USA-Bosnia & Herzegovina preview: Chance to impress in difficult circumstances

The USA concludes its January camp when it hosts Bosnia & Herzegovina Sunday night in Carson, California.

Without a World Cup or any official game for that matter on the immediate horizon, there isn't a lot of interest in the game -- the pre-sale at StubHub Center was only 8,000 tickets -- but it is an important test for the 29 players who have been in camp for two and a half weeks.

Chance to impress. Just how many players will be retained from the previous cycle won't be known until a new head coach is in place later in the year. But for now, the players in January camp should assume just about every job will be up for grabs and this is their chance to impress in difficult circumstances, whether that's interim coach Dave Sarachan or his potential successor watching somewhere.

Yes, the team in camp is a break from the past:

-- Only Paul Arriola played in the USA's last official match, the 2-1 loss at Trinidad & Tobago that knocked it out of the 2018 World Cup.

-- Only three players, Tyler Adams, Juan Agudelo and CJ Sapong, started in the first game coached by Sarachan, the 1-1 tie at Portugal in November.

-- Fifteen players came into camp without a cap, one of the largest number of uncapped players ever for a senior camp. (Several recent January camps included potential U-23 players for Olympic qualifying.)

Strength down the middle. Sarachan does have a core of players down the middle who have played for the USA before, and are first in line to grab starting spots with good showings: Bill Hamid in goal, Walker Zimmerman at center back, Cristian Roldan and Wil Trapp in midfield and Jordan Morris up front.

Sarachan said the camp has been positive and expanded the pool of players he will have to work with in March or whoever will be in charge after that.

"Their energy and enthusiasm goes into that," he said, "but as far as the actual technical part of the game, I've been very pleased with what will be long futures for many of them."

Margins are thin. It's rare to have as large a camp -- 29 players -- and only one friendly, so a dozen players will leave disappointed about not getting a game.

"I think everybody that we’ve invited to camp has belonged and represented themselves well," Sarachan said. "The margins between players are very thin.”

Opponent. Bosnia & Herzegovina is even more inexperienced. Philadelphia Union midfielder Haris Medunjanin (55 caps) is one of only six capped players and the only one with more than six caps. The Bosnian squad includes former U.S. U-17 Elvir Ibisevic, who plays at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. After Sunday's game, Bosnia & Herzegovina will travel to San Antonio to face Mexico on Wednesday.

U.S. Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (4): Alex Bono (Toronto FC; 0/0), Bill Hamid (Midtjylland/DEN; 4/0), Cody Cropper (New England Revolution; 0/0), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC; 0/0).
DEFENDERS (9): Danny Acosta (Real Salt Lake; 0/0), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake; 0/0), Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes; 0/0), Justin Morrow (Toronto FC; 3/0), Ike Opara (Sporting KC; 0/0), Tim Parker (Vancouver Whitecaps; 0/0), Matt Polster (Chicago Fire; 0/0), Brandon Vincent (Chicago Fire; 1/0), Walker Zimmerman (Los Angeles FC; 1/0).
MIDFIELDERS (11): Tyler Adams (NY Red Bulls; 1/0), Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 15/2), Russell Canouse (D.C. United; 0/0), Marky Delgado (Toronto FC; 0/0), Marlon Hairston (Colorado Rapids; 0/0), Ian Harkes (D.C. United; 0/0), Brooks Lennon (Real Salt Lake; 0/0), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders; 1/0), Kelyn Rowe (New England Revolution; 3/1), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; 2/0), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew SC; 37/6).
FORWARDS (5): Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution; 27/3), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders; 24/5), Christian Ramirez (Minn. United; 0/0), Rubio Rubin (Unattached; 3/0), CJ Sapong (Philadelphia Union; 3/0).
Note: In parentheses are caps and goals.

Bosnia & Herzegovina Roster:

GOALKEEPERS (3): Kenan Piric (HSK Zrinjski; 0/0), Ibrahim Sehic (FC Qarabag/AZE; 6/0), Nemanja Trjulja (FK Borac Banja Luka; 0/0).
DEFENDERS (6): Almir Bekic (FK Sarajevo; 1/0), Daniel Graovac (Zeljeznicar; 1/0), Marko Mihojevic (FK Sarajevo; 0/0), Besim Serbecic (Radnik Bijeljina; 0/0), Darko Todorovic (Sloboda Tuzla; 0/0).
MIDFIELDERS (10): Dino Besirevic (Radnik Bijeljina; 0/0), Marijan Cavar (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER; 0/0), Zoran Kvrizic (Rijeka/CRO; 3/0), Stjepan Loncar (NK Siroki Breijeg; 0/0), Haris Medunjanin (Philadelphia Union; 55/11), Elvis Saric (FK Sarajevo; 0/0), Adnan Secerovic (Mladost Doboj Kakanj; 0/0), Ognjen Todorovic (HSK Zrinjski; 0/0), Tomislav Tomic (NK Olimpija Ljubljana/SVN; 0/0), Goran Zakaric (Zeljeznicar; 1/0).
FORWARDS (5): Mersudin Ahmetovic (FK Sarajevo; 0/0), Nemanja Bilbija (HSK Zrinjski; 0/0), Elvir Coljic (FK Krupa; 0/0), Elvir Ibisevic (Univ. of Nebraska-Omaha; 0/0), Luka Menalo (NK Siroki Brijeg; 0/0).
4 comments about "USA-Bosnia & Herzegovina preview: Chance to impress in difficult circumstances".
  1. Wooden Ships, January 28, 2018 at 6:32 a.m.

    Should have had two friendlies in this window, especially with all the players. Another wasted USSF opportunity? Good luck tonight.

  2. beautiful game, January 28, 2018 at 11:14 a.m.

    Zardes must be the coaching staff favorite. They've seen him perform dozens of times and they are still looking for a miracle.

  3. Wooden Ships replied, January 28, 2018 at 2:01 p.m.

    Agreed I w. To not have moved on from him continues to show how inept our National team leadership is. Just preposterous. 

  4. Ric Fonseca, January 28, 2018 at 2:41 p.m.

    Indeed, all the best to the guys.  However, (there'sd always a "however," with my comments, eh, righto mateys?) All I can say is sheets, here we go again, only a handful of local Latino home grown guys, if at that probly' four?, are on the squad.  Jeepers creepers, guys, I would think that Sarachan should most certainly know better, since this kind of games would also give him and the US MNT program an opportunity to bring in Latino talent and give them a good look, and from a PR perspective, it would be a huge starting/step/leap to make some amends with the local communities. and certainly most of the guys, save for a couple, are from the MLS ranks. But then again, as Woodie ships says, the ineptness of the NT leadership is glaring and more than just "preposterous," more like ignorant!!! Good luck to the team, nonetheless!

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