USMNT analysis

Red Hot Pulisic & Weah highlight USMNT roster. Cremsachi earns big callup

The new USMNT roster is out and ASN's Brian Sciaretta breaks it down for you. Gregg Berhalter will make his return to the team and his roster includes many mainstays, some big dual national news, and some surprises. 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
August 30, 2023
12:10 PM

IN HIS RETURN AS THE head coach of the United States national team, Gregg Berhalter today announced his 24 player roster for the upcoming camp that will include friendlies against Uzbekistan (September 9 in St. Louis) and Oman (September 12 in Minnesota). The roster contains surprise inclusions and a long list of players who are missing due to injury.

Specifically, the following players are listed as out due to injury

  •        Tyler Adams
  •        Taylor Booth
  •        Cameron Carter-Vickers
  •        Sean Johnson
  •        Gio Reyna
  •        Josh Sargent
  •        Zack Steffen
  •        Walker Zimmerman

Here is the roster along with some thoughts.




GOALKEEPERS (3): Drake Callender (Inter Miami; 0/0), Ethan Horvath (Nottingham Forest/ENG; 8/0), Matt Turner (Nottingham Forest/ENG; 32/0)

DEFENDERS (9): Sergiño Dest (PSV Eindhoven/NED; 26/2), Kristoffer Lund (Palermo/ITA; 0/0), Mark McKenzie (Genk/BEL; 11/0), Kevin Paredes (Wolfsburg/GER; 0/0), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 51/1), Chris Richards (Crystal Palace/ENG; 10/1), Antonee Robinson (Fulham/ENG; 36/2), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United; 25/3), Joe Scally (Borussia Mönchengladbach/GER; 6/0)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Johnny Cardoso (Internacional/BRA; 7/0), Ben Cremaschi (Inter Miami; 0/0), Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo/ESP; 16/0), Weston McKennie (Juventus/ITA; 44/11), Yunus Musah (AC Milan/ITA; 27/0), Malik Tillman (PSV Eindhoven/NED; 4/0)

FORWARDS (6): Brenden Aaronson (Union Berlin/GER; 32/7), Folarin Balogun (Arsenal/ENG; 2/1), Cade Cowell (San Jose Earthquakes; 8/1), Ricardo Pepi (PSV Eindhoven/NED; 16/7), Christian Pulisic (AC Milan/ITA; 60/25), Tim Weah (Juventus/ITA; 31/4)


Form Watch


In terms of form, the players will arrive at a mixed level.

Pulisic and Weah are playing terrific soccer right now to start the season. It will be very interesting to see both arrive in camp again under Berhalter as both players publicly expressed support for him. Robinson also played well at Fulham and Turner has been strong to start his time at Nottingham Forest.

What is interesting too is that 12 players on this roster are with different clubs than where they were at the start of 2023. The player pool is largely in flux. Many players such as Brenden Aaronnson at Union Berlin or Weston McKennie at his return to Juventus are still getting their feet wet. Ricardo Pepi is also transitioning to a backup role but one where PSV will want to bring him along gradually.


Dual National news


But the roster also includes significant dual national news is that Inter Miami’s Benja Cremaschi has been selected as he has emerged as one of the most impressive teenagers in MLS and is also a dual national with options. Last winter, he was playing with Argentina’s U-20 team and lately has stood out playing alongside Lionel Messi. In recent interviews (including to ASN in March), he has said that he is in contact with both federations.

Kristoff Lund, meanwhile, is in the process of making his one-time switch from Denmark. He has been playing with Denmark’s youth teams as a left back but has fallen out of the picture there. Recently he sealed a transfer from Hacken in Sweden to Palermo of Serie B. He is Olympic eligible.

Lund appears to be more of a wild card pick. Last season he helped guide Hacken to the Allsvenskan title and now he is in Serie B with Palermo (but he has yet to play). But the U.S. team has several players competing for the backup left back spot behind Robinson – including Caleb Wiley, Jonathan Tolkin, DeJuan Jones – and even youth options like Noah Allen. Did Lund quickly surpass these players?


Youth is served


Of the 24 players on the roster, nine would be age-eligible for the U.S. U-23 Olympic next year with the birth year cutoff of 2001 and younger (Lund, Paredes, Scally, Cardoso, Cremaschi, Tillman, Musah, Cowell, Pepi).

Not every player will make the Olympic team. Some will play with the full national team next year instead and some have eligibility issues for the Olympics given that they played with another country in Olympic qualifying. But nine players being born in 2001 or later shows a youthful twist.


Paredes & Callender


Aside from Lund, two players who are looking for their first national team caps are Kevin Paredes and Drake Callender. Both have earned their way here.

Paredes is coming off the U-20 World Cup and last season was a regular off the bench for Wolfsburg. He is listed as a defender but typically he plays more left wing than left back. But he has been among the most exciting players of the 2003/04 birth years. His national team inclusion always seemed as if it was a matter of time.

Callender, meanwhile, has raised his game in 2023 with Miami. Even before Messi’s arrival he was making inroads into the U.S. team. But with Zack Steffen no-man’s land with his club situation and Ethan Horvath also no playing, it is important to have a goalkeeper who is playing.


Reyna/Berhalter reunion on pause


Gio Reyna was not expected to be part of this roster. While he just returned to training at Borussia Dortmund, he has still not played a game since the Nations League Final.

We know through Vanity Fair that Gregg Berhalter is still yet to sit down and speak with Reyna and he has sought the advice of mediators. But that reunion will be a huge story and one that will still have to wait.


Notable omissions


There is an interesting list of players who are healthy and not on this list.

Caleb Wiley, John Tolkin, and DeJuan Jones have all been important left backs for the U.S. team and youth national teams over the past year. Tolkin and Wiley, in particular, are eligible for the U.S. Olympic team. But Berhalter instead went with Lund.

Gaga Slonina is also expected to be an Olympic option but for this camp, Berhalter went with Callender and Horvath as backup options. Slonina has made three starts with Eupen in Belgium since arriving on loan from Chelsea.

Brandon Vazquez is one of the top center forwards in MLS and is poised to make a move abroad. With Josh Sargent suffering a serious injury, it might have opened the door but Berhalter has instead kept with two center forwards in Pepi and Balogun.

Post a comment