We sit in the wake of one of the most embarrassing losses in US history, certainly a single game that shouldn’t have been lost, but also getting knocked out in one of the weakest confederation in World Cup qualifying. Insult to injury losing to one of the smallest teams in the world with few professionals even on their roster. We are out of the World Cup 2018 and must now begin focusing on rebuilding and preparing for 2022. With that in mind and the MLS playoffs having an influence on this of course I lay out my recommendations:
Bill Hamid (DC United, MLS), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge, Belgium JPL), Jesse Gonzalez (FC Dallas, MLS)
Bill Hamid and Ethan Horvath have led a long list of young goalkeepers who have wanted to take over the mantle of USMNT goalkeeper for years. Both have been called in as the third keeper and had limited opportunities in Gold Cups and Friendlies to get time in front of net. Neither has performed poorly, yet neither has really been presented the opportunity to take control of their own fortune. Hamid has now announced his desire to leave DC United after this season to try to break in Europe. This serves as his announcement to the next coach, whoever it might be, that he wants this spot after Howard. Jess Gonzalez is a very young goalkeeper that I think now early in the cycle, with so little at stake, is a great opportunity to get him some reps with the process of playing internationally. I don’t think it’s time yet to bring in Jonathan Klinsmann, but he should be on this radar as well.
DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle, EPL), John Brooks (Wolfsburg, Bundesliga), Cameron Carters-Vickers (Sheffield United, English Championship), Matt Miagza (Vitesse, Eredivisie), Erik Palmer-Brown (Manchester City, EPL), Matthew Olosunde (Manchester United, EPL), Danilo Acosta (RSL, MLS), Justen Glad (RSL, MLS)
Yedlin’s success at Newcastle may be the highlight of the USMNT for the year. Pulisic is continuing his development and threatening to turn into a real star, but he’s still very young and considered one of the hottest prospects. DeAndre after playing a fantastic match against Liverpool a few weeks ago is getting recognition as one of the more talented current players in the arguably the best league in the world. He is no longer considered a project, but a real talent and one that sports writers have wondered if Tottenham Hot Spurs gave up on too early on the young American. He has opened the door for more young Americans to get attention and one only need look at Erik Palmer-Brown’s signing in Manchester Ciy and likely others may come out of the U17’s successful World Cup campaign in the near future. I like Acosta and Glad here, though there are a number of young American defenders in the MLS, but these two play together and their team may be eliminated from the playoff race this weekend.
Christian Pulisic (Dortmund, Bundesliga), Paul Arriola (DC United, MLS), Cristian Roldan (Seattle, MLS), Kellyn Acosta (Dallas, MLS), Lynden Gooch (Sunderland, English Championship), Emerson Hyndman (Bournemouth, EPL), Kenny Saief (Ghent, Belgium JPL), Tyler Adams (NYRB, MLS), Derrick Jones (Philidaphia, MLS), Luca de la Torre (Fulham, English Championship)
This is a tough area to select because the right level of veterans and young players. A full on flushing out of the old guard is needed in all areas, but the appropriate level of mentors is needed as we develop this young team. I selected Pulisic, Acosta and Arriola as young mentors, but now experienced in how the international cycle works. We also need to begin developing new young leaders in the locker room and I can see this group working well together. Gooch, Hyndman and Saief have all played with the first team and have gone through this process. Adams, Jones and de la Torre might seem like an odd mix, but they have played together and made a fantastic run at the U20 World Cup earlier this year. This core group from the U20 team could be a nice group to build as a second unit. There is a deep and long list of midfielders both veterans (Julian Green, Darlington Nagbe and Michael Bradley come to mind) and young players (Brooks Lennon, Jonathan Gonzalez and Giovanni Reyna) that could be called in here.
Bobby Wood (Hamburg, Bundesliga), Clint Dempsey (Seattle, MLS), Haji Wright (Sandhausen, 2 Buldesliga) , Timothy Tillman (Bayern Munich, Bundesliga)
There are once again a number of players who could be included here both young and old. Bobby Wood is the only forward who should remain in the 2022 pool from the old guard. However, Clint Dempsey is a strong veteran presence with one goal left to pass Landon Donovan’s record. It’s unlikely he’ll be completely cut out unless his Seattle team makes a deep run. It’d be good to get that positive story line for USMNT going as soon as possible in the wake of disaster, but also behind the team so they can focus on youth development for the next cycle. Josh Sargant, Ayo Akinola, Andrew Carleton and Tim Weah could all be great replacement if Tillman won’t commit to the US, but my hope is they’ll still be busy in the late rounds of the U17 World Cup.