Update: Cristian Roldan is starting. Sound the Roldan klaxon. Roldan is starting. This is his first appearance with the United States since Sept. 11, 2018 against Mexico. The start is Cristian’s sixth cap, which makes him the fourth most experienced player in the lineup. Ten different MLS sides are represented in the starting XI.
Aaron Long, former Sounder, is wearing the captain’s armband. Every player is wearing a black armband with “Sigi” on it, recognizing the passing of legendary coach Sigi Schmid.
The United States men’s national team opens 2019 with a friendly in Arizona against Panama. After a lost 2018, the men’s program is looking for a reset with a new coach and young generation of players looking to make their way to the full national team.
Three Big Storylines:
- New Year, who dis? It took 417 days from when the USMNT lost in Couva getting eliminated from World Cup 2018 contention to name their new manager, but Gregg Berhalter now has the job and this will be his first match in charge. Dave Sarachan had 12 games as the interim manager and finished with a 3-5-4 (W-L-D) over his stint with the sole highlight being a friendly win against Mexico. News out of national team camp is that Berhalter is steadily installing his system and reports are that players are generally happy to have the direction (really any direction after the chaos that was the Klinsmann era is going to be welcomed with open arms). Berhalter was refreshingly forthcoming as he sent home Kellyn Acosta and Justen Glad to trim the matchday roster to 23.
- What’s the plan for 2019? Berhalter is taking over the USMNT at the start of the 2022 Qatar World Cup cycle, therefore 2019 is more of a ramp up year than anything with big stakes on the line. The highlight of the calendar will be this summer’s Gold Cup starting June 15th with the final at Chicago’s Soldier Field on July 7th. There will also be the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League group stages being played in the September, October and November FIFA windows.
- January USMNT camp. Affectionately referred to as “Camp Cupcake” this is the time of year for young players from MLS and maybe Scandinavia to get an extended look with the USMNT coaching staff. It was started as a way for players to stay fit to combat the long MLS offseason. As such this roster is filled with mostly young and unproven players. Players looking to earn their first full national team cap are defenders Daniel Lovitz, Mark McKenzie, Auston Trusty and Keegan Rosenberry; midfielders Russell Canouse, Jonathan Lewis and Djordje Mihailovic and forwards Jeremy Ebobisse and Christian Ramirez. Michael Bradley’s 142 caps are more than the rest of the roster combined.
From a Sounders Point of View:
Cristian Roldan has been in this January camp from the start and every report coming out of camp is that he is having a very good start to the Gregg Berhalter USMNT era and has been a standout in camp. I expect to see Roldan getting the start today and establish himself in the center of midfield under the new manager. The next logical step for Roldan’s national team career would be the Gold Cup this summer. With the full complement of European players available for selection this summer, the midfield roster spots will be very competitive. Roldan is still just 23 years old and already has 122 MLS appearances including 106 starts and almost 10,000 minutes (okay 9,759) of league play.
DEFENDERS (8): Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas; 2/0), Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes; 0/0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 2/0), Daniel Lovitz (Montreal Impact/CAN; 0/0), Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union; 0/0), Keegan Rosenberry (Colorado Rapids; 0/0), Auston Trusty (Philadelphia Union; 0/0), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC; 4/1)
MIDFIELDERS (10): Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 17/2), Corey Baird (Real Salt Lake; 0/0), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/CAN; 142/17), Russell Canouse (D.C. United; 0/0), Marky Delgado (Toronto FC/CAN; 6/0), Jonathan Lewis (New York City FC; 0/0), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 5/1), Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago Fire; 0/0), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; 5/0), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; 11/0)
FORWARDS (3): Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland Timbers, 0/0), Christian Ramirez (LAFC; 0/0), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew SC; 40/6)
GOALKEEPERS (2): Orlando Mosquera (Tauro; 0/0), Eddie Roberts (CAI La Chorrera; 0/0)
DEFENDERS (6): Iván Anderson (Tauro; 0/0), Guillermo Benítez (Plaza Amador; 0/0), Fidel Escobar (unattached; 31/1), José Garibaldi (Árabe Unido; 0/0), Édgar Góndola (Costa del Este; 0/0), Francisco Palacios (San Francisco; 3/0)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Rolando Botello (Tauro; 2/0), Omar Browne (CAI La Chorrera; 2/0), Luis Cañate (Árabe Unido; 0/0), Adalberto Carrasquilla (Tauro; 3/0), Carlos Harvey (Tauro; 0/0), Ángel Orelién (Sporting San Miguelito; 1/0), Edson Samms (Costa del Este; 0/0), Ernesto Walker (Plaza Amador; 0/0)
FORWARDS (2): Abdiel Arroyo (unattached; 39/6), Ernesto Sinclair (Costa del Este; 0/0)
How to Watch:
Time: Sunday January 27, 5:00 PM Pacific
Venue: State Farm Stadium — Glendale
Available TV: ESPN2, UniMas, Univision Deportes
Join the Discussion
This is your Sounder at Heart USMNT versus Panama gamethread. Watch and discuss with us.