Three Big Storylines
- Berhalter’s quick start. Only three coaches in USMNT history have won their first two matches in charge. Gregg Berhalter’s wins against Panama (3-0) and Costa Rica (2-0) allowed him to join Bob Bradley and Robert Millar with that distinction. Bradley won his first three in charge in 2007 while Millar beat Belgium and Paraguay to open the 1930 World Cup en route to a third place finish in Uruguay. Berhalter received a lot of praise for starting to institute a system in the January camp. However, now that the full national team is called up it will be curious to see how the European based newcomers who are in their first camp with Berhalter adapt in the short turnaround since arriving from Europe early this week. One plan leaking out of camp is that Berhalter plans to use Tyler Adams at right back and DeAndre Yedlin as a winger. You know what they say? If your formation doesn’t fit your personnel, you should shoehorn your personnel into your formation. Oh wait, no one says that. As an avowed longtime supporter of Yedlin and someone who thinks Tyler Adams might be the best player in the national team pool, I would just like to see them both on the field in their best positions together. Let’s move on.
- What’s the plan for 2019? 2019 is mostly a year to integrate a new manager and start off a new cycle pointing to World Cup Qatar 2022. However there is the Gold Cup this summer and the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League in the fall. This camp is about preparing the full squad for the Gold Cup. 13 players from the January camp have been called into camp along with the bigger names mostly from Europe such as Adams, Yedlin, Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, John Brooks, Matt Miazga and Tim Ream. It will be interesting to see how Berhalter decides to deploy the mix of players already versed in his system from an entire month of camp versus players here for about 3 days.
- Who is the next USMNT keeper? This is an interesting question as keeper has been a position of strength for the USMNT in the modern era. Presumed “Next Great American Goalie” Zack Steffen, who was Berhalter’s club keeper the last two seasons, was forced to withdraw from camp with a minor injury leaving the position in flux. Jesse Gonzalez was called up to replace him and joins Sean Johnson and Ethan Horvath in camp. The last “Next Great American Goalie”, Bill Hamid, has curiously been overlooked in the Berhalter era and was passed over for Gonzalez despite recording three consecutive shutouts to start the 2019 MLS season. Stefan Frei remains outside of Berhalter’s plans as well it seems.
From a Sounders Point of View
The last time that the USMNT played Ecuador the game was in Seattle for the quarterfinals of the Copa America Centenario (RIP, we will miss you) where the USA prevailed 2-1 at CenturyLink Field.
Jordan Morris has started MLS season looking like the best American striker and deservedly got called into this camp. The forward position for the USMNT is the most open position on the roster as Morris is looking to carry his club form over into the USMNT.
Cristian Roldan is now up to 7 caps and has started both games of the Gregg Berhalter era. However the midfield roster spots and playing time looks extremely competitive with McKennie, Adams and Pulisic listed as midfielders. If Adams truly is shifted to right back that might open up a spot for Roldan. Michael Bradley and Wil Trapp are also in camp ostensibly battling for the same spot as Roldan.
Jordan Morris gets the nod, presumably on the right wing while Cristian Roldan will be on the bench.
DEFENDERS (8): 5-John Brooks (Wolfsburg/GER; 36/3), 3-Omar Gonzalez (Atlas/MEX; 48/3), 24-Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes; 2/0), 23-Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 4/0), 16-Daniel Lovitz (Montreal Impact; 2/0), 19-Matt Miazga (Reading, ENG; 11/1), 13-Tim Ream (Fulham, ENG; 26/1), 2-DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United, ENG; 57/0)
MIDFIELDERS (7): 14-Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig, GER; 9/1), 4-Michael Bradley (Toronto FC, CAN; 143/17), 17-Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 7/2), 8-Weston McKennie (Schalke/GER; 7/1), 10-Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 23/9), 15-Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; 7/0), 6-Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; 13/0)
FORWARDS (6): 7-Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 19/3), 20-Corey Baird (Real Salt Lake; 2/0), 18-Jonathan Lewis (New York City FC; 2/0), 11-Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 25/5), 21-Christian Ramirez (LAFC; 2/1), 9-Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew SC; 42/6)
GOALKEEPERS (3): Maximo Banguera (Barcelona; 35/0), Alexander Domínguez (Velez Sarsfield/ARG; 47/0), Pedro Ortiz (Delfín; 0/0)
DEFENDERS (8): Gabriel Achilier (Morelia/MEX; 38/1), Xavier Arreaga (Barcelona; 1/0), Beder Caicedo (Barcelona; 2/0), John Narváez (Melgar/PER; 2/0), Juan Carlos Paredes (Emelec; 73/0), Ángelo Preciado (Independiente del Valle; 4/0), Jackson Porozo (Santos/BRA; 0/0), Cristian Ramirez (Krasnodar/RUS; 18/1)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Carlos Gruezo (FC Dallas/USA; 20/0), Renato Ibarra (Club América/MEX; 37/1), Romario Ibarra (Minnesota United FC/USA; 6/3), Jefferson Intriago (LDU Quito; 4/0), Jhegson Méndez (Orlando City SC/USA; 5/0), Jefferson Orejuela (LDU Quito; 12/0), Ayrton Preciado (Santos Laguna/MEX; 9/0), Antonio Valencia (Manchester United/ENG; 93/11)
FORWARDS (4): Leonardo Campana (Barcelona; 0/0), Ángel Mena (Club León/MEX; 9/3), Jhohan Julio (LDU Quito; 0/0), Enner Valencia (Tigres UANL/MEX; 46/27)
How to Watch
Time: Thursday, March 21st, 5:00 PM Pacific
Venue: Orlando City Stadium — Orlando, Florida
Available TV: ESPN2, UniMas, Univision Deportes
Join the Discussion
This is your Sounder at Heart USMNT versus Ecuador gamethread. Watch and discuss with us.