What to Expect From the USMNT Games this January
For the first time since early December, the United States men’s national team is back in action with exhibition games against Serbia and Colombia across North America.
These will be the first games since Gregg Berhalter left his role as head coach after his contract expired, meaning Anthony Hudson takes over for the Americans.
He has, however, only a few of his star players to call upon because of the resumption of leagues across Europe after the World Cup and it makes these two games for the U.S. very interesting.
Who is Set to Miss Out for the USMNT?
MLS is set to start at the end of February and just a few weeks after all of the top leagues in Europe resumed following the World Cup. This means there are an extraordinary 14 players in the USMNT squad for these two games who are yet to get a cap for it.
This is a record in the modern era of the national team and it means Christian Pulisic, Giovanni Reyna, Brenden Aaronson, Sergiño Dest, Antonee Robinson, Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams all miss out here because of domestic action in their respective leagues.
Other than MLS stars in the USMNT squad, practically the entire team is different from the one that went to the World Cup in November.
The New Faces on Show
Sean Johnson will likely get his 11th cap in one of these two games because of Matt Turner’s allegiance to Arsenal, but Gabriel Slonina of Chelsea, at just 18 years of age, could be a star in goal for the U.S. this January.
Since the MLS does not start for a few more weeks, Walker Zimmerman and Aaron Long will play in these games, but some players could have breakout years in MLS in this squad, too.
John Tolkin of the New York Red Bulls and Jalen Neal of L.A. Galaxy are names to remember for the future, and they should get their first games for the USMNT here. Julian Gressel is 29 and yet to get a cap for it, but he and 25-year-old DeJuan Jones could also feature.
Paxten Aaronson is the most notable name based in Europe in this current squad, but he is yet to get a cap. The brother of Brenden plays for Eintracht Frankfurt in Germany and this will be his best chance to date to show the U.S. fans how good he truly is in midfield. Kellyn Acosta will likely play here, too, but we should see more potential future MLS stars as well, as Paxton Pomykal and Aidan Morris have both been called up.
In the forward lines, most attention will fall on Dallas hero, Jesús Ferreira. The Colombian-born will have a chance to face his home country this January, and he already has seven goals in 16 games for the U.S., despite barely playing at the World Cup. As Timothy Weah and Josh Sargent have forced him to the subs bench in the past year, Ferreira will not get a better chance to showcase his ability on the global stage.
Brandon Vazquez is 24 now and yet to get a cap for the U.S. He should get his first in one of these two games, but we also expect Hudson to make room for Matthew Hoppe wherever possible. The striker has played in three of Europe's famous divisions at age 21 and Hoppe also has one goal in six caps for the U.S.
Cade Cowell is the youngest of the seven forwards called up to this squad, and it will be a huge occasion for him if he is to get a cap for his country.
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