A look at the USMNT provisional roster for Nations League final rounds
May 10, 2021
ON MONDAY, CONCACAF unveiled the 40-player provisional rosters for each of the CONCACAF Nations League semifinalists and also indicated that each team will name its final 23-player roster by May 27 – which is one week prior to the start of the competition.
Teams will be allowed to make changes up to 24 hours before the first game if there is an injury to a player.
The U.S. provisional roster is unsurprising but it does offer some insight into the depth chart of the U.S. team right now. There might be a few surprising omissions but there are no surprising inclusions as all of the players, except for young goalkeeper David Ochoa, have played under Berhalter this cycle.
Here is the roster as well as some thoughts.
- Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge)
- Sean Johnson (New York City FC)
- David Ochoa (Real Salt Lake)
- Zack Steffen (Manchester City)
- Matt Turner (New England Revolution)
- John Brooks (VfL Wolfsburg)
- Reggie Cannon (Boavista)
- Sergino Dest (Barcelona)
- Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls)
- Mark McKenzie (KRC Genk)
- Matt Miazga (Anderlecht)
- Tim Ream (Fulham)
- Bryan Reynolds (AS Roma)
- Chris Richards (TSG Hoffenheim)
- Antonee Robinson (Fulham)
- Miles Robinson (Atlanta United)
- Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids)
- DeAndre Yedlin (Galatasaray)
- Walker Zimmerman (Nashville)
- Brenden Aaronson (Red Bull Salzburg)
- Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig)
- Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids)
- Luca de la Torre (Heracles Almelo)
- Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy)
- Weston McKennie (Juventus)
- Yunus Musah (Valencia)
- Owen Otasowie (Wolverhampton)
- Christian Roldan (Seattle Sounders)
- Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes)
- Paul Arriola (DC United)
- Tyler Boyd (Sivasspor)
- Konrad de la Fuente (Barcelona)
- Daryl Dike (Barnsley)
- Nicholas Gioacchini (SM Caen)
- Christian Pulisic (Chelsea)
- Giovani Reyna (Borussia Dortmund)
- Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen)
- Jordan Siebatcheu (BSC Young Boys)
- Tim Weah (OSC Lille)
- Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew)
Who is not here?
The most noteworthy omissions are three long-time veterans in Jozy Altidore, Brad Guzan, and Michael Bradley. At some point Berhalter will be asked explain their absences, especially with Altidore and Bradley who are both two-time World Cup veterans and Bradley, in particular, has started multiple World Cup knockout games for the U.S. team.
Yes, there is the Gold Cup that is also this summer but the fact that neither are on this roster makes it an open question whether they will be there for qualifying.
The current MLS season is only now just getting started and the league is becoming a hot-bed for young American players and this can often lead to quick changes in the player pool. Last season, no one had Daryl Dike on the radar but his season in Orlando and his loan to Barnsley have him as a potential starter on the team.
This situation is likely to continue and there are a bunch of promising players putting themselves into good positions already. Cade Cowell, Caden Clark, Leon Flach, Gianluca Busio, and the return of Paxton Pomykal are just a few of the examples. This tournament comes just a little bit too soon but the Gold Cup will likely see the introduction of a few players.
In terms of European-based players, Erik Palmer-Brown, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Julian Green are probably the biggest omissions as the latter two both are part of key promotional races at the moment. For Green, the attacking midfield positions are pretty jammed at the moment. For Palmer-Brown and Carter-Vickers, the central defense pool is also crowded.
Most to gain? Biggest Questions?
This provisional roster leaves us with a lot of questions marks heading into the naming of the final roster.
For one, the wing pool seems a bit unsettled after Pulisic, Reyna, and Weah – and the latter two might not necessarily be used as wingers. The injury to Jordan Morris has really presented questions.
Konrad de la Fuente is still searching for playing time and while he has trained with elite players, we don’t know his true ceiling until he finds a place where he can play. Paul Arriola is rated by Berhalter and his defense does help his case to be on the team. His offensive game is streaky but when he’s on, he can help there as well. Tyler Boyd is still tough to figure out and his loan to Sivasspor has yielded some good games, but also long stretches of quite performances.
The fullback positions also have some questions. We know Dest is a starter but the last camp suggested that could either be on the right side or the left side. That means we need to know two other fullbacks on either side until Dest is firmly established.
Right back is an interesting question after Dest. DeAndre Yedlin brings with him experience and his recent transfer to Galatasaray has been a home run as he is now a starter for a club contending for the Turkish title. Reggie Cannon’s March camp was not great and his loan to Boavista has been challenging and that club is in a disappointing relegation battle. Then you have Bryan Reynolds who is starting to push through at AS Roma. He is very talented but still raw.
At left back, Antonee Robinson seems likely a likely bet to start if Dest at right back. After him, Sam Vines has helped his case the past year at Colorado and it won’t be a surprise if he makes the Nations League. Vines could be inline for a transfer if he continues to play well. His passing is sharp but he needs work on his defensive positioning.
In central midfield at the No. 6 position, Tyler Adams is the unquestionable starter. But Adams needs a backup because he is not always healthy. Jackson Yueill has earned the shot to be the team’s backup and his start to the 2021 season has been exceptional for him as he has been a key part of San Jose’s early season success.
There is also Kellyn Acosta who has helped his case within the team the past year. Acosta was up and down in March with the U.S. team – a very good outing against Jamaica followed by a shaky outing against Northern Ireland. At the time he was in preseason form but the fact he’s now back in season will probably give him a consistent level.
In the more advanced midfield positions, we know Weston McKennie, Yunus Musah, Brenden Aaronson will all make any top U.S. team at the moment if healthy. Sebastian Lletget and Luca de la Torre are both players looking to build off good March camps but it comes down to a matter of space to make a top-23 player roster right now.
Up top, Josh Sargent and Daryl Dike should feel good about their chances of making the final roster. Will Berhalter take a third center-forward? If he does, it could shape up to be a competition between Gyasi Zardes and Jordan Siebatcheu. When you watch Siebatcheu play, it is pretty obvious that he is a very similar player to Daryl Dike. Zardes, meanwhile, is a little bit different and more of a hybrid between Sargent and Dike. He likes to drop back and pass – and he also has a strong, powerful game. It could come down to how well Zardes plays in the weeks ahead to see if he will make this roster.
Goalkeepers (3): Zack Steffen, Matt Turner, Ethan Horvath
Defenders (8): Sergino Dest, DeAndre Yedlin, John Brooks, Matt Miazga, Aaron Long, Chris Richards, Antonee Robinson, Sam Vines
Midfielders (7): Tyler Adams, Yunus Musah, Weston McKennie, Jackson Yueill, Kellyn Acosta, Sebastian Lletget, Brenden Aaronson
Forwards (5): Christian Pulisic, Gio Reyna, Josh Sargent, Tim Weah, Daryl Dike