The US soccer men’s roster was released a few days ago and it was met with mixed reviews. Interim manager Dave Sarachan called in another youthful roster led by Zack Steffen, Weston McKennie and Tim Weah.
The defense looks solid, with John Brooks and Cameron Carter-Vickers, Tim Parker or Matt Miazga as center backs. Add DeAndre Yedlin at right back and maybe Antonee Robinson at the haunted left back position, and that’s a good back line. There’s depth, too, with Shaq Moore and Eric Lichaj ready to plug in.
The midfield, also, is great. Kellyn Acosta has found his groove, Tyler Adams is tearing it up in New York and should move to RB Leipzig. Marky Delgado is an intriguing late addition to the roster and Sebastian Lletget should have been in the player pool for the previous World Cup cycle. Christian Roldan will be a fixture with the national team for years to come, and Tim Weah is scoring goals alongside Neymar.
But Christian ‘American Soccer Jesus’ Pulisic and future Bundesliga Team of the Season striker Josh Sargent were both left off the roster for different reasons — Sargent asked to be left off the squad in order to focus on making the Werder Bremen senior squad while Pulisic picked up a muscle injury. Right off the bat, that’s a lot of offense that Sarachan has to find a way to replace. And if we’ve learned anything from the US’s earlier friendlies under the direction of the former Bruce Arena assistant, Sarachan and his 4-5-1 don’t generate a ton of goals (don’t talk to me about Julian Green, that was a fluke and you know it).
This brings us to the forwards brought in for these friendlies against some of the best teams in the world. Andrija Novakovich, who wreaked havoc in the Dutch second division last year, is probably the most exciting forward of the bunch. Next is Gyasi Zardes, who is playing well for Columbus, but still — it’s Gyasi Zardes. Didn’t we play this game with Jurgen? He’s not good! He has the first touch of a brick wall. Finally, we have Bobby Wood — the soccer equivalent of a touchdown vulture. I’m done thinking and writing about Bobby Wood.
There have to be better strikers in the American player pool. I know that Sargent is still in Germany and he’s the chosen one, but there needs to be some kind of depth at the position. Right now, the position is about as thin as the President’s hair.
The lack of skill up top is putting pressure on the midfield to create all the offense. The midfield will need to do everything but tap the ball in, and in the case of Zardes, he might not be able to do even that! His first touch will thwart any kind of attack. It’s ridiculous to think that a midfield of kids, all with less than 18 caps, will break through a Mexican defense. It’s almost unfair to the midfield. Holy shit, we might as well bring in Jozy Altidore at this point. He probably has a better chance of making any competitive squad not led by a guy who wants to flaunt how low his squad’s average age is.
There need to be better options for the American men’s national than Bobby Wood. I mean seriously, throw Jordan Morris out there, or Rubio Rubin, or even Kenny Saief, if you’re feeling sexy. Anyone else. Anyone.
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