USMNT 23 for Paraguay game: An all foreign-based option

Next week U.S. national team interim coach Dave Sarachan will have to decide whom to bring in for the friendly against Paraguay March 27 in Cary, North Carolina.

He's already said he's going to look at younger players or those with less international experience, like he did in the ties against Portugal in November and Bosnia-Herzegovina in January.

Complicating his plans is the fact that the camp for the Paraguay match starts just three weeks into the MLS season, though some teams will have only played two games because of byes. Six MLS games will be played on March 24, three days before the game in Cary.

Players whose MLS teams will be playing and whom Sarachan will have to make decisions about include Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls), who started both the Portugal and Bosnia games, and Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC), who captained the USA against Bosnia.

With only William Yarbrough (Leon) among the U.S. keepers based abroad currently starting, Sarachan will have to decide whether he needs to bring in Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC) or perhaps Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls).

Still, there are enough options for Sarachan to pick an entirely foreign-based group of players.

Bill Hamid (FC Midtjylland/DEN)
William Yarbrough (Leon/MEX)

Ethan Horvath lost his starting job at Club Brugge about the time his gaffe gave Portugal its only goal in the 1-1 tie in November. Hamid has yet to start since moving to Denmark. Yarbrough has been shelled this winter in the Torneo Clausura, where Leon has the second-worst defense in the league.

Cameron Carter-Vickers (Ipswich Town/ENG 2)
Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest/ENG 2)
Matt Miazga (Vitesse/NED)
Shaq Moore (Levante/ESP)
Erik Palmer-Brown (Kortrijk/BEL)
Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG 2)
Antonee Robinson (Bolton Wanderers/ENG 2)
Jorge Villafana (Santos/MEX)
DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United/ENG)

There's a lot of youth international experience in the group: Carter-Vickers (2015 and 2017), Miazga (2015), Moore (2015), Palmer-Brown (2015 and 2017) and Yedlin (2013) have all represented the USA over the last three Under-20 World Cups.

Villafana has regained his starting spot at Santos, which is leading Mexico's Torneo Clausura, and would be the first choice at left back, where he started for much of the 2017 Hexagonal under Bruce Arena opposite Yedlin.

If it's a choice between Robinson and Lichaj, the 20-year-old Robinson likely has the edge. Lichaj has not started since Nottingham Forest being suspended in February. Robinson, the English-born son of former Duke player Marlon Robinson, has played so well for Bolton Wanderers that he might get a shot at left back next week at Everton, which owns his contract.

Ream has been starting for Fulham, the hottest team in the League Championship.

Joe Corona (Club America/MEX)
Alejandro Guido (Tijuana/MEX)
Kekuta Manneh (Pachuca/MEX)
Weston McKennie (Schalke 04/GER)
Keaton Parks (Benfica/POR)
Christian Pulisic (Bor. Dortmund/GER)
Kenny Saief (Anderlecht/BEL)
Danny Williams (Huddersfield Town/ENG)

Sarachan rested Pulisic in November. Will he do it again? McKennie returned to the Schalke 04 starting lineup, going the distance in the 1-0 win at Mainz on Friday, a victory that consolidated second place in the Bundesliga.

Manneh, who is now eligible to play for the USA after turning 23 in December, is finally starting to see some playing time at Pachuca. Corona has been a valuable mid-season pickup for Club America, scoring a golazo in the Concacaf Champions League on Tuesday. Guido has also seen playing time in the CCL for Tijuana.

Saief, starting at Anderlecht since his loan move, earned one cap for the USA before injuries -- and then an infection -- sidelined him for months. Williams captained the USA against Portugal, though his playing time at Huddersfield Town has been reduced in recent months. Parks, an unknown until his move to Portugal last season, has been bouncing back and forth between Benfica's first and second teams.

Aron Johannsson (Werder Bremen/GER)
Andrija Novakovich (Telstar/NED 2)
Rubio Rubin (Tijuana/MEX)
Timothy Weah (Paris SG/FRA)

Aron Johannsson, whose goal last week at Borussia Moenchengladbach was his first Bundesliga goal in almost 18 months, says Sarachan has spoken with him recently. Rubin has quickly fit in at Tijuana since his move from Europe. Novakovich has scored 15 goals in 27 games, enough to warrant a look even if they have come in the Eerste Divisie, the Dutch second tier.

Weah, the son of new Liberian president George Weah, debuted for Paris St. Germain last week. A cap against Paraguay won't cap-tie the 18-year-old Weah but it would show the USA's commitment to keep him in the national team program that he has been part of since he was 12.

12 comments about "USMNT 23 for Paraguay game: An all foreign-based option".
  1. peter grill, March 10, 2018 at 9:34 a.m.

    So wasn't it just a relatively short time ago the USMNT was striving to get Julian Green and Gedion Zelalam into the U.S. soccer fold. What has happened to them and their relationship with the USMNT. It was nice to see that Aron Johansson was in better health and may get another US look.

  2. Carlos Sanchez, March 10, 2018 at 10:37 a.m.

    Not not-picking, just asking for information, but is dis Santos getting playing time in Portugal? Is Brooks hurt again? There’s someone in the French lower divisions who is eligible to play for the US, his name escapes me, but would he be in consideration? 

    Shame that Hyndman is in the conversation at this point. 

  3. frank schoon, March 10, 2018 at 1:48 p.m.

    No matter how you look at it, this does not look bode well for  MLS talent and the DA program itself. This is bad pr for the DA program, for going to Europe to learn and train seems to be the best option.....

  4. R2 Dad replied, March 10, 2018 at 6:56 p.m.

    How many of these DA teams get to train with the first team? Even if they did, what good would it do re: development? I think there will be a few that will sign HG contracts and get a little playing time but that won't be enough....

  5. frank schoon replied, March 11, 2018 at 8:52 a.m.

    R2, it sure looks like it. That there is not even a couple chosen from the MLS, is a slap in the face which can further create dissension between the European and MLS talent

  6. Bob Ashpole replied, March 13, 2018 at 2:29 p.m.

    The MLS DA teams are youth teams. The reserve teams are above them. The DA teams end at age 18 so there is a real training opportunity gap between the youth teams and the first teams, say from 18 to 23. If an 18 year old is not ready to break into the first team, overseas is about the only alternative to playing in USL or PDL.

    Growth of soccer in the US is really dependent on growth of the professional clubs.  

  7. frank schoon replied, March 13, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.

    Bob, the point is that the reserve team players likewise ,went through the DA training program. There are players in Holland 17/18 are ready to be moved up to play on the first team. Two things than can be deducted from this. One, the MLS academy is not doing the job properly to their 17/18 year olds in preparation for higher play like in Holland, and two, the MLS reserve teams 18-23 are not receiving good training; therefore I question the training procedures for the 18-23 range.

  8. I w Nowozeniuk, March 10, 2018 at 8:41 p.m.

    Is the coaching staff analyzing each player for their qualities and what they can bring to the team table, and than select the best combinations that are able to work together. Are they looking for players who can execute when it counts, or are they looking for players that execute sporadically. If the question of player analysis is not specific enough; the whole system of player selection becomes an exercise in futility.

  9. Wooden Ships replied, March 11, 2018 at 5:06 p.m.

    I w, the fact is that the USSF, for along time now, has been going with players that lack requisite skills. If you don’t have a quality touch on the ball, real dribbling and passing skills, by the age of 16, it’s mostly too late. There have been thousands of such players over the years, just not in the pipeline due to access, inclusion, style of play, but mostly because of politics. Until we incorporate staff that adheres to technical abilities, we will remain mediocre. At least for the near term someone swallow their pride and ego and ask Hugo Perez to take the helm. He will not be beholden to anybody, has the props and will select talent (soccer talent). Continuing with Sarachan is just a reminder that USSF is still lost.

  10. frank schoon replied, March 11, 2018 at 5:24 p.m.

    Ships, Exactly..... Serioiusly, I think you should have ran for president of the USSF, considering your backround and experience!!!

  11. Bob Ashpole replied, March 13, 2018 at 2:44 p.m.

    I try to go easy on USSF, but I am with you guys on this. USSF needs to emphasize technical development to the point that they think is overdoing it, and then double the emphasis again.

    I don't know when the love affair with the ball has to start, but I am pretty comfortable with the milestone of ball mastery by age 12. If players haven't mastered the ball by age 12, then you end up playing garbage tactics during the teen years. In short what has been happening for the last 30-plus years.   

  12. frank schoon replied, March 13, 2018 at 5:33 p.m.

    Bob,your quote < USSF needs to emphasize technical development to the point that they think is overdoing it, and then double the emphasis again."> is right on! What scares me is that the USSF doesn't seem to see that ,even after 50 years....That is why I'm not going easy on the USSF.

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