Lots of USMNT questions ahead of busy summer

The U.S. men's national team doesn't have a full-time head coach — Anthony Hudson has been interim coach for the first four games of the year — or a general manager — the position has been vacant since Brian McBride left earlier in the year — and U.S. Soccer doesn't have a sporting director — Earnie Stewart left on Feb. 15  to join PSV — whose job it will be to hire the USMNT head coach and general manager.

What the USMNT does have are plenty of player decisions to make ahead of a busy summer that includes the Concacaf Nations League June 15-18 and Gold Cup June 26-July 16. And also on tab is the Under-20 World Cup, slated to kick off in May (probably in Argentina after FIFA stripped Indonesia of hosting rights).

Hudson has already used 42 players in four matches in 2023 — only Alex Zendejas (below) played in January and March — and will likely give more players, from MLS, their first caps of the year when the USA plays Mexico April 19 in a friendly in Glendale, Arizona. That list also doesn't include players like Tyler Adams and Tim Weah, who started every match at the 2022 World Cup but were late injury scratches for the March window.

Does Hudson (or whoever will be in charge) prioritize the Nations League over the Gold Cup (both of which the USA enters as defending champion)?

Does the USA's "A" team hang around for the Gold Cup that starts eight days after the Nations League finals in Las Vegas end or are its mostly foreign-based players sent on their way for the offseason vacations like, what happened in 2021 (when the Gold Cup started later in the summer)?

The 42 players Hudson has used include six who are eligible for 2023 U-20 World Cup and 16 who are eligible for the 2024 Olympics as U-23 players. (The USA qualified for both tournaments as the 2022 Concacaf U-20 champion.)

What happens to players who are eligible to play in the 2023 U-20 World Cup? Are they released for the U-20 World Cup — clubs are not required to release them — or are they held out, say, for the Gold Cup for which clubs are required to release them?

That would include players like Jalen Neal and Cade Cowell (below), who played for the USA in January but did not attend the U-20 camp in Marbella, Spain, and Chris Brady, Brian Gutierrez and Caleb Wiley, who have yet to earn senior caps and also remained with their MLS teams during the March window.

How much is the 2023 Gold Cup used to give older Olympic-eligible players extended looks?

Older U-23 players include Aidan Morris, who has been playing well for the Columbus Crew, and Johnny Cardoso and Taylor Booth, who both were used off the bench in the recent Nations League matches.

Booth fits into the category of a player for whom a Gold Cup call-up would be complicated by a potential summer transfer. (His success at FC Utrecht has made him a target of the big Dutch clubs.)

Indeed, there's lots to think through on the USMNT's side.

* * * * *

USMNT player pool (March 2023)

Note: World Cup 2022 players in bold.
*eligible for 2024 Olympics as U-23 player.
 **eligible for 2023 U-20 World Cup and 2024 Olympics as U-23 player.

Player (Club) GP/-
Matt Turner (Arsenal/ENG), 26/-

Sean Johnson (Toronto FC) 11/-
**Gaga Slonina (Chelsea/ENG) 1/-
Zack Steffen (Middlesbrough/ENG-loan), 29/-
Ethan Horvath (Luton Town/ENG-loan), 8/-
Roman Celentano (FC Cincinnati 0/-

Player (Club) GP/G
Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG), 51/1

Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC), 39/3
Aaron Long (LAFC), 31/3
Miles Robinson (Atlanta United), 22/3
Mark McKenzie (Genk/BEL), 11/0
**Jalen Neal (LA Galaxy), 2/0
Sam Rogers (Rosenborg/NOR), 1/0
Auston Trusty (Birmingham City/ENG-loan), 1/0
Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic/SCO), 12/0
Chris Richards (Crystal Palace/ENG), 8/0

Player (Club) GP/G
Antonee Robinson (Fulham/ENG), 34/2

Sergino Dest (AC Milan/ITA-loan), 24/2
*Joe Scally (Borussia M'Gladbach/GER), 4/0
*Bryan Reynolds (Westerlo/BEL-loan), 3/0
**Jonathan Gómez (Real Sociedad/ESP), 2/0
Julian Gressel (Vancouver Whitecaps), 2/0
DeJuan Jones (New England Revolution), 2/0
*John Tolkin (NY Red Bulls), 1/0
DeAndre Yedlin (Inter Miami), 77/0
Shaq Moore (Nashville SC), 17/1

Player (Club) GP/G
Kellyn Acosta (LAFC), 57/2

Weston McKennie (Leeds United/ENG-loan), 43/11
Brenden Aaronson (Leeds United/ENG), 30/7
*Yunus Musah (Valencia/ESP), 25/0
Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo/ESP), 14/0
Eryk Williamson (Portland Timbers), 6/0
*Johnny Cardoso (Internacional/BRA), 6/0
Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas), 2/0
Alan Soñora (FC Juarez/MEX), 2/0
**Paxten Aaronson (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER), 1/0
*Aidan Morris (Columbus Crew), 1/0
Djordje Mihailovic (AZ Alkmaar/NED), 6/1
Tyler Adams (Leeds United/ENG), 36/1
*Malik Tillman (Rangers/SCO-loan), 4/0
Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders), 32/0

Player (Club) GP/G
Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas) 17/7

**Ricardo Pepi (Groningen/NED-loan), 14/6
Daryl Dike (West Bromwich Albion/ENG), 10/3
Brandon Vazquez (FC Cincinnati) 2/1
Josh Sargent (Norwich City/ENG), 23/5
Folarin Balogun (Reims/FRA-loan), 0/0
Jordan Pefok (Union Berlin/GER), 9/1
Haji Wright (Antalyaspor/TUR), 7/2

Player (Club) GP/G
Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG), 58/23

Paul Arriola (FC Dallas), 50/10
*Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund/GER), 18/4
*Matthew Hoppe (Hibernian/SCO-loan), 8/1
Alex Zendejas (Club América/MEX), 3/1
*Taylor Booth (FC Utrecht/NED), 2/0
**Cade Cowell (San Jose Earthquakes) 2/0
Emmanuel Sabbi (Odense/DEN) 1/0
Tim Weah (Lille/FRA), 29/4
Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), 51/11

Pulisic photo: Roy K. Miller/ISI Photos

14 comments about "Lots of USMNT questions ahead of busy summer".
  1. R2 Dad, March 31, 2023 at 6:41 a.m.

    I think Hudson has given the squad more freedom in attack without the GB "system" shackles. I hope USSF gives him the summer to make his case. Maybe he will stop calling up those GB "trusted hands" guys like Roldan, Morris, etc? I'd rather see young, untested players instead.

  2. Kerry Solomon replied, April 3, 2023 at 4:23 p.m.

    good points and I agree

  3. Wooden Ships, March 31, 2023 at 8:20 a.m.

    When are we adding Weah to the defender list? 

  4. Kerry Solomon replied, April 3, 2023 at 4:24 p.m.

    Weah neds to play wide as a wing or a wide midfielder

  5. Kevin Leahy, March 31, 2023 at 9:09 a.m.

    These questions are too important to keep working in a vacuum!

  6. humble 1, March 31, 2023 at 9:39 a.m.

    Most important thing for young players is ALWAYS what they are doing at their club, including decisions about what club to play.  What is being lost at the moment is not the coaching, it is the guidance from McBride, Stewart and Berhalter for the young men in their situations at the club, and between clubs, bamking good decisions, overcoming issues with coaches, staff, these were areas those three had betweeen them many years of experience.  What happend against Grenana and El Salvador, was pitance compared to how the players grow when they return to club.   

  7. Bob Ashpole replied, March 31, 2023 at 6:39 p.m.

    I am surprised at your statement. Hudson has more experience at that type of thing than McBride, Stewart and Berhalter. Not to mention that he was either a U20 coach or assistant to the senior team during this whole time period. Also why would those three former players stop mentoring young players or Hudson for that matter? Mentor relationships tend to last a lifetime.

  8. humble 1 replied, April 3, 2023 at 1:37 p.m.

    Bob, what I meant was there were three guys, each had a role, Stewart set it all up.  McBride was dealing with clubs, coordinating the heavy lifting, getting players released for Olympics, helping players in difficult situations a club, get reps in MNT.  This stuff.  Hudson is one men, he fills Berhalter shoes, maybe he's better, but he did not manage and MLS team or take a team thru the group stage of a WC, that was Berhalter.  Players develop at club, if they are selected, they implement what they developed at club at MNT.  This is a fact, by virtue of minutes of training and playing.  Given this, managing player development in the context of their clubs is very important for national teams, this is what Steward knew, this is what he implemented thru McBride.  This was not Berhalter and it certainly cannot be Hudson.  This is not important for fans or non-participants to understand - but - it is essential for USSF - and for them to get it right. 

  9. Alan Blackledge, March 31, 2023 at 10:25 a.m.

    Our process for selecting a coach needs to be fixed....this is a moronic, handcuffed process...

  10. Bob Ashpole replied, March 31, 2023 at 6:40 p.m.

    This process is USSF's idea of a "fix".

  11. Kevin Leahy, March 31, 2023 at 2:03 p.m.

    All the more reason to settle the leadership situation. The federation needs to stop dragging their feet!

  12. John Birks, March 31, 2023 at 10:21 p.m.

    Yeah, let's forget about "trusted hands" like Jordan Morris who leads MLS in scoring. That's brilliant while we are struggling to find a forward who can score against a QUALITY team!

  13. R2 Dad replied, April 1, 2023 at 6:46 a.m.

    Jordan Morris, 28 and at the height of his career, came off the bench for one group stage match in Qatar. He didn't score. Nor did he score on his loan to Swansea in 2021. If he's not going to make the squad for 2026, why do we need him? To score some meaningless goals against CONCACAF minnows? Those reps are needed by Weah, CP, Aaronson et al who are going to be Nats players at the next WC, here.

  14. humble 1 replied, April 3, 2023 at 1:45 p.m.

    Never underestimate Jordan Morris.  Passed Stanford admissions, he has quietly collected more trophies than almost any American male player in the history of amatuer, professional and MNT soccer. Count 'em, if you like.  Reminds me of Tim Ream, just keeps on playing, at a high level.  Whether he can translate it to MNT performance at WC, that is another question, rest assured, he won't be giving up on himself. Respect!

Next story loading loading..

Discover Our Publications