Gregg Berhalter’s first real USMNT lineup dropped today, one day after an experimental American side shit the bed against Jamaica, losing 1-0 at Audi Field in Washington, DC.
Berhalter had indicated prior to the friendly versus Jamaica that a couple of spots on the Gold Cup roster, which determines the CONCACAF champion, were still up for grabs.
Few if any of the combatants for places shone, although Duane Holmes, a U.S. born, English raised midfielder who plays for English Championship side Derby, was rewarded with a Gold Cup place after he made the most of his substitute appearance versus Jamaica.
You’re not going to win anything…
Below you will see listed the names of the players selected to represent the U.S.A. in competition against Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica, etc.
As you peruse the roster, remind yourself of the debacle in Couva, which saw Trinidad and Tobago deny CONCACAF giants, the USA a place in the World Cup for the first time since 1986.
When I look at the names put forth by Berhalter to lead the USMNT into international competition for the first time under his watch, I am reminded of words that my father has said to me for many years now, “you’re not going to win anything with that guy.”
A quick, indulgent, and as brief as possible word about my father is necessary here, so please bear with me.
My father was a big-time athlete in Ireland in the 1950s and in the U.S playing Gaelic, or Irish football, in the 1960s.
As such, he wasn’t brought up playing the All-American sports of baseball, football, basketball, etc. But as an athlete, he could, and still can, spot the real deal from a mile away. Alternatively, he could also spot the guy that was never going to make it. When he would spot the latter, my father would intone gravely; “they’ll never win anything with that guy.”
It didn’t matter that he had never seen American football played until he landed in New York City in the 1960s, he successfully noted that N.Y. Giants legendary coach Bill Parcells was off his rocker when he benched Phil Simms for Scott Brunner, prior to correcting course for the Giants 1986 Super Bowl run.
“They’ll never win with that guy.” And that is what I think about too many of the players on Gregg Berhalter’s 23 man Gold Cup roster.
USMNT Gold Cup roster
Let’s go through the USMNT Gold Cup roster, line by line, and ask the question, is that guy going to help you win anything?
First, the goalkeepers. Zack Steffen is the number one, and numbers two and three won’t matter, barring an injury. Still, I am not sure why Club Brugge number one Ethan Horvath did not get the nod over one of Berhalter’s preferred MLS backups.
Omar Gonzalez? Tim Ream? I admire both of these men and thank them for their contribution to the USMNT, but it is well past time that both Ream and Gonzalez are given a pat on the back and a gold watch and sent on their way.
And then there is the rest of Berhalter’s back line, which practically screams, “you’re not going to win anything with that guy.”
Nick Lima and Daniel Lovitz are a pair of fullbacks that Berhalter likes, but both fail the, “you’re not going to win anything with that guy,” test. They are decent players, but international quality?
And I won’t even get into wasting Tyler Adams at fullback, here, other than to say, please don’t waste Tyler Adams at fullback.
Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, and Tyler Adams, yes, alleged fullback, Tyler Adams, should be automatics in the midfield, regardless of formation.
If Berhalter insists on playing Adams in the fullback/hybrid midfield role then Michael Bradley is still better than Trapp, who I don’t personally rate as an international caliber player.
Wil Trapp is not fast enough to cover the space he needs to cover and is not strong enough to win the 50/50 balls needed to do the job in the center of the park.
Similarly, Christan Roldan has yet to make a case for his international bonifides, albeit with fewer chances than Trapp has received. Perhaps Roldan will get there, but to date, he has shown nothing on the international stage to win my belief.
The big talking point up front is that Josh Sargent has been dropped from the full team when he could have been left to play with the U20s.
It seems like a waste of assets and a waste of Sargent’s developmental time. But in fairness to Berhalter, an injury to midfielder Sebastian Lletget made carrying a third striker a luxury he could not afford.
Berhalter rated Sargent behind Jozy Altidore, not currently injured, apparently, and Gyasi Zardes. Given that the 18-year-old played only sporadically for Weder Bremen this season, this is a reasonable stance. Except that Zardes is another that fails my father’s test.
Zardes can score goals in MLS, so too can all-time MLS goalscoring leader Chris Wondoloski. But when it comes to the international game, Zardes, like Wondo would make my father stand up and proclaim, “you’re to going to win anything with that guy.”
Official USMNT roster
DEFENDERS (8): 14-Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig/GER; 10/1), 3-Omar Gonzalez (Toronto FC/CAN; 50/3), 2-Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes; 3/0), 23-Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 5/0), 16-Daniel Lovitz (Montreal Impact/CAN; 4/0), 19-Matt Miazga (Chelsea/ENG; 13/1),
13-Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 29/1), 5-Walker Zimmerman (LAFC; 6/2)
GOALKEEPERS (3): 12-Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 7/0), 22-Tyler Miller (LAFC; 0/0), 1-Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC; 9/0)
MIDFIELDERS (6): 4-Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/CAN; 145/17), 20-Duane Holmes (Derby County/ENG; 1/0), 8-Weston McKennie (Schalke/GER; 8/1), 10-Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG; 25/10), 15-Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; 10/0), 6-Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; 16/0)
FORWARDS (6): 17-Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC/CAN; 110/41), 7-Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 22/3), 21-Tyler Boyd (Vitória Guimãres/POR; 0/0), 18-Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids; 4/0), 11-Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 27/5), 9-Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew SC; 44/7)