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USMNT analysis

Thoughts on the USMNT Roster for Bolivia

The new USMNT roster is out and it is very young, which is refreshing. Some of the names are expected and some are surprises. Brian Sciaretta is here with his thoughts on it and he will be in Philadelphia at times throughout the week to provide updates 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
May 20, 2018
5:00 PM
UNITED STATES INTERIM head coach Dave Sarachan named a 22-player roster for the upcoming friendly against Bolivia on Monday, May 28. The roster is very young with a clear eye towards the future.

Of the 22 players, 15 are age 22 or younger and the average age is under 23. While the national team has no coach and no general manager, this roster will at least hand the next manager a younger core group of players that will now have more experience.

Here is a the roster as well as my thoughts

The roster

GOALKEEPERS (3): Alex Bono (Toronto FC/CAN; 0/0), Bill Hamid (Midtjylland/DEN; 5/0), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge/BEL; 2/0)

DEFENDERS (8): Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur/ENG; 2/0), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest/ENG; 14/1), Matt Miazga (Chelsea/ENG; 5/1), Matthew Olosunde (Manchester United/ENG; 0/0), Erik Palmer-Brown (Manchester City/ENG; 0/0), Antonee Robinson (Everton/ENG; 0/0), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna/MEX; 16/0), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC; 2/0)

MIDFIELDERS (9): Joe Corona (Club Tijuana/MEX; 20/3), Lynden Gooch (Sunderland/ENG; 3/0), Julian Green (Stuttgart/GER; 8/3), Alejandro Guido (Club Tijuana/MEX; 0/0), Weston McKennie (Schalke/GER; 1/1), Keaton Parks (Benfica/POR; 0/0), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 20/9), Rubio Rubin (Club Tijuana/MEX; 5/0), Tim Weah (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA; 1/0)

FORWARDS (2): Andrija Novakovich (Reading/ENG; 1/0), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen/GER; 0/0)

An Olympic head start

In an interview with ASN this past week, Erik Palmer-Brown said that he is thinking about the Olympics as the next big step for players of his generation. On the heels of two straight failed Olympic qualifying campaigns, the next U-23 team should have a lot of experience playing with each other. If it makes the Olympics, the core of this team will have been playing together for years at a high level.

On this roster, Erik Palmer-Brown, Matthew Olosunde, Antonee Robinson, Weston McKennie, Keaton Parks, Christian Pulisic, Tim Weah, and Josh Sargent are all Olympic eligible. With the exception of Olosunde, the entire group has played with the first team at their respective clubs. When you add in Tyler Adams, that is pretty much the core of the team.

If the U.S. team qualifies for the 2020 Olympics, it can field a very dangerous team that could be a nice stage to usher in a new generation of players.

Heavy rotation for Ireland & France

There are going to be many changes following the Bolivia friendly. For this game, Sarachan did not press MLS teams for the release of top players. These are tough rosters to assemble because the games are not international dates so clubs are not required to release players.

MLS players such as Tyler Adams (if health permits after suffering a knee injury on Sunday night), Kellyn Acosta, Zack Steffen, Marky Delgado, Wil Trapp, Darlington Nagbe, and others could be added. In addition, players based abroad such as John Brooks, DeAndre Yedlin, Kenny Saief (if healthy), and Bobby Wood are top candidates to be added.

First caps await

It is an exciting camp because some of the players who could earn their first caps against Bolivia is impressive. Goalkeeper Alex Bono could be in line for regular call-ups this cycle and he could make his debut. Josh Sargent is one of the top forward prospects and he might earn his first cap before his first professional appearance. The same could be said for Matthew Olosunde although his call-up was far more surprising as his standing at Manchester United is uncertain.

Alejandro Guido’s call-up was also a surprise although he earned somewhat regular minutes for a very good Tijuana team this past year.

Erik Palmer-Brown has been a standout with the U.S. U-20 team and he looks to make the jump to the senior level. Keaton Parks has made four appearance with Benfica’s first team despite never being a factor with U.S. youth national teams. Antonee Robinson ended his loan to Bolton on a high note after avoiding relegation and now will return to Everton. He was called up for the first time against Paraguay but did not play. His first cap could also come next Monday.

Untested players lead the attack

Many of the players who will be in charge of scoring against Bolivia are new to the international game. Christian Pulisic has a lot of experience for a teenager but those around him will be mostly newcomers. Between the two listed forward of Josh Sargent and Andrija Novakovich, the only senior team international experience is the latter’s substitute appearance against Paraguay in March.

Tim Weah, Julian Green, and Rubio Rubin can also play forward and all three have limited U.S. involvement. Weah made a brief cameo at the end of the Paraguay game for his debut and Green and Rubin have had rocky paths where both were expected to be part of the national team years ago but have fallen by the wayside until only recently.

The opportunity is wide open against Bolovia for players to make a strong first appearance offensively.

Impressive Club accomplishments

A lot of players will arrive in camp carrying impressive recent accomplishments with their respective clubs.

Weston McKennie and Christian Pulisic were regular starters for their Bundesliga clubs which qualified for the Champions League in 2018/19.

Keaton Parks saw limited minutes for a Benfica team which finished second in Portugal and a spot in Champions League qualifying. Tim Weah also saw minutes for Paris St. Germaine which won Ligue 1.

Jorge Villafana played regularly for a Santos Laguna team which won Liga MX on Sunday night with a 1-1 draw (and 3-2 aggregate win) over Toluca.

Matt Miazga was regular starter and a key player for Vitesse as it won the playoffs for a final Europa League berth out of the Eredivisie. Miazga, 22, scored a goal in the win over Utrecht in the final.

Finally among the goalkeepers, Ethan Horvath played the final two games of Club Brugge’s season as it won the Belgian title and Alex Bono helped Toronto to win MLS Cup back in December and was a big part of the team’s run to the final of the CONCACAF Champions League.

Build your own USMNT XI

The ASN feature for building your own USMNT Starting XI is open. We did one and so can you by going to the link at the top of the page or clicking here.

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