Commentary

USMNT Roster: Some old faces, lots of new faces



This will be a USMNT January camp like no other.

The camp, which opens Saturday with 24 players, will be led by USMNT assistant coach Anthony Hudson, who is filling in until a decision is made on the head coach going forward. The last time the USA had a coach with "interim status" at a January camp was Due Sarachen, who took over for Bruce Arena in 2018.

A record seven players are based at clubs in Europe and Mexico, making it the highest foreign-based contingent ever in a USMNT January camp. The camp's short duration, ending with a pair of friendlies against Serbia and Colombia, allows these players to get in and back to their clubs quickly:

• Paxten Aaronson (Eintracht Frankfurt; Germany);
• Jonathan Gomez (Real Sociedad; Spain)
• Matthew Hoppe (Middlesbrough; England)
• Sam Rogers (Rosenborg; Norway)
• Emmanuel Sabbi (Odense; Denmark)
• Gaga Slonina (Chelsea, England);
• Alejandro Zendejas (Club America; Mexico).

In the case of Zendejas, who played for the USA at the 2015 U-17 World Cup, played for Mexico in two friendlies at the senior level but never formally filed a switch of association, U.S. Soccer and Club America reached an agreement to allow the 24-year-old Texan to play in the Serbia match on Wednesday.

Of the seven players, only Hoppe and Gomez, who has played senior friendlies for both the USA and Mexico, have been capped for the USMNT. The other five are among the 13 players who will be seeking their first U.S. senior caps.

Slonina, Gomez and Aaronson are among five players eligible to represent the USA at the 2023 Under-20 World Cup. The others are Jalen Neal, who has yet to make his first-team debut for the LA Galaxy, and Cade Cowell, who has one senior cap.

Probably the biggest name among the uncapped players is Brandon Vazquez, who played with Zendejas on the 2015 U.S. U-17 World Cup team that also included Christian Pulisic, Tyler Adams, Luca de la Torre and Haji Wright. Vazquez, who is also eligible to play for Mexico, is coming off a 2022 season with FC Cincinnati during which he scored 18 goals and added eight assists after recording just nine goals and seven assists in his first five MLS seasons.

The uncapped players also include Julian Gressel, the 2017 MLS Rookie of the Year with Atlanta United out of Providence College who was born and raised in Germany and recently became a U.S. citizen. Alan Sonora, the son of former MLS defender Diego Sonora, has spent his entire career at Argentina's Independiente but is currently a free agent.

January friendlies:
Wednesday, Jan. 25. USMNT vs Serbia 10 pm ET HBO Max/Universo/Peacock
Saturday, Jan 28. USMNT vs. Colombia 7:30 pm ET TNT/Telemundo/Peacock

Five players from the USA’s 2022 World Cup roster have been called in: goalkeeper Sean Johnson (10 caps), defenders Walker Zimmerman (37) and Aaron Long (29), midfielder Kellyn Acosta (55) and forward Jesus Ferreira (16). Besides Acosta, the only other holdover from the 2018 World Cup qualifying is Paul Arriola (48 caps).

Four MLS-based players on the USA's squad in Qatar will not be at the January camp: defenders Shaq Moore and DeAndre Yedlin, midfielder Cristian Roldan and forward Jordan Morris. Roldan and Morris play for the Seattle Sounders, who are headed to Spain to prepare for the FIFA Club World Cup, where they open play on Feb. 4 in Morocco.

USMNT Roster:
Goalkeepers (3): Roman Celentano (FC Cincinnati; 0/0), Sean Johnson (Unattached; 10/0), *Gaga Slonina (Chelsea/ENG; 0/0)
Defenders (8): *Jonathan Gomez (Real Sociedad/ESP; 1/0), Julian Gressel (Vancouver Whitecaps; 0/0), DeJuan Jones (New England Revolution; 0/0), Aaron Long (LAFC; 29/3), *Jalen Neal (LA Galaxy; 0/0), Sam Rogers (Rosenborg/NOR; 0/0), *John Tolkin (NY Red Bulls; 0/0), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; 37/3)
Midfielders: (6): *Paxten Aaronson (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER; 0/0), Kellyn Acosta (LAFC; 55/2), *Aidan Morris (Columbus Crew; 0/0), Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas; 1/0), Alan Soñora (Unattached; 0/0), Eryk Williamson (Portland Timbers; 4/0)
Forwards (7): Paul Arriola (FC Dallas; 48/10), *Cade Cowell (San Jose Earthquakes; 1/0), Jesus Ferreira (FC Dallas; 16/7), *Matthew Hoppe (Middlesbrough/ENG; 6/1), Emmanuel Sabbi (Odense/DEN; 0/0), Brandon Vazquez (FC Cincinnati; 0/0), Alejandro Zendejas (Club America/MEX; 0/0)
*Eligible for 2024 Olympics as U-23 players.
Note:  In parentheses are caps and goals.

Photo: New USMNT call-ups Alejandro Zendejas and Brandon Vazquez, who both have ties to Mexico's national team program, played with Christian Pulisic for the USA at the 2015 Under-17 World Cup. Credit: Marcelo Hernandez/ISI Photos

4 comments about "USMNT Roster: Some old faces, lots of new faces".
  1. schultz rockne, January 18, 2023 at 6:50 p.m.

    Ojo, SA--W. Zimmerman is 47, not 37yrs-old.

    47!

    Actually, he's just 29.

  2. schultz rockne replied, January 18, 2023 at 6:51 p.m.

    Oh, that's caps. So much for my joke.

  3. Santiago 1314, January 19, 2023 at 7:15 a.m.

    No McGlynn.???... Would have liked to see him in the Camp at Least

  4. John McGinty, January 19, 2023 at 4:02 p.m.

    Agree about McGlynn, he played well for Philadelphia and had an effective game in MLS championship vs LA. Good height and quickness. Seems a very aggressive type young player, a quality always needed. Why Arriola? Leadership for friendly? Known quantity, not playing in 2026.

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