This September 7th & 11th, the US Men’s National Team will go toe to toe with futbol giants Brazil and Mexico, respectively.
The recent release of the 24-man list effectively sent a direct message from the directors and interim coach, Dave Sarachan, about the future of the U.S. soccer by opting for a very young fleet.
After a disappointing World Cup qualifiers run, U.S. Soccer took a major hit in morale and it was obvious to the fans that changes needed to be made. By firing head coach Bruce Arenas and now opting for a younger roster, the USMNT hopes to turn over a new leaf and get off to a good start after not qualifying to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Much like Mexico, the U.S. Men’s National Team is counting on emerging, young players to reset their momentum.
The face of this fresh start is one of Borussia Dortmund’s star players, Christian Pulisic. Pulisic is one of the handful of U.S. born players who tout their talents in one of the most competitive leagues in Europe, the Bundesliga. With only 19 years of age, Pulisic is the epitome of what U.S. Soccer has the potential to produce and what it hopes to amount to, as an entity. Unfortunately, Pulisic will not be included in these friendlies due to injury.
Another notable figure playing in France’s Paris Saint-Germain, alongside Neymar Jr. and Cavani, is American Tim Weah. After previous call-ups and an exceptional performance in the USMNT’s last match against Bolivia, Weah has earned a spot manning the midfield. With a surprising 18 years of age, Weah provides a fast paced game that allows the U.S. to amplify their offense.
What’s more surprising though, is the amount of MLS players that make up part of this young squad. Eleven players whose clubs are part of Major League Soccer are in this roster including Columbus Crew and MLS All-Star Zack Steffen, Seattle Sounders’ Cristian Roldan and D.C. United’s Paul Arriola.
Now, this doesn’t meant that the entire U.S. roster will be kids in their teens. Players providing a much needed veteran presence like Eric Lichaj (Hull City) remain in the process to help anchor the team.
We shouldn’t overthink the inclusion of certain players. This is the start of a new era with plenty of time for trial and error along the way.
There’s a very small chance that the same roster released for the matches against Brazil and Mexico will remain the same for the official World Cup Qualifiers.
Friendlies with competitive countries like these will provide top-tier gameplay and more experience for the young squad to take with them.