Things are not so clear at outside back. The only outside backs picked were the Montreal Impact's Eric
Miller on the right side and the Colorado Rapids' Dillon Serna at left back, though the latter doesn't play that position for Rapids.
But the end of Wednesday -- the deadline for roster changes -- Miller was off the team, stating in a since-deleted tweet that he was absolutely gutted to be "recalled" (his italics) by Montreal because of an "injury" (again his italics). In Miller's place is Real Salt Lake's Boyd Okwuonu, who has played just 118 minutes in his first MLS season out of North Carolina.
The only other defender listed on the roster is Will Packwood, who has been without a team since being released by Birmingham City last spring.
MIDFIELDERS. The situation in midfield is similar to that of the backline: loaded in the middle, thin on the outside. Wil Trapp, Fatai Alashe, Marc Pelosi and Matt Polster are all starting in MLS, though Alashe has been playing at center back in recent weeks for San Jose and Polster has been played several positions for Chicago.
The fifth MLS player in midfield is Luis Gil, the first of the U-23s to be capped for senior national team in 2014, but his stock has dropped considerably after being in and out of the Real Salt Lake lineup the last two seasons.
From this year's U-20s are Emerson Hyndman and Gedion Zelalem, both players who played centrally in New Zealand. The lone wing player is the team's outsider, 20-year-old Gboly Ariyibi, who plays for third-level Chesterfield in England, where he's spent most of his life. He is the lone player from the '95 age group without previous competitive international experience but nailed a roster spot after scoring on a volley against Qatar in the second of two friendlies in September.
“In the last camps, we had a lot of very good players in central midfield," said Herzog. "We don’t have a lot of wide players, and that’s the same in this roster. But we found a way to create strength through the midfield and with our passing game and with our technical game."
Herzog does not seem concerned about the lack of wide players, most notably Julian Green, who dropped from the 2014 World Cup team to the U-23s to out of the picture in the space of a year,
"At the end," he added, "we have two, three players who can play wide if we need to have more width in the game. So we can deal with every situation.”
FORWARDS. The U-23s are “I expect my team to have good control of the game, dictate the rhythm of the game especially in midfield, create some chances,” he said. “We have quality players; we have pace and speed up front so I expect a lot. I think right from the beginning we should have a very good team and we are able to deal with different tactical situations on the field.” also thin up front. Rubio Rubin, who starred with the U-20s in New Zealand and debuted with the senior national team in 2014, was not released by FC Utrecht even though his playing time has been reduced at the Dutch first division club.
The primary threat is Jordan Morris, a junior at Stanford University. The lone collegian scored against Mexico in the 2-0 win in San Antonio last year and followed that up a week later with a goal in the U-23s' 3-0 win over Mexico.
Herzog's other options up front are all playing in lower divisions abroad: Alonso Hernandez, with new FC Juarez in the Mexican second division, Jerome Kiesewetter with VfB Stuttgart II and Maki Tall at FC Sion II, third level teams in Germany and Switzerland, respectively.
Despite the USA's limitations, Herzog, the former Austrian international brought in by Klinsmann to be his No. 2 with the national team, is confident his U-23s can get the job done.