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On USMNT: This is what the next World Cup qualifying squad could look like

We’re two months away from the U.S. men’s national team reuniting for the penultimate World Cup qualifying window, and the trio of games early in 2022 will go a long way in determining whether the USMNT will do its job or not get a spot at to secure the 2022 World Cup.

A lot can happen before then, but it’s a good time to think about what the squad that Gregg Berhalter calls into the camp could look like. It’s a group that doesn’t exactly reflect the group where we took four points from two games in November and we did that for two main reasons.

On the one hand, the January / February window is three instead of two games, which means that Berhalter can and should bring a larger group than in November. The second reason is the fact that Major League Soccer won’t be in season, so we’re leaving some marginalized MLS players out in favor of Europe-based options that are in their season.

To what extent that will affect the MLS contingent remains to be seen, although it certainly works in favor of this group that Berhalter convened a camp and friendly in December to fill the gap between the end of the MLS season and the start of January -World to close cup qualification camp.

There are also some unresolved questions about the availability of some players, including Gio Reyna who has not played since September due to an ongoing hamstring injury from which he has not yet recovered. Two more months feel like long enough for him to recover and compete in the January / February qualifiers, but at this point so little is known about Reyna’s status and injury that it feels a bit like a pipe dream I expect he will be back for January qualifiers.

With that in mind, here’s a first look at what the USMNT roster might look like for the next World Cup qualifiers in January and February:


goalkeeper


Zack Steffen, Matt Turner, Ethan Horvath

Steffen and Turner are the bans that have to be included and leave the third goalkeeper place a small question mark. Sean Johnson will be out of season, but Ethan Horvath isn’t getting any games right now either. Berhalter could choose to bring both and see who takes third place on the roster.

Ön the exterior: Sean Johnson, Bill Hamid, Brad Guzan


defender


Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Sergiño Dest, John Brooks, Miles Robinson, Antonee Robinson, Joe Scally, Mark McKenzie, Walker Zimmerman, Chris Richards, DeAndre Yedlin, Sam Vines

John Brooks is returning to the team and given his current form for Wolfsburg, that feels like a safe projection. Zimmerman has earned a spot on the squad even though he won’t be in the season for the next qualifiers. That could make it more difficult for him to keep a starting role before the European options, but he should still be in the race.

Sergiño Dest returns as a full-back, as does Joe Scally, who continues to play regularly in the Bundesliga and gives the group a certain degree of versatility. DeAndre Yedlin did well in November and should maintain his place.

Reggie Cannon and Tim Ream are two players on the sidelines who could step in if injuries occur by mid-January.

Ön the exterior: Reggie Cannon, Bryan Reynolds, Matt Miazga, Tim Ream, James Sands, Shaq Moore, Cameron Carter-Vickers, George Bello


midfield player


Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams, Yunus Musah, Gianluca Busio, Sebastian Lletget, Kellyn Acosta, Luca De La Torre, Tanner Tessmann

This is the most interesting group to consider for January as a handful of MLS players could be left out in favor of European-based options. Sebastian Lletget and Kellyn Acosta are included in this projection, but could Berhalter be tempted to bring in different options like Christian Cappis, or will the experience Lletget and Acosta bring keep them talking despite being out of season?

Luca De La Torre is a European midfielder who should find his way into the squad if he continues to play regularly for Dutch club Heracles.

Tanner Tessmann is interesting because of his qualities as a defensive midfielder, a position where there aren’t many ready-made options. Tessmann has started earning more playing time for Venezia in Serie A. If this continues, he must be considered as a candidate for January.

Ön the exterior: Cristian Roldan, Djordje Mihailovic, Christian Cappis,


Forward


Christian Pulisic, Ricardo Pepi, Tim Weah, Brenden Aaronson, Josh Sargent, Gio Reyna, Paul Arriola

Will Gio Reyna make it back to the January camp in time? This question will continue to arise as long as he remains sidelined at Borussia Dortmund. If Reyna can’t return, that opens the door to some other grand piano options like Konrad De La Fuente and Matthew Hoppe.

In terms of the forward role, Berhalter turned heads when he brought in Jesus Ferreira and left out some more traditional forward options. It was understandable given Josh Sargent’s scoring difficulties and Jordan Pefok’s club form, but Daryl Dike’s form should have got him a look.

Will Dike take a look at it in January when it is expected to be out of season (other than a January transfer)? We’re projecting Sargent onto this list because the USMNT will face other opponents and Sargent could pass better against El Salvador, Canada and Panama.

Zardes is another candidate and he should make a full recovery from the knee sprain he suffered at the end of the MLS season. Zardes, Dike, and Jesus Ferreira should all be attending the upcoming USMNT camp in December, and this camp is designed to help Berhalter get a better idea of ​​which of the top three will be challengers for a spot on the January qualifying list.

Ön the exterior: Jesus Ferreira, Gyasi Zardes, Daryl dyke, Jordan Pefok, Matthew Hoppe, Konrad De La Fuente, Tyler Boyd, Haji Wright, Nicholas Gioacchini, Emmanuel Sabbi


What do you think of this planned squad? Who would you like to see who didn’t make it?

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