUnion (@PhilaUnion) December 20, 2018
The pair of Union center backs are two of a 27-man roster on the US Men’s National Team! The two have had success at the youth National Team level, and head coach Gregg Berhalter has taken notice. He mentioned the pair of center backs have risen through the ranks and made it to the top flight in MLS. Their impressive style of play is intriguing for this new coach to evaluate two of the younger center backs in a vastly deep position in the US pool of players. Other than Trusty and McKenzie, The Philadelphia area will be well represented at the national stage.
There are five other players with roots in the greater Philadelphia area. They are Zack Steffen, Tyler Miller, Daniel Lovitz, Russell Canouse and the recently traded Keegan Rosenberry. Rosenberry, gets his second crack at January camp having made it back in 2017, his progress makes him a great candidate to breakout and shine in this group. Steffen is the standout keeper is the marque player in the bunch. He just signed a contract with English Premier League side Manchester City, a move that he’ll make in the summer of 2019. These players are just a few of the very young roster.
A look at the 27-Man roster:
— Joe Tansey (@JTansey90) December 20, 2018
There are not many veteran players returning to the squad besides Michael Bradley, Gyasi Zardes and Kellyn Acosta. Jozy Altidore would have been a part of this group as well, but seeing as he is still recovering from injury he is not with the squad. Many of the normal national team starters have been left off this list to give new players a go at making their mark on a national stage.
As this camp usually is, the roster is dominated by younger players looking for the chance to shine with the national team. This camp is riddled with youth, and it could be a breath of fresh air, as the main head coach is in place to evaluate this talent.
When Berhalter addressed the media, he spoke of a 28th player being on the roster for January camp. He did not mention who this player was, only that they were either a central midfielder or a winger. The roster is nearing completion for January, and the squad is set to report to camp January 6th!
Two matches to kick of 2019:
🇺🇸 vs. 🇵🇦 Jan. 27 in Arizona
🇺🇸 vs. 🇨🇷 Feb. 2 in San Jose pic.twitter.com/RLIaQ7V0e6
— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) December 20, 2018
This USMNT squad will kick off 2019 playing two matches on home soil. They take on two CONCACAF nations Panama and Costa Rica. The youth of the US will be on display against teams they will have to play to qualify for the 2022 World Cup.
The first match against Panama will take place in Arizona on January 27th, 21 days after the start of camp. Berhalter will have three weeks to see how this squad stacks up, and who to play in the first match.
The second match the US take on Costa Rica in San Jose, California. This match will be played February 2nd, just six days after their first match of 2019. The squad will likely see rotation, to couple with the quick turn around.
These matches are the first taste of how the USMNT will look under new coach Gregg Berhalter. We’ll see what type of formation and players he likes to use.
A lineup I’d love to see:
For me, I think Berhalter will resort to an oldy-but-goody USA formation, the 4-4-2. In that system I’d love to see the players above start and play the majority of the match. A midfield duo of Acosta and Trapp could hold things down and create good possession moving up the pitch. A two striker system will help with the US’s lack of possession they’ve had in their last few games as well.
Berhalter loves to play out from the back to create numbers advantages. Because of this I think a back four of Garza, Trusty, McKenzie and Rosenberry in front of Zack Steffen would be able to help the US achieve this style of play. Also, this in no way is a back line I wished to see the Union play with in Chester (please note the sarcasm).
January Camp is still over two weeks away, so now we must sit back and wait for the players to report for their first bit of training in the new year!
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Peace out Union fans!
Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports