The U.S. will have most of its heavy-hitters, although there are some notable absences from what is generally a strong team
Yunus Musah, Christian Pulisic and Bryan Reynolds headline the U.S. men’s national team squad for a pair of upcoming friendlies.
The USMNT is set to take on CONCACAF rivals Jamaica in Austria on March 25 before a second friendly three days later against Northern Ireland in Belfast.
With the pair of friendlies, head coach Gregg Berhalter will get his first chance to bring in the team’s top European-based stars since November friendlies against Wales and Panama.
Who is in the USMNT squad?
Berhalter’s 26-player squad features three players that made the move to Europe during the January transfer window: Reynolds, Daryl Dike and Brenden Aaronson.
It also features 16 players under the age of 22, with 18 players returning from the November friendlies.
While the squad is heavily European-based, there are several MLS-based call-ups, with Aaron Long, Kellyn Acosta and Sebastian Lletget set to travel to Europe to take part in the pair of friendlies.
Tyler Adams, John Brooks, Reggie Cannon, Chris Richards, Gio Reyna, Josh Sargent and Tim Weah will all return to their clubs following the friendly against Jamaica due to mandatory quarantine restrictions in Germany, France and Portugal.
GOALKEEPER: Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge), Chituru Odunze (Leicester City), Zack Steffen (Manchester City)
DEFENDERS: John Brooks (Wolfsburg), Reggie Cannon (Boavista), Sergino Dest (Barcelona), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Matt Miazga (Anderlecht), Erik Palmer-Brown (Austria Wien), Tim Ream (Fulham), Bryan Reynolds (Roma), Chris Richards (Hoffenheim), Antonee Robinson (Fulham)
MIDFIELDERS: Brenden Aaronson (Red Bull Salzburg), Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig), Luca de la Torre (Heracles), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Yunus Musah (Valencia), Owen Otasowie (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
FORWARDS: Daryl Dike (Barnsley), Nicholas Gioacchini (Caen), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen), Tim Weah (Lille)
What was said?
“This is another step forward in strengthening our group in preparation for Nations League, Gold Cup, and World Cup Qualifying,” Berhalter said.
“It’s great to get the group together to continue to build relationships on and off the field. We look forward to the games and the different challenges they will pose.”
The Goal View
As expected, most of the USMNT’s biggest names are back in the squad as Berhalter gets a chance to evaluate something resembling his top team.
There are some notable MLS-based absences, like Walker Zimmerman, Gyasi Zardes and Jozy Altidore, but, by and large, this USMNT squad has most of what Berhalter will likely see as his strongest XI.
In defense, the USMNT will have another chance to sort out its starting unit, which will almost certainly feature John Brooks and Sergino Dest for the foreseeable future, with the likes of Antonee Robinson, Reggie Cannon and Bryan Reynolds competing to play on the opposite side of the Barcelona star.
Questions remain up top, but there are several young goalscorers in camp that could use this opportunity to stake their claim for the No. 9 positions. Daryl Dike has been in fine form at Barnsley while Josh Sargent has been heating up at Werder Bremen, adding new wrinkles to an already-intriguing striker battle.
The camp also sees the return of Pulisic, who could certainly use a confidence boost amid a difficult spell with Chelsea.
There are some major absences, though, headlined by Weston McKennie, who was not included in the squad amid recent injury issues. Also absent are Jordan Siebatcheu and Mark McKenzie, the former of which stated his hopes of earning a call-up and his commitment to representing the U.S. going forward last week.
Still, McKennie aside, this is something close to a first-team squad, one which will benefit from the chance to play together at least once before marching towards a busy summer.