Gregg Berhalter addresses what intrigued him about the three U.S. newcomers

Gregg Berhalter's squad of 26 players for friendlies against Mexico and Uruguay includes three youngsters ages 22, 19 and 18 getting their first look with the senior national team.

Berhalter spoke about the new faces in the team in a media conference call on Wednesday.

The youngest call-up is 18-year-old Sergino Dest, who on Wednesday earned his first start for Ajax in UEFA Champions League playoffs, starting in the 2-0 win over APOEL that sent the Dutch champion into the 2019-20 group stage. It was Dest's third appearance in Champions League qualifying to go along with his first two appearances in Eredivisie.

Berhalter:“Sergino is a guy we’ve been tracking, we’ve been watching his progress with Ajax, making his way up to the first team. We’re excited about him. We’re excited he can play both wing-back positions, he has a good offensive skill set. He fits into the profile we’re looking for in our fullbacks. We've been really intrigued with how he's been playing in Ajax. I really like how he interprets it. In terms of will he play on the right or the left, it's something that we're going to work through in camp. But we're open to him playing on either side."

Dest played for the USA at the Under-20 World Cup alongside 19-year-old Paxton Pomykal, who emerged this season as the leader of the FC Dallas midfield. He has two goals and five assists in 20 appearances in 2019 after playing just 265 minutes his first two seasons.

Berhalter: “Paxton is a guy we want to bring around to see the environment, get this experience. This is his first real professional season and I think the physicality of the MLS has at times taken its toll on him, but he's coming back and rebounded in a good way. We like what he’s been doing in the league, we still think he has a way to go to continue his development. We thought this was an opportunity to bring a guy around in the national team environment and see how he copes with the senior national team.”

In his third season in MLS, 22-year-old Miles Robinson is starting for the first time for Atlanta United and been excellent all season. He was named to the provisional roster for the Gold Cup but was not called into the pre-tournament camp in Annapolis, Maryland. With Matt Miazga injured, it became an easy decision to bring Robinson, a Generation adidas signing out of Syracuse in 2017, into camp as the fourth center back.

Berhalter: “Form pushed Miles into the team. He’s in great form. He’s played exceptionally over last month and a half. He’s earned it. I like nothing more than calling in players who have earned a spot by playing really well. He helped his team win the Campeones Cup. They just won the U.S. Open Cup. His team is first in the MLS East. What more can you ask for?”

U.S. Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (4): Jesse Gonzalez (FC Dallas; 0/0), Brad Guzan (Atlanta United; 60/0), Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 8/0), Zack Steffen (Fortuna Düsseldorf/GER; 15/0)
DEFENDERS (9): John Brooks (Wolfsburg/GER; 37/3), Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas; 6/0), Sergino Dest (Ajax/NED; 0/0), Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes; 7/0), Aaron Long (NY Red Bulls; 11/2), Daniel Lovitz (Montreal Impact/CAN; 8/0) Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 35/1), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United; 0/0), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC; 10/2)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 9/2), Weston McKennie (Schalke/GER; 14/3), Alfredo Morales (Fortuna Düsseldorf/GER; 13/0), Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas; 0/0), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; 15/0), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew; 19/0), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes; 1/0)
FORWARDS (6): Corey Baird (Real Salt Lake; 3/0), Tyler Boyd (Besiktas/TUR; 5/2), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders; 33/5), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG; 31/13), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen/GER; 7/2), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew; 51/10)
Note: In parentheses are caps and goals.

15 comments about "Gregg Berhalter addresses what intrigued him about the three U.S. newcomers".
  1. beautiful game, August 29, 2019 at 9:31 a.m.

    If coach B can't say exactly what a player brings to the team table except that he is flexible at several positions or is in form is meaningless.  Every single response from coach B about these three young players is a standard and hollow player assessment instead of what each player brings to the team table. IMHO, coach should talk about whether and how the player(s) makes things happen. BTW,  Zardes and Trapp still in the mix?

  2. Peter Bechtold, August 29, 2019 at 10:03 a.m.

    The arguably best all-around midfielder in MLS, Diego Chara of PTFC, has just become a US citizen. Does GB know ? Also, Frank deBoer said that Darlington Nagbe is now better than ever at Atlanta; not invited either. Who will control MF ?

  3. R2 Dad replied, August 29, 2019 at 11:55 a.m.

    You know the answer: Michael Bradley.
    But I've read GB's comments; MB should only be playing when behind against teams when we need long balls out from an immobile DMid.

  4. Kent James replied, August 29, 2019 at 5:29 p.m.

    Chara and Nagbe are both excellent players.  I don't understand why you'd bring in youngsters who have barely played professionally and leave off such excellent, experienced players.  Sometimes it seems like we're chasing shiny objects...

  5. Kent James replied, August 29, 2019 at 5:32 p.m.

    R2, Bradley was not called in.  

  6. Paul Berry replied, August 29, 2019 at 5:41 p.m.

    He played in a competitive match for Colombia in 2011. He's also 33.

  7. Stephen Hooks replied, August 30, 2019 at 2:19 p.m.

    Nagbe was invited but turned it down. Cited wanting time with family as more important right now for him. 

  8. Bob Ryan replied, September 1, 2019 at 12:42 p.m.

    Couldn't agree more. Trapp, Zardes, Roldan have been given chances and weren't at the level National Team players should be. Let's move on GB. Nagby deserves another look, also. These are the type matches we need to rotate players, especially midfielders. Stop playing favorites.  Please!

  9. cony konstin, August 29, 2019 at 1 p.m.

    The US dream team that will win the World Cup one day. Will be made up of 45% Latino Americans, 45% African Americans and 10% other Americans. The French dream team that won the last World Cup had 17 out of 22 players were from Africa. The game has dramatically changed ethically and culturally. US needs make sure that we keep an open mind in selecting our future players. Good luck Greg. 

  10. james Fitzsimons, August 29, 2019 at 1:03 p.m.

    Ariola not on roster?  Ariola or Zardes?

  11. Wooden Ships, August 29, 2019 at 6:16 p.m.

    We will always view selections differently, to some degree. I’d like to suggest that going forward we select players that will give us a chance to advance in future World Cups. I’ll focus on scoring/attacking players, the ones that aren’t going to get any better. Ariola, Morris, Zardes, Altidore, Trapp, Bradley, Roldan. Why are hanging on to these players? Yes, 3 weren’t called in this time, but for a reason and you know GB is still banking on them for at least a role player. Nagbe turned down the call up again. IMO, Chara while very good, is a couple cards away from not being dependable in crucial stretches. And, if GB continues to believe he’s a system guru, we will continue to see some of the aforementioned players. He’s not an alchemist and the game isn’t complicated. 

  12. Sam Bellin replied, August 29, 2019 at 8:53 p.m.

    Generally agree with your list WS, although I'd keep Arriola and try him at left back, and also keep Jordan Morris because at times he looks explosive and we just don't have much up front right now.  I also think we should be focusing on players who can help us in the future meaning WC 2022 and so I'm excited to see Dest and Pomykal, who looked great in the U20 WC and Dest was just killing it attacking up the wing in the Champions League last night.  Hope to see Weah and of course Tyler Adams soon, and maybe Chris Gloster or Chris Richards from the U20s.  Lastly, why can't we get Darlington Nagbe to suit up?  I think what he brings to our midfield is critically important.

  13. beautiful game replied, August 30, 2019 at 12:47 p.m.

    I'm in agreement with Wooden Ships...WC planning is a long term process and each coaching decision holds the key to competitive success.

  14. Bob Ashpole, August 29, 2019 at 6:37 p.m.

    Who Berhalter selects for CF will tell me a bit of how he wants the team to play.

  15. Eric R., August 30, 2019 at 7:51 a.m.

    I’m excited to see how Sargent develops.

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