The United States has officially got their squad headed to Qatar in less than two weeks. The highly anticipated reveal comes during a slurry of major squad reveals, but nonetheless there was definitely some excitement looming around the squad.
If there is one thing that the USA knows how to do it’s put on a total show. The roster reveal proved to be an excitement builder for the tournament, but also left us questioning some choices by Berhalter and his staff. Before we can get into who should and shouldn’t have been included on the roster, let’s take a look at who is in for the USA.
Goal Keepers: Matt Turner, Ethan Horvath, Sean Johnson
Time Ream, Walker Zimmerman, Sergino Dest, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Aaron Long, Deandre Yedlin, Shaq Moore, Joe Scally, Antonee Robinson
Midfielders: Weston McKennie, Yunus Musah, Tyler Adams, Brenden Aaronson, Cristian Roldan, Kellyn Acosts, Luca de la Torre
Forwards: Haji Wright, Christian Pulisic, Jesus Ferreira, Giovanni Reyna, Timothy Weah, Joshua Sargent, Jordan Morris
Arguably one of the most talented pools of players that the United States has had heading into the World Cup, the selected 26-man roster left us with some serious questions and definitely some confusions.
The Goalkeeper Situation
The question on everyone’s mind is where is Zach Steffen? After being a staple for Berhalter’s national team and constantly being called in during this World Cup cycle (when he was healthy enough to earn a call up), yet the American in Middlesboro didn’t receive the call up. However, Steffen has not received sustainable playing time and been in the midst of a slurry of injuries, which is most likely the reason for his omission from the roster.
While Steffen didn’t make the cut, the US already have a solid #1 with Matt Turner at the helm. Even the #2 and #3 spots are shored up with solid performers Ethan Horvath and Sean Johnson. Horvath has been a consistent performer for the United States and made some huge stops in qualifying and been that stable back up that the US needs heading into the tournament. Johnson has had a long spell with the national team and brings an experience in the locker room that is undeniably important.
Questions on the Back Line
The biggest question for the United States is their back line and their lack of experience on the back line on the international stage. Zimmerman and Yedlin arguably have the most backline experience on the roster, but the US really needs to shore up the center back partnership and find outside backs that have the experience and mentality that will prove to be a valiant four.
Probably the biggest surprise of the reveal is the inclusion of Fulham defender Tim Ream. Ream only played in one qualifier for the US but his recent performances for Fulham and big league experience really set him over the edge. Reggie Cannon however was left off the roster which is not necessarily a notable leave off but he does have the most experience under Berhalter in the back line. Other notable exclusions include Erik Palmer-Brown who has appeared in a couple qualifying matches and friendly tune ups and Chris Richards, who is injured for the foreseeable future.
In terms of the midfield, the US has a solid core heading into the tournament. With impressive club experience from McKennie, Adams, Aaronson, and Musah the US can put their best foot forward heading into the tournament. Notably missing from the roster is Malik Tillman. The Rangers midfielder is definitely more skilled than some of the MLS talent called into the tournament, but his experience under Berhalter and on the world’s stage is not comparable to Roldan and Acosta.
While Weah, Pulisic, and Reyna’s presence on the rosters was definitely expected and they will not be taken lightly in the tournament. However, there was one notable name left off the roster this go round with forward Paul Arriola. As one of Berhalter’s most capped players it came as a total shock that the Dallas forward did not make the final cut. Another notable omission is Ricardo Pepi, the young striker that quickly made a name for himself in just a few caps with the US. While his recent performances did warrant a call up, the massive talent pool for the USA did not find a fit for him.
While this roster announcement was not full of shocking omissions and additions, there were a few that had us raising an eyebrow or two. As the US gets closer to Qatar it’ll be interesting to see how the Starting XI shapes up. Stay tuned for more World Cup news as we get close to kick off!