US CALLS IN 23 FOR PARAGUAY FRIENDLY
The United States national team has called up a primarily youthful 23 players for their friendly against Paraguay on March 27 in Cary, North Carolina.
As the team continues to rebuild after failing to qualify for this summer's World Cup in Russia, interim head coach Dave Sarachan has decided to give opportunities to future prospects as they will not play in another competitive tournament until the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup.
Five players in the team will be looking to earn their first caps as defenders Shaq Moore, Erik Palmer-Brown and Antonee Robinson, midfielder Timothy Weah and forward Andrija Novakovich have come from their European teams to join the camp.
Both Weah and Novakovich come in after making headlines over the past couple of weeks. Weah went on to make his debut for French Ligue 1 team PSG in their March 3 game against Troyes. Novakovich, meanwhile, has been lighting it up in the Dutch Ereste Divisie this season as he has netted 18 goals for SC Telstar during his loan from English Championship team Reading.
One player some maybe paying close attention to during the week is Kenny Saief. The midfielder, who made the one-time switch to play for the US over Israel, had previously been called into the team last year ahead of the Gold Cup, but was forced to pull out due to a groin injury after playing for the team in their 2-1 win over Ghana on July 1, 2017.
The midfielder underwent surgery, leaving him unavailable to play for Belgian Jupiler team Gent at the start of the season. He then had to spend more time away from the field as he contracted an infection. Now injury-free, Saief has gone on to play well as he was sent out on loan to Anderlecht during the winter transfer window.
The team also has its veterans with DeAndre Yedlin and Bobby Wood leading the way. This international break may come as a relief for Wood as the forward has been on a long dry spell in scoring goals for Hamburg this season. The team are in a fight for survival in the Bundesliga and if he can find the back of the net against Paraguay, it could go a long way to boosting his confidence.
For Sarachan, he sees the upcoming game as another chance for the young players to prove themselves.
"This match once again represents an opportunity for some new faces. The roster has an average age under 24, so for the most part this is a group of younger players that we feel have a future with the national team along with some familiar names. The timing is right to give these guys international exposure, and they will certainly be tested against a strong and experienced Paraguayan team," said Sarachan in a statement on the US Soccer website.
The game against Paraguay will take place next Tuesday at Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park.
Alex Bono (Toronto FC), Bill Hamid (Midtjylland), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC)
Cameron Carter-Vickers (Ipswich Town), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest), Kekuta Manneh (Pachuca), Matt Miazga (Vitesse), Shaq Moore (Levante), Erik Palmer-Brown (Kortrijk), Antonee Robinson (Bolton Wanderers), Jorge Villafana (Santos Laguna), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United)
Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls), Marky Delgado (Toronto FC), Weston McKennie (Schalke), Darlington Nagbe (Atlanta United FC), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC), Kenny Saief (Anderlecht), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC), Timothy Weah (Paris Saint-Germain)
Andrija Novakovich (SC Telstar), Rubio Rubin (Club Tijuana), Bobby Wood (Hamburg)