KENYA BROWN - Wednesday, November 4, 2020
Youth will be on display for the U.S. national team as head coach Gregg Berhalter announced on Tuesday a 24-man roster for their upcoming friendlies against Wales and Panama.
With an average age of 21 years old, the team is comprised of players based outside of Major League Soccer as the world continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. The games will be played without fans in attendance, and all of the called-up players will receive exemptions from quarantine.
Ten uncapped players have been named to the roster, with Giovanni Reyna topping the list of the group. The 17-year-old, who earned his way into the Borussia Dortmund first team last season, has started the new season off in spectacular fashion. Berhalter had expressed months ago that he wanted to bring him into the senior team, and now he will have his chance.
A surprising call up was that of Yunus Musah. The 17-year-old may have not been on anyone's radar initially as he has played for England's youth teams. However, the New York City-born winger/midfielder accepted the call-up as the U.S. staff will do all they can to get him to commit his international future to them over the Three Lions.
Another surprise pick came from Brazil in the name of Johnny Cardoso. The New Jersey-born defensive midfielder plays for Internacional in Serie A where he has caught the attention of many. He will be another player that will need some convincing as he is also eligible to play for Brazil.
Sebastian Soto has also gotten the nod following his recent performances with SC Telstar in the Dutch Eerste Divisie. With Mexico and Chile keeping tabs on his progress, the U.S. staff will have their work cut out for them to keep him in their camp.
Chituru Odunze, Chris Richards, Richard Ledezma, Owen Otasowie, Konrad de la Fuente, and Nicholas Gioacchini round out the other uncapped players that will head into the camp in several days.
Among the regular call ups, all eyes will be on the status of Christian Pulsic. After being a late scratch for Chelsea's Premier League game against Burnley due to a strain in his hamstring during warm-ups, it's uncertain whether he will play any role in the friendlies. The good news coming from Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard is that the 22-year-old's injury is not that serious, but he will sit out of their Champions League game against Rennes on Wednesday.
The likes of Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams, Josh Sargent, Zack Steffen, John Brooks, and Matt Miazga will also feature in the team.
Another player returning to the national team is Timothy Weah. After being sidelined for a considerable amount of time due to a hamstring injury, the Lille attacker will be entering his first camp with the senior team since 2018.
After playing their last international game in February against Costa Rica, and the uncertainty of whether they could get a team together due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Berhalter is looking forward to finally working with the players once again.
We are excited about getting this group back together. I'm proud of the way the players have handled the challenging times - they really stuck together. We have built a solid foundation, and now we get a chance to continue our work together ahead of what is going to be a critical 12 months for our team," said Berhalter in a statement on the U.S. Soccer website.
The players are expected to report to camp on Nov. 8. They will face Wales on Nov. 12 in Swansea and then head to Wiener Neustadt, Austria, to take on Panama on Nov. 16.
GOALKEEPERS: Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge), Chituru Odunze (Leicester City), Zack Steffen (Manchester City)
DEFENDERS: John Brooks (Wolfsburg), Reggie Cannon (Boavista), Sergino Dest (Barcelona), Matt Miazga (Anderlecht), Tim Ream (Fulham), Chris Richards (Bayern Munich), Antonee Robinson (Fulham)
MIDFIELDERS: Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig), Johnny Cardoso (Internacional), Richard Ledezma (PSV Eindhoven), Weston McKennie (Juventus), Yunus Musah (Valencia), Owen Otasowie (Wolverhampton)
FORWARDS: Konrad de la Fuente (Barcelona), Nicholas Gioacchini (Caen), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Uly Llanez (Heerenveen), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen), Sebastian Soto (Telstar), Tim Weah (Lille)