For the first time in years, USMNT will play in an important competition as Nations League resumes after a long hiatus due to Covid 19. The USA is in the semifinals of the tournament along with Honduras, Costa Rica, and Mexico. Since the USMNT’s failure to qualify for the 2018 Men’s World Cup, there has been a new wave of talented American players. In the Nations League Semifinals, they will go up against Honduras for the chance to make it to the first-ever final of this competition. This younger, rawer group of players is ready to show that they can compete in meaningful games, starting with the resumption of the Nations League on June 3rd.
USMNT’s new wave on display in Nations League Semifinals
The USMNT has this new wave of players that are talented. Nine USMNT players featured in the UEFA Champions League this year, and one USMNT is guaranteed to win it as Christian Pulisic and Chelsea go up against Zach Steffen’s Manchester City. The goal of this new wave is to reestablish the USA’s place in CONCACAF, while also pushing to get to and be competitive in the 2022 Men’s World Cup.
Before that goal can be realized, the USA has a slew of games and competitions, including Nations League. Here’s the rundown:
- Friendly against Switzerland – May 30
- Nations League Semifinal against Honduras – June 3
- *POSSIBLE Nations League Final – June 5
- Friendly against Costa Rica – June 9
- Concacaf Gold Cup Group stage – July 11, July 15, July 18
- *POSSIBLE Concacaf Gold Cup Knockout Round – July 24 or 25, July 29, August 1
- Men’s World Cup Qualifying – September 2021, October 2021, November 2021, January 2022, March 2022
US head coach Gregg Berhalter has never had his top choice of players start in a competitive match. This summer he will have the chance to find out who his A-team is for the all-important World Cup qualifiers that begin in September of this year. The first step to finding out which players he sees as that top-tier is to look at this Nations League roster for the USMNT.
Gregg Berhalter has called 23 players for the Nations League Semifinal match. In this win-or-go-home situation, the 23 players called in for the first competitive game in a long time for USMNT is stacked with players playing great soccer, and also, at some of the top leagues around the world. Here’s a look at the roster.
Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge), David Ochoa (Real Salt Lake), Zack Steffen (Manchester City)
John Brooks (Wolfsburg), Reggie Cannon (Boavista), Sergiño Dest (FC Barcelona), Mark McKenzie (Genk), Matt Miazga (Anderlecht), Tim Ream (Fulham FC), Antonee Robinson (Fulham FC), DeAndre Yedlin (Galatasaray)
Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Weston McKennie (Juventus), Yunus Musah (Valencia), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes)
Brenden Aaronson (Red Bull Salzburg), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea FC), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen), Jordan Siebatcheu (Young Boys), Tim Weah (Lille)
You can see from the clubs of these players that this is a strong group. One omission from this group has many USMNT fans a tad angry. Striker Daryl Dike is not included in this Nations League squad. He will be with the team for the friendlies, but he won’t feature in the Nations League. Berhalter will have Dike with the team in training for the Nations League, to still be a part of the team, which is interesting. However, it looks to be Josh Sargent’s chance again to be the center forward for the USMNT.
For the Philadelphia Union fans, you’ll see that both Brenden Aaronson and Mark McKenzie are on the roster! They have balled out in Europe in 2021. Now, they have a chance to show their skills to be in competitive matches for the USMNT!
As the USMNT head into the Nations League Semifinals, they have clear expectations that could snowball into further expectations later this year!
Expectation: Win the whole damn thing!
For the USMNT, they need to win this competition to show they are for real! Their semifinal match against Honduras is the first step to get to the final of a tournament. The youth of the USMNT will need to start by beating them to keep that successful momentum going.
Honduras is one of the top four teams in Concacaf. They look to counterattack and rely on the central midfield to control those transition moments. The US knows who they are. In the previous eight matches, the USA has won five, draw two, and lost once. If the US can play their game they should be able to keep this winning trend going. Especially if they lineup this way…
This staring XI is what I see as the best XI from the 23 players in camp for the USMNT. This team should be able to go out and win against Honduras. Should this happen, the US would then take on either Costa Rica or Mexico in the final.
Costa Rica is coming to the end of a golden generation and will be without star goalkeeper Keylor Navas. They’ll need their new wave to step up against Mexico. Mexico is still the top team in Concacaf. They’re strong, and they keep getting better over time. It seems as if the soccer gods are putting pieces into play for a USMNT-Mexico final for the first-ever Nations League trophy.
The USMNT has a lot of work to do to get past Honduras, but if they want to show that they are turning the corner they have to beat Mexico in the final, should they get there! Anything less than getting to the final and being competitive in these games is a failure. They need to show they are turning the page from the disappointing results over the past five years. Winning Nations League would be the first step to doing that!
Don’t miss any of this action!
Nations League Semifinals: Thursday, June 3 (USMNT-Honduras @ 7:30 pm ET | Mexico-Costa Rica @ 10:00 pm ET.)
Nations League Final: Sunday June 6 at 9:00 pm ET.
We at Philly Sports Network will have you covered with in-depth previews and recaps of the semifinals and the final! Be on the lookout for that!
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Mandatory Credit: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire