Gregg Berhalter calls up 22 players for USMNT training camp
CHICAGO – U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Gregg Berhalter has called 22 players to training camp in South Florida ahead of USA-El Salvador on Dec. 9.
Kickoff for the USMNT’s first match at the home of Inter Miami CF in Fort Lauderdale is set for 7:30 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on an ESPN Network, UniMás and TUDN.
With an eye towards the significant competitions next year, the almost-exclusively domestic-based roster follows a similar approach to the to the November friendlies, comprising core national team players as well as younger players who have earned opportunities. The match falls outside of a FIFA international window, leaving players still in season largely unavailable for selection.
Additional players may be added following the completion of the MLS Western Conference Semifinals.
“Since returning to the field, the focus has been on continuing to build on our foundation and preparing the team for important competitions in 2021,” Berhalter said. “We have utilized these opportunities to work with our core group while evaluating young talent in an effort to strengthen our overall player pool.”
DETAILED ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB; CAPS/GOALS):
DEFENDERS (8): Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy; 0/0), Kyle Duncan (New York Red Bulls; 0/0), Marco Farfan (Portland Timbers; 0/0, Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 17/3), Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union; 1/0), Mauricio Pineda (Chicago Fire; 0/0), Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids; 1/0), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; 12/2)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia Union; 1/0), Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids; 23/2), Frankie Amaya (FC Cincinnati; 0/0), Cole Bassett (Colorado Rapids; 0/0), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 16/3)
FORWARDS (6): Ayo Akinola (Toronto FC/CAN; 0/0), Efrain Alvarez (LA Galaxy; 0/0), Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 33/5), Daryl Dike (Orlando City SC; 0/0), Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago Fire; 5/1), Chris Mueller (Orlando City SC; 0/0)
SIMPLY THE BEST (XI)
A trio of players earned a spot on the 2020 MLS Best XI, led by Defender of the Year and Nashville SC center back Walker Zimmerman. He’s joined by the Philadelphia Union duo of Brenden Aaronson and Mark McKenzie. All three appeared in the USMNT’s 1-0 win against Costa Rica on Feb. 1, 2020, along with roster mates Paul Arriola, Bill Hamid, Sebastian Lletget, Aaron Long, and Sam Vines
Aaronson and first-time USMNT call-up Daryl Dike of Orlando City SC were also finalists for the 2020 MLS Young Player of the Year award.
While there are a number of players getting their first chance with the USMNT, the camp also serves as an opportunity for two veterans to get back in the mix. With 33 caps, Paul Arriola is the senior-most player on the roster and comes to camp after recovering from a torn right ACL which sidelined him for most of the MLS campaign for D.C. United. Determined to make his way back, the 25-year-old winger returned for the club’s final match of the season, playing 21 minutes on Nov. 28 against the Montreal Impact. A member of the 2017 Concacaf Gold Cup winning side, he will look to put an exclamation point on 2020 with an appearance against El Salvador.
The camp also marks the return of 25-year-old midfielder Kellyn Acosta. Also a member of that 2017 Gold Cup champion squad, Acosta has 23 caps to his name and will make his first USMNT camp appearance since January 2019. The Plano, Texas native heads to Florida on the heels of helping the Colorado Rapids clinch an MLS Cup Playoffs berth this season.
AGAINST EL SALVADOR
The Concacaf foes are quite familiar, with the USMNT holding a 17-1-5 all-time advantage in the series dating back to 1977. This will be the first friendly meeting in more than a decade, the previous match also having taken place in Florida when goals by Brian Ching and Sacha Kljestan paced the USA to a 2-1 win on Feb. 24, 2010 in Tampa. The most recent encounter came in the Quarterfinals of the 2017 Concacaf Gold Cup, as first-half goals from defenders Omar Gonzalez and Eric Lichaj led to a 2-0 shutout in front of 31,615 at Lincoln Financial Field.
- As of December 1, the roster holds an average age of 22 years, 201 days
- The 22 players average five caps.
- Fifteen players are eligible for the 2021 Summer Olympics, with nine age 20 and younger.
- Twelve MLS clubs are represented, with Colorado Rapids and LA Galaxy leading the way with three selections each. The others: Chicago Fire, D.C. United, New York Red Bulls, Orlando City SC and Philadelphia Union (2 each); FC Cincinnati, Nashville SC, Portland Timbers, Real Salt Lake and Toronto FC (1 each).
- A total of 11 players have the opportunity to earn their first cap: Ayo Akinola, Frankie Amaya, Julian Araujo, Cole Bassett, CJ Dos Santos, Daryl Dike, Kyle Duncan, Marco Farfan, Chris Mueller, David Ochoa and Mauricio Pineda.
- Nine of those players will attend their first USMNT camp. Julian Araujo was part of this year’s January Camp, while Kyle Duncan previously took part in senior-team camp in May 2019.
- LA Galaxy midfielder Efrain Alvarez has spent time with both the U.S. and Mexico youth national teams. Having appeared in the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup for El Tri, Alvarez would need to file a one-time switch in order to be able to play for the United States.
- A member of the U.S. squads at the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup and 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup, Benfica goalkeeper CJ Dos Santos is the lone player from outside MLS.
- Eight players appeared in the USMNT’s 1-0 win against Costa Rica on Feb. 1, 2020: Brenden Aaronson, Paul Arriola, Bill Hamid, Sebastian Lletget, Aaron Long, Mark McKenzie, Sam Vines and Walker Zimmerman
- Sebastian Lletget is the lone player to have been called to every USMNT camp in 2020 and has the chance to appear in all four matches this year. Lletget scored his third international goal in the USA’s 6-2 win against Panama on Nov. 16 in Wiener Neustadt, Austria.
- With 33 caps, Paul Arriola is the most senior player on the roster. The 25-year-old winger suffered a torn right ACL during preseason with D.C. United in February, but returned to play in the club’s final match of the MLS Regular Season on Nov. 8 against Montreal Impact.
- Holding the second most caps on the roster, 25-year-old midfielder Kellyn Acosta returns to the USMNT for the first time since January 2019. Acosta has 23 appearances and two goals for the senior team and was part of the 2017 Concacaf Gold Cup winning side.
- The 2020 MLS Defender of the Year, Nashville SC center back Walker Zimmerman leads the list of three MLS Best XI selections on the squad. He’s joined by the Philadelphia Union duo of midfielder Brenden Aaronson and defender Mark McKenzie.
- Aaronson will participate in his last USMNT camp before joining Austrian Bundesliga side Red Bull Salzburg in January.
- The Orlando City SC attacking duo of Daryl Dike and Chris Mueller had breakout campaigns this year. In his third MLS season, Mueller recorded 10 goals and seven assists in 22 matches, while the rookie Dike registered eight goals and four assists in 17 contests.
- Both Aaronson and Dike were finalists for the 2020 MLS Young Player of the Year award.
- First-time USMNT call-up Ayo Akinola was also originally on the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup roster before an injury ruled him out of the tournament. The 20-year-old striker had a breakout season for Toronto FC, tallying nine goals in 15 matches.
- A total of 19 players were part of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.
- Having regularly captained the U.S. U-23 squad this cycle, Djordje Mihailovic was part of the 2015 U-17/18 championship winning team for the Chicago Fire along with USMNT first-timer Mauricio Pineda.
- Colorado Rapids midfielder Kellyn Acosta earned the Development Academy’s Central Conference Player of the Year award as he led the club to the 2011-12 championship match where they earned a 3-2 win against Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.
- Dos Santos and fellow goalkeeper David Ochoa’s summons mean that 13 players from the USA squad at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup have earned a USMNT call-up under Gregg Berhalter.
- Having just completed his second MLS season, FC Cincinnati midfielder Frankie Amaya was part of the U.S. squad that won the 2018 Concacaf U-20 Championship to qualify for the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
- Playing his third MLS season, midfielder Cole Bassett shined for Colorado Rapids, racking up five goals and five assists in 14 matches to help the club earn a postseason berth.