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USMNT Roster Reveal 2022

By J.J. Pavlick


The stage has been set by the U.S. Soccer Federation at Brooklyn Steel, in New York. The crowd was ready to go and started the party outside the venue, the fans started the usual USA chants and came in loud and proud. Once inside the mood was set by the lighting and DJ Step who was cranking out beats. The MC started things off by getting the American Outlaws into position and warming up the vocal cords. The Outlaws started singing the chants we've all become accustomed to in arenas around the world.

Kay Murray, Taylor Twellman, and Jermaine Jones take the stage for the ESPN panel. The lights go down and here we go cue the preview video, which highlighted numerous successes for the National team including Jones's goal from the world cup. Taylor looks at Jones and says, "as a player, you wait for this special day, it's a pleasure to be selected to go represent your country." Taylor joked with Jones saying the only reason he is here tonight is due to a $100 Venmo to show his big goal.

Now the reveal starts with none other than the Goalkeepers. The first announced is Ethan Horvath. Horvath aged 27 from (Highlands Ranch, Colorado) currently plays for Luton Town in the second division in England. He comes in off a strong performance at the CONCACAF Nations League. Where he saved the penalty kick against Mexico's Andres Guardado in extra time to help the U.S. secure the win. His next performance was tarnished when he was caught out of position in June against El Salvador which resulted in a 1-1 tie. He was a wild card to make this roster but with injuries and playing time by other keepers in question he got the nod from Gregg. Ethan has started every minute for his club team in England this season and was a helpful nod for him. He has 8 clean sheets for the club and 5 since October which helped as well. When Gregg was asked about Ethan he responded simply "Ethan is a guy that always responds when his number is called,” USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter told reporters after the announcement on Wednesday. “… He’s a guy that’s Johnny-on-the-spot. If you need him, he’s ready. And I think that’s valuable in a World Cup type of competition." Ethan is also the first player from Colorado to ever make a World Cup Roster. Next up was veteran Sean Johnson age 33 from (Lilburn, Georgia) who currently plays in the MLS for New York City FC. Sean took NYCFC to a cup win in 2021 and helped them reach the eastern conference finals this season in their attempt to go back-to-back. Gregg is relying on the savvy veteran to provide leadership in the back and continue his dominant ways on the national stage. Between CONCACAF and WCQ he has 5 clean sheets in 10 matches with 4 wins. He started all 37 matches for NYCFC this season in the run to attempt to become back-to-back champions. Both Horvath and Johnson were picked over long-time goalkeeper Zack Steffen, who was thought by many to be a lock for Gregg. When asked Gregg said, "Me and Zach go way back, and Zach's been there for me a bunch of times" "And to tell him he is not going to be part of the World Cup team was heartbreaking for me." "But those are decisions that we made as a staff and we move forward and now it's about, 'Well, who do we have in camp, and how are we going to be successful?'" The final goalkeeper announced is the starter Matt Turner age 28 from (Park Ridge, N.J.) who will go into Qatar as the favorite to start. Matt has 20 caps for the National team, he has 14 wins, and 14 clean sheets for his career. Matt will have about a month between his final match for Arsenal and the believed first start for the Men's National team against Wales to start the World Cup in Qatar. When Gregg was asked about Turner being a lock at the number 1 he had this to say "It's easy to read into that and say that Matt's been the number one, he’ll most likely be the number one going into the World Cup. I think we're getting ahead of ourselves a little bit," said Berhalter. "He has been injured. We hear really positive things coming out of Arsenal's camp about where he is, his health status. So, we're going to have to, I think, wait to assess him up close to make the final decision. "We talk to Arsenal every single day. And we talk to all these clubs on a daily basis to understand where they are physically. So, from our understanding, from the communication of Arsenal, he’s back full training, and he's cleared to play."

The next group up was the defenders a major hot topic among fans on who they think should go. Gregg did select some that fans didn't want to see but will have to live with. Maybe Gregg got it right and maybe he didn't only time will tell. The group as a whole is strong and yes everyone is aware of the issues that arose during qualifying and in the friendlies leading up to the cup. Without further delay let's jump in and go over the selected. The first one named was Cameron Carter-Vickers age 24 from (Southend-On-Sea, United Kingdom) who will be a reserve player for the team at center back. Fun fact he is the son of former NBA player Howard O'Neal Carter who was the 15th pick of the 1st round in 1983 by the Denver Nuggets. Cameron plays for the Celtic in the Scottish premier league where he became a starter this season before missing action due to injury. He has played in the last six matches for the Celtic side since returning from his injury. he was named captain of the team and has a total of 10 appearances for the club along with four appearances in Champions League games this season. The next player announced is Sergino Dest the youngster is hands down one of the easier picks GGG had to make for Qatar. His leadership on and off the field speaks for itself. Dest is 22 years old and from (Almere, Netherlands) and plays in Serie A for AC Milan. Dest did give fans a scare recently though when he went down injured with adductor fatigue. When Gregg was asked about Dest's injury he said, "he has been in contact with the player and AC Milan and all signs show he will be good for the World Cup." The youngster has had a solid career in Europe playing for Dutch powerhouse Ajax, La Liga Legend Barcelona, and now the Italian powerhouse AC Milan. Up next was Aaron Long of the New York Red Bulls, the center-back has been battling back from an Achilles injury and some fans have been disappointed with his play since returning to both club and country. The 30-year-old out of (Oak Hills, California) brings a wealth of experience to the back line for Gregg Berhalter. He has 29 caps under his belt and tallied 3 goals and 2 assists. Aaron has spent most of his time at center back with Walker Zimmerman and the two have held the line. However, there is a noticeable speed difference which is expected and some forwards in MLS capitalized on it this season along with some nations in qualifying play. I get the outcry from the fans, but I will say this for Aaron he is a battler, and he loves a challenge. He's also playing for a new contract as his current deal expired at the end of the MLS season. Look for Long to prove the naysayers wrong in Qatar and show why his manager and teammates all have his back. Gregg has had somethings to say about fans going at Aaron since his return. “The guy was Defender of the Year in MLS. He’s coming back from an Achilles injury, and we’re purposely putting him in these games to keep pushing him and keep improving him.” Berhalter added that for him, Long has “a great character. He’s got tremendous speed, you know, and he’s working his way back to this level, which is a different level. And I think he’s doing quite well, and I’m pleased with his progress.” In GGG we trust, he has Long's back and will continue to push Long to step up and be the player he knows he is. Shaq Moore age 26 from (Powder Springs, Georgia) currently plays for MLS side Nashville SC. Shaq has 15 caps for the national team and tallied 1 goal. Shaq will most likely be a bench player at the World Cup filling in minutes as needed at Full Back. Make no mistake though we could see a good dose of Shaq in Qatar given his versatility on the back line and his ability to quickly adapt. He is a teammate of senior member Walker Zimmerman in MLS which will help him as well when he gets the call to step onto the world stage in Qatar. Tim Ream was the next name called and the 35-year-old was a solid pick for Gregg. He brings experience to the defense with 46 caps, he tallied 1 goal for the country. He is also a veteran of the British Premier League where he has 243 caps for Fulham. He has plenty of playing experience against the England squad and will provide a wealth of knowledge to his teammates on and off the field. Tim's also played against a number of the players for Wales. In Champions League play he has faced Gareth Bale, that's an experience that is hard to duplicate. Antonio "Jedi" Robinson was the next name revealed tonight for the USMNT, the youngster is just 25 years old and playing in the British Premier League for Fulham with teammate Tim Ream. Robinson already has 53 caps with the national team under his belt. The young Star Wars fan is used to the big lights, he's seen the best in the game while with Fulham. Robinson was born outside of London (Milton Keyes, United Kingdom) but was raised in New York. Robinson is not one to shy away from hard-hitting questions or making big statements. Robinson called choosing to play for the USMNT a "no-brainer" after feeling like he was overlooked by the English national team. "To get called up for the U.S. just made me feel 10 feet tall and improved my confidence a lot," he said. "It inspired hope in me as a player at the time." Robinson has the talent and ability to change a game for the team and is known for showing up big when the pressure is on. Joe Scally was the next player announced and is one of the surprises for most fans and some in the media. However, if you want to know why Joe is on the team look at his 3 caps with the team. He came into a game where the US struggled to build an attack and quickly made an impact. That trend continued for the young 19-year-old Long Island native from (Lake Grove, New York). He plays in one of the toughest leagues in the world in Bundesliga. The young full-back has played in every match for German side Borussia Monchengladbach, he also came up with Gio Reyna through the NYCFC Academy. Both went on to play in Germany. Look for the young player to start on the bench but be called on when the team needs a spark. 29-year-old DeAndre Yedlin from (Seattle, Washington) was the next player revealed tonight. The young star with MLS side Club Internacional de futbol Miami, also known as Inter Miami CF has been a regular for the national team with 75 caps under his belt. He saw significant time with Newcastle United from 2016 - 2021 appearing in 112 caps for the British side. He came up through the Seattle Sounders academy and has been a household name ever since. After being selected Yedlin who is one of the outspoken players on the roster stated "2018 was the beginning of the revenge tour." The last player revealed for the defense and no shock to anyone that he was selected is Walker Zimmerman. The 29-year-old from (Lawrenceville, Georgia) has appeared in 33 caps and has tallied 3 goals and 1 assist. He has 10 goals for MLS side Nashville SC and has been named defensive player of the year twice in his 9-year career with MLS. Zimmerman is known for his shutdown defense and aerial prowess on corner kicks.

The next group up for reveal was the Midfielders and the first player revealed was Philadelphia Union prodigy Brendan Aaronson age 22 from (Medford, N.J.) the young star played last season for Red Bull Salzburg netting 9 goals in 46 games. This year he joined manager Jesse Marsch at Leeds United in the British Premier League along with Tyler Adams. The two have made a solid impact at Leeds and keep pushing the team forward even in their times of struggle. He has 24 caps for the national team and produced 6 goals and 5 assists so far in his young career. He is a gritty player who will bring a certain edge to the U.S. squad and has no issues mixing it up with other players to get under their skin. The next name revealed for the team was a name we all know and love Kellyn Acosta age 27 residing in (Plano, Texas) he has 53 caps for the national team and 2 goals and 5 assists in his time with the team. He is currently playing for the MLS 2022 Champions LAFC (Los Angeles Football Club). He appeared in 32 games and scored 2 goals for his club team in season play. In the playoffs, he started all 3 games and scored the opening goal of the Cup Finals. Kellyn brings calm to the midfield but also can light a fire when it is needed. The next reveal is yet another player who needs no introduction Tyler Adams age 23 from (Wappinger, NY) like his team Aaronson he is an MLS homegrown player. Adams was a New York Red Bulls standout, which led to him joining Red Bull Leipzig of the Bundesliga in 2019. Adams played with them till 2022 when he transferred to Leeds United and joined former manager Jesse Marsch and national teammate Brendan Aaronson. He has played 12 matches for his new club this season and the firey midfielder has been dynamic for the team. He haunts the opposing players match in and match out in the British Premier League and backs down to no one. Like Aaronson, he brings in experience of playing against the England squads stars along with some on the Wales squad. He is an exciting player to watch out for on the pitch and you know while he is out there the team will be a threat in all three zones of the pitch. Adams has played in 32 caps and produced 1 goal so far for his country, look for his numbers to increase during this world cup run. Next up is youngster Luca Del La Torre age 24 from (San Diego, CA) the young player's pro career started in the British Premier League for Fulham where he spent 4 seasons playing just 7 games and netting no offensive production. He went on to join Dutch club Heracles who was in the KNVB before being relegated at the end of the 2021-22 season. He played in 68 matches and produced 2 goals for the team. He signed with Celta de Vigo better known as just Celta this season. Celta plays in La Liga. He has just 5 matches with the club at this point and hasn't been on the score sheet. The young player will most likely be a reserve or late sub for the US national team in the World Cup. He has proven he can play at the national level this year; he has 12 Caps and 2 assists for the country. He seems to fit the roster this cycle as a utility option for Gregg. Weston McKinnie was the next name announced to head to Qatar. Weston is 24 years old and is from (Fort Lewis, WA) but grew up in Germany near Ramstein Air Base from age six to nine. Weston's pro career started with Schalke 04 where he played from 2017-2021 earning 75 appearances and scoring 4 goals. He was loaned to Juventus in 2020 and played 21 matches producing 4 goals. He would stay in Juventus after his loan was up. A move that was great for him and the USMNT. He has 37 caps for the US and produced 9 goals and 3 assists so far. Weston has been playing amazing soccer since joining the club and this year in 45 matches has 4 goals and 1 assist, look for him to be ready to go in Qatar and he is a much-needed presence in the midfield for the squad. He brings a dynamic style of play that allows the United States to play various tempos at the drop of a dime. He can beat players on the ball inside or take them down the flanks. The next reveal was Yunus Musah who is just 19 years old and is from (New York City, NY) his mother gave birth to him in NY while on a family vacation, he would grow up in Italy and start his soccer career there with Giorgione. The young and highly skilled player has just 19 caps for the national team, and he has 2 assists going into the World Cup. He plays professionally for Valencia in La Liga and has 71 matches producing 2 goals and 2 assists for the club during his tenure. The last midfielder announced to the roster is a veteran presence in Cristian Roldan at age 27 he is from (Artesia, CA) and started his pro career here in MLS for the Seattle Sounders in 2015. He has appeared in 227 matches for the club and produced 32 goals and 37 assists. For the National team he has appeared in 32 caps and has 2 assists, he will bring a physical yet calm style to the midfield. It seems to be a going theme with the roster so far and Gregg confirmed in his press conference later that night that he wanted physical players, players who would fight in the trenches and not back down from contact. The roster is loaded with grit and if this is any indication, we can expect to see the forwards match that mantra. It's also worth mentioning as it was a big moment for MLS that In May 2022, he helped Seattle become the first MLS team to win the Concacaf Champions League, defeating Pumas UNAM (Mexico) 5-2 on aggregate.

The group everyone's been waiting for is the Forwards here we go, the first player revealed is Jesus Ferreira age 21 from (Santa Marta, Colombia) who has appeared in 15 caps for the national team producing 7 goals and 4 assists. The FC Dallas forward of MLS has been a player many supporters have watched and hope he can be the answer for the team's struggles to score from the striker position. For the club, he has appeared in 114 matches and scored 36 goals, and added 22 assists during his career with Dallas FC. The next player announced was Jordan Morris of MLS Seattle Sounders. He is 28 years old and from (Seattle, WA) the homegrown talent has spent his entire career with the club with just a brief loan to Swansea City in 2021. He played 1 match for the club on January 30, 2021, during the match he injured his ACL, and his loan was prematurely terminated. Morris has never been a player seen as a major threat when on the pitch, he is known for his crosses and deep runs down the flanks but has yet to live up to the potential many saw in him. He is a hard-nosed player who will battle in the trenches for his club and country. He will definitely have eyes on him in Qatar from supporters and the media. He is coming off the ACL injury and this season saw him play in 29 matches where he had 7 goals and 4 assists for Seattle. I can see why Gregg added him to the roster he fits the narrative Gregg is going with tough and gritty. It takes a village not a single player to make a difference. Let's hope the player we saw growing up in MLS returns to form now that he is fit to play. The next player revealed is superstar Giovanni Reyna the youngster is 19 years old and was born in (Sunderland, England) but grew up in the U.S. in Bedford, NY. Gio is one of New York City FC's prodigies that has seen massive success overseas in Germany. The young talent plays for Borussia Dortmund where he has 66 matches under his belt producing 8 goals and 11 assists across all competitions for the club. Gio unfortunately has been injury prone, and it's stifled his ability to produce on a regular basis, however, when fit there is no denying the talent of Gio. Gio has played in 14 Caps for the US and produced 4 goals and 1 assist. If he can stay healthy look for him and Pulisic to cause major problems for the other nations. worth noting Scored his first USMNT goal, in a 6-2 win against Panama on Nov. 16, 2020. At 18 years, and 3 days, Reyna became the third youngest goal scorer in USMNT history after Christian Pulisic (17 years, 253 days) and Juan Agudelo (17 years, 359 days). The next reveal for the squad was none other than Captain America Christian Pulisic. The 24-year-old megastar from (Hershey, PA) has been in the public eye and has been hailed the "Great One" by supporters of the National team. He was seen as the country's Messi/Ronaldo. The wonder boy who would change the landscape of soccer in the United States. He has had the weight of the world on his shoulders since he first appeared on the scene at the age of 17. The young talent has amassed 52 Caps which has produced 21 goals and 10 assists for the team. In Europe, he has been hampered by injuries which it's affected his playing time and production at the club level. He played 81 matches for Borussia Dortmund from 2016-2019 where he scored 10 goals for the club. In 2019 he saw Chelsea pay a massive transfer fee of $73 million dollars, which made him the most expensive North American player of all time. However, his time at Chelsea hasn't been great, it's been rocky especially this season with a new manager at the helm. In his 86 appearances though he has produced 20 goals for Chelsea. Like Gio, his teammate and good friend the injury bug has gotten the best of the young star. When healthy he is a force to deal with on the pitch and demands respect from defenders and midfielders. If they give him just an inch, he capitalizes on it either scoring the big goal or placing the deadly pass that leads to the goal. The next reveal brings questions with it in the selection of Josh Sargent. He is 22 years old and is from (O'Fallon, MO), the young talent came onto the scene strong and gained the attention of many seeing him as the answer at the number 9 for the national team. Sargent wowed the nation during his U-17 national team play scoring 30 goals in 48 caps. However, since then, he hasn't reproduced the same success at the club or national level. For Josh, he can't say it's been due to injuries or lack of opportunity. Since his breakout, he has drawn the adverse attention of supporters for the club and country. We all know we've seen his ability and talent the big question is why the giant fall off from what he showed. Is it play style, the physicality of the game, or formations? Unfortunately, we still don't have the answer and so his selection has supporters questioning the selection. He currently plays for Norwich City in the British Premier League where in 44 matches he has 10 goals. He has 20 caps for the US National team and produced 5 goals and 1 assist. Josh hasn't scored for the national team in over a year, let's hope his recent form at the club level translates to goals for the national team at the world cup. The next reveal is a favorite of the supporters, Tim Weah is 22 years old and hails from (Brooklyn, NY) the young talent started his career at BW Gottschee before he transferred into the NY Red Bull academy system. In 2014 his family relocated to France where he ended his youth career with PSG. They would also be where he started his professional career playing in 15 matches for PSG B netting 4 goals in the 2017-2018 season. In 2018 he got the call-up to the first team and played 5 games for PSG scoring 1 goal before being loaned to Celtic where he played 13 matches and netted 3 goals for the club. He would sign with Lille Olympique Sporting Club in 2019. He has 65 matches for the club and scored 6 goals for them. He has a ton of upside and even when he is not scoring, he is doing all the right things on the pitch to help his team score. He has appeared in 25 caps for the national team producing 3 goals and 2 assists in his time. He will be a great addition to the team in Qatar and can help in physical games where he tends to excel. The final player revealed was a shocker for supporters of the team but those in the media and who follow him closely aren't shocked by the confidence Gregg has in the young player. It is none other than Haji Wright a young talent that at one point was deemed the replacement for Clint Dempsey by many supporters and those inside the federation. Haji is 24 years old and from (Los Angeles, CA) his youth was spent at LA Galaxy academy and Schalke 04. In 2015 he signed a contract with the New York Cosmos where he made 3 appearances and was demoted to the B team for 4 games where he netted 5 goals. In 2017 he signed with Schalke 04 II where he played till 2019 on and off. He played 22 matches netting 14 goals, he then was called up to the first team for 7 games and scored 1 goal before going on a 1-year loan to SV Sandhausen where he played 15 matches and netted a single goal. He would sign with VVV-Venlo on a one-year deal that saw him play in 22 matches and he had 0 goals. In 2020 he made the move to SonderjyskE of the Danish 1st division. In 29 matches he netted 11 goals before being loaned to Turkish 1st league side Antalyaspor where he played in 32 matches and scored 14 goals. He would sign on to the club and is still playing for them leading the league with 9 goals in 12 matches. When Gregg was asked why he picked Haji over Pefok and Pepi he answered, "Haji is playing in a tough physical league where the best player has just 5 goals while Haji has 9 goals." "Pepi is playing in the Dutch league, a league that's far from physical and he has 6 goals" "The group we're in for Qatar is a physical group, they don't play a passive game. I need players who can handle the physical play and perform." Gregg then explained why Haji over Pefok “As coaches, we were evaluating Haji versus Jordan Pefok, and that's what it came down to,” said Berhalter. “And in this particular case, we felt like Haji is in great goalscoring form. They're both physical strikers, Jordan, maybe a little more so, but Haji has pace, he's got the ability to go one-on-one, he's got finishing with his head, and both feet, and he's performing really well in the Turkish league. “If we would have made the decision mid-September, Jordan Pefok would have probably been a lock to be in, based on his form in Union Berlin. But since then, it's a different story,” he added later. “Now Haji’s come on more. So that was the tricky thing about it. And again, you know, we hope these decisions are right. They may not be. But we're making the best possible decisions with the information that we have.” He also gave a reason for why Josh and Jesus got the nod over Pepi “With Ricardo it was, we're judging him against Josh and Jesus, and we felt it was valuable that Josh was playing in that [English Championship] competition where two of our three opponents [Wales and England] are coming from,” said Berhalter. “We think that brings value, the physicality of the league. Dutch league I think is a great league, but it doesn't bring the same physicality that the Premier League brings, and the Championship brings, and that was something that went into our decision.”

Gregg was asked what the conversation was like with Paul Arriola “For one reason or another, we haven't always had our wingers fit and available. And now, as we lead up to the World Cup, every one of those players is fit and available. And it just made that Paul was the odd man out. And it sucks,” said the coach. “Jordan Morris over the last four years had two ACL [tears], Tim Weah’s had an extensive injury time, Gio Reyna’s had extensive injury time. Christian [Pulisic] has been injured for a while, and now everybody's back. That's the worst possible thing when this guy's been with us since day one, and you got to tell him that he's not coming to the World Cup.” GGG also added the call was a painful one to make.

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