On Tuesday, Jan. 5th, the USMNT announced their first rosters of an important 2021 campaign. Both the senior men’s national team and the under-23 national team announced rosters, and their intention to train together to start 2021. Who is in the squads, and why is important for both the senior team and U-23’s to train together ahead of this busy 2021?
An important 2021 Campaign
With four major competitions (Olympic qualifying, Nations League, CONCACAF Gold Cup, and World Cup qualifying) coming into focus in 2021, it is important for US Senior head coach, Gregg Berhalter, and US U-23 coach Jason Kreis to evaluate players and integrate how the USA wants to play in all of these competitions. Bringing in fringe players in January is one way to evaluate this talent pool, and that looks to be what Berhalter and Kreiss are doing now. An important 2021 campaign is coming into focus and these are the first steps for the USMNT.
Two teams training together
There are 12 players called up for the senior team, and 26 for the U-23s. These 38 players are mostly domestic players playing in MLS. For the most part, these players are looking to solidify themselves as part of the national teams’ plans moving forward. Here is a look at the two rosters!
GOALKEEPERS (2): Sean Johnson (New York City FC), Matt Turner (New England Revolution)
DEFENDERS (3): Tristan Blackmon (LAFC), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC)
MIDFIELDERS (3): Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC)
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Paul Arriola (D.C. United), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Chris Mueller (Orlando City SC)
These 12 players that make up the senior team roster are all 27-years-old or older and play for MLS clubs. All of them, bar Tristan Blackmon, have had senior team caps before this call-up. This squad can be labeled as fringe players heading into 2021. It will be important for Berhalter and the coaching staff to evaluate them, and for these players to show well in this camp.
This camp is the opportunity for these players to be a part of all the madness moving forward. They will need to show what they’ve got on the field and as leaders to the U-23’s as well. The match at the end of the month will be the true test for these players!
USMNT U-23 Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): JT Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes), David Ochoa (Real Salt Lake), Brady Scott (Austin FC)
DEFENDERS (10): Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy), George Bello (Atlanta United FC), Chris Gloster (PSV Eindhoven), Aaron Herrera (Real Salt Lake), Aboubacar Keita (Columbus Crew SC), Henry Kessler (New England Revolution), Mauricio Pineda (Chicago Fire), Bryan Reynolds (FC Dallas), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United FC), Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Hassani Dotson (Minnesota United FC), Bryang Kayo (Wolfsburg), Andrés Perea (Orlando City SC), Tanner Tessmann (FC Dallas), Eryk Williamson (Portland Timbers), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes)
FORWARDS (7): Cade Cowell (San Jose Earthquakes), Daryl Dike (Orlando City SC), Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland Timbers), Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas), Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids), Benji Michel (Orlando City SC), Djordje Mihailovic (Montreal Impact)
A large pool of mainly unproven U-23 players has been assembled by head coach Jason Kreis. This group will have the chance to impress not just Kreis, but Berhalter as well. These young guns will train hard for a month for the opportunity to be involved in the fast-approaching Olympic qualifiers. However, there is even more on the line.
At the end of the camp, some U-23 players will be invited to play with the senior team in the upcoming friendly! This is a huge opportunity for these young players! We’ll see if any of these players are able to make a huge and lasting impression.
Who could rise from this camp to playing a key role in the important 2021 campaign?
This is the million-dollar question. Will any of these players be able to play their way into more minutes in 2021? The answer is, most likely. With all the games and competitions happening this year, there will need to be good depth.
Berhalter and Kreis have their hands full at this exciting time! Be sure to keep up to date with all it on Philly Sports Network!
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Mandatory Credit: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire
Philadelphia Union Editor of Soccer Content
A passion for the beautiful game drives me.