Barring any injuries this week, the U.S. men’s national soccer team will enter its final activities of the year with four young cornerstones together in training camp for the first time.
In naming a 28-man roster for friendlies against England and Italy, interim coach Dave Sarachan included Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Tim Weah and Tyler Adams. They all are fixtures in the program’s long-term rebuilding plans but have never been part of the same squad. On three occasions, three were on the field together.
Pulisic, 20, is the most accomplished of the quartet, having featured prominently since 2016. But he has appeared in just one U.S. match this year (May 28 vs. Bolivia) because of injuries, a summer break and club demands with Bundesliga leader Borussia Dortmund.
McKennie, 20, will arrive from German side Schalke, and Weah, 18, from French power Paris Saint-Germain. All three are with clubs in the UEFA Champions League, though Weah has had a hard time earning time on a star-studded roster.
Adams, 19, is a rising star with the New York Red Bulls, who won the Supporters' Shield (most regular season points) in MLS this season.
The squad also includes German-based forward Josh Sargent, 18, who scored against Peru last month.
The Americans will begin workouts Monday in London ahead of games against England on Nov. 15 at Wembley Stadium and Italy on Nov. 20 in Genk, Belgium.
The chosen players have an average age of 23 years 241 days, and 13 caps. Seventeen players are 23 or younger, while 18 players have earned 10 caps or fewer.
“These last two matches provide a fantastic set of challenges and experiences,” said Sarachan, who has a 3-3-4 record since last fall. “So we’re excited to bring in this group of players for another huge opportunity.”
In probably his final act before the U.S. Soccer Federation names a permanent coach, Sarachan summoned an unusually large number of players because of scheduling conflicts with the MLS playoffs. Six domestic-based players, including Adams, are employed by teams with playoff matches Sunday, which prevents them from training with the U.S. team until next Tuesday, just two days before the England game.
The others are goalkeepers Brad Guzan (Atlanta) and Zack Steffen (Columbus); defender Aaron Long (Red Bulls); and midfielders Darlington Nagbe (Atlanta) and Wil Trapp (Columbus). Defender Jorge Villafana remains active in the playoffs, but his club (Portland) plays Thursday instead of Sunday.
If their teams advance, none would miss any future games because MLS will go dark during the international window.
On the decision to invite players who might still be involved in the playoffs after this weekend, Sarachan said: “These are important matches, and we only have so many opportunities every year to bring our players together. . . . You want to include players you feel are vital to your program.”
All but one of Sarachan’s selections have participated in previous U.S. camps. The newcomer is Romain Gall, a 23-year-old attacking midfielder with Swedish club Malmo. Five players from the October camp were not invited: defender Ben Sweat, midfielders Jonathan Amon and Michael Bradley, and forwards Andrija Novakovich (injured) and Fafa Picault.
In leaving off Bradley, who was part of last month’s setup, Sarachan said: “His need for these games is far less important than it would be for players with less experience. Secondly, Michael’s schedule the past two years with Toronto FC has been virtually nonstop, and he has largely played without a break. At this stage, it made sense to give him some extra time off and also allow these games to be a platform for players that lack that kind of experience.”
Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Atlanta United), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew).
Defenders: John Brooks (Wolfsburg), Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Swansea City), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Matt Miazga (Nantes), Shaq Moore (Reus Deportiu), Antonee Robinson (Wigan), Jorge Villafana (Portland Timbers), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle), Walker Zimmerman (Los Angeles FC).
Midfielders: Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids), Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls), Luca de la Torre (Fulham), Marky Delgado (Toronto FC), Romain Gall (Malmo), Julian Green (Greuther Fuerth), Sebastian Lletget (Los Angeles Galaxy), Weston McKennie (Schalke), Darlington Nagbe (Atlanta United), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Kenny Saief (Anderlecht), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew), Tim Weah (Paris Saint-Germain).
Forwards: Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen), Bobby Wood (Hannover).
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