The summer of squad rotation is near.
Later this month, the United States men’s team will meet in Switzerland for a friendly before crossing the Atlantic for a pair of betting matches and then another friendly to close the window. It has long been expected that the group that will meet in June for the Concacaf Nations League Final Four between those two friendlies will be more representative of what a US “A-team” is, while that the Gold Cup in July will depend more on the national. based players.
Although the Gold Cup has more prestige as a regional title than the League of Nations, it makes logistical and logical sense. Europe-based players have been nonstop amid a congested match schedule, and at some point they will need to take a break without compromising their 2021-22 preseason preparations for their clubs, while US Soccer does its part not to compromise. your working relationship with those clubs. Qualifying for the World Cup is what really matters this year, and having the top-tier team in the best possible shape in September is the priority.
However, with some of the qualifying windows with three games instead of the usual two, a larger than usual reference group will be required, something that is not lost on American manager Gregg Berhalter.
“We are trying to focus on the best XI, but if you can imagine now with the qualifying window with three games, we will have to rotate,” Berhalter told CBS Sports this week. “There is no possibility that we can play the same XI for three games in a row. So for us, it’s about using the Nations League and the Gold Cup, two very important tournaments, to see what our group is all about and see who can step up and play part of the role. “
The United States has already had a good kind of problem: two of their starters will not be available for the Switzerland match at least due to the small fact that they will be consumed by the Champions League final that is happening. one day before. Zack Steffen and Christian Pulisic are two players who could be written in ink on America’s “best XI,” but their alleged absences for that friendly – if not beyond – will put depth at Berhalter’s disposal for immediate testing. If the end remains in Turkey, where another coronavirus surge has caused the UK government to add you to its ‘red list’ for travel, then that would require a lengthy quarantine upon return and further complicate matters.
So who could be called upon to attempt to win the first Concacaf Nations League title, where a final against Mexico is possible, while trying to consolidate his positions as a first-choice talent? Here’s a look at the possibilities (with some potential club commitments beyond the Champions League final complicating matters and leaving open the possibility that not all players stay in all four matches):
Zack Steffen (Man City), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge), Chituru Odunze (Leicester City), Matt Turner (New England Revolution)
Steffen, as mentioned above, will not be available to face Switzerland on May 30 due to his commitment to the Champions League final, although he will most likely play in Istanbul. The depth behind him is a bit strange. Horvath has made just three club appearances all season while backing Simon Mignolet, while 18-year-old Odunze has been brought to camp multiple times before, but never as a serious contender for game minutes. That could open the door for Turner, who saved a penalty in his only cap for the United States in January.
John Brooks (Wolfsburg), Reggie Cannon (Boavista), Sergiño Dest (Barcelona), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Mark McKenzie (Genk), Matt Miazga (Anderlecht), Tim Ream (Fulham), Bryan Reynolds (Roma) , Chris Richards (Hoffenheim), Antonee Robinson (Fulham)
Brooks’ Wolfsburg has collapsed down the stretch and clings to life as it competes for a spot in next season’s Champions League, but is the anchor of the US bottom line when healthy. Long is probably the best option to complete the starting central defense tandem as of now and should be one of the few MLS players to be included in this camp.
Beyond them, Miazga (whose parent club is Chelsea and whose coach is former Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany, talks about some pranks in the Champions League final training ground), McKenzie and Richards are in mixing, while Ream has remained in the picture due to his versatility and leadership.
The top of the outside rear is pretty clear for now, although with Reynolds barely getting his feet wet with the Roma (and who knows what the arrival of José Mourinho means for his perspective), he’s still a cut below Dest and Cannon. .
Brenden Aaronson (Salzburg), Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig), Luca de la Torre (Heracles), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Weston McKennie (Juventus), Yunus musahar (Valencia), Owen Otasowie ( Wolves)
Playing in the Nations League would officially tie Musah to the US, even though he has made his commitment clear in what is a huge recruiting win for the US He is part of a complementary midfield trio with Adams. and McKennie, while Aaronson has made obvious strides since arriving in Salzburg. Meanwhile, Lletget has been a constant for Berhalter since the United States reconvened last fall.
Daryl Dike (Barnsley), Nicholas Gioacchini (Caen), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen), Jordan Siebatcheu (Young Boys), Tim Weah (Lille)
If Barnsley advances to the final of the promotional playoffs on May 29, then Dike will not be available for the United States against Switzerland, but his promotion abroad has been one of the most important developments for the group of players. He looks more and more like a viable starter in a center forward, although Sargent may still have something to say about it. If Werder Bremen are sucked into the Bundesliga relegation playoff (the second leg is May 29), they won’t be immediately available either.
That would open the door for Siebatcheu, who just won a Swiss league title and is already home to the inaugural friendly, and Gioacchini, whose scoring production has not existed since January. Weah, who is trying to help Lille end PSG’s reign in Ligue 1, could also be a candidate for a few minutes centrally.
If Dike, Pulisic and Sargent are not available, this group could complement each other even more.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.