Gregg Berhalter’s 19-man squad for the upcoming training camp in Phoenix was announced, where they will convene for two weeks starting on January 7 as a prelude to the upcoming international window for World Cup qualifying.
The entirely MLS-based roster is being gathered with Berhalter’s stated goal to “prepare the domestic-based players to be included in the World Cup qualifying training camp” in mind, and includes most of the US-based players who have been regularly featured in the last few qualifying windows.
While no official friendly matches are planned for the team, a logical outcome of it occurring outside of any recognized international window, the press release by US Soccer stated that the 14-day camp will include several closed-door scrimmages. No potential opponents for these matches have been named.
While some of the players called in, such as Matt Turner, Kellyn Acosta, Miles Robinson, Walker Zimmerman and several others are almost certainly locks to join the qualifying roster shortly after this camp’s conclusion, there will be some interest surrounding several of the newer faces or returning veterans.
In the former category are the two inclusions who have never been capped by the senior team, Gabriel Slonina and DeJuan Jones. The 17 year-old Slonina is seen as a possible candidate for the future of American goalkeeping, and a strong camp could see him push his way into the mix for the #3 keeper position behind Zack Steffen and Matt Turner.
Jones had a breakout year as left back for New England Revolution, and his inclusion in Phoenix could provide an opening to establish himself as option behind Antonee Robinson and Sergiño Dest.
In the latter category of returning veterans are most notably Jordan Morris and Aaron Long, who were called into the recent December camp after long injuries, and will be eager to re-integrate themselves back into the main squad following long absences due to major injuries.
Morris could fill a particular need in the attack, with uncertainty surrounding the status of starter Timothy Weah, who has been out of Lille’s lineup for several games initially due to injury, with a Covid infection implicated in recent days in the French press.
Apart from Slonina, and in contrast to the December camp, there are no players who are expected to figure into the plans for the U20 team of Mikey Varas, perhaps in anticipation of a rumored camp for that age group being announced later in January.
DETAILED ROSTED BY POSITION (CLUB; CAPS/GOALS):
GOALKEEPERS (3): Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 9/0), Gabriel Slonina (Chicago Fire; 0/0), Matt Turner (New England Revolution; 13/0)
DEFENDERS (6): George Bello (Atlanta United; 6/0), DeJuan Jones (New England Revolution; 0/0), Brooks Lennon (Atlanta United; 1/0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 21/3), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United; 15/3), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; 23/2)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids; 45/2), Cole Bassett (Colorado Rapids; 1/1), Djordje Mihailovic (CF Montrêal; 6/1), Sebastian Lletget (New England Revolution; 33/8), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders; 30/0), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes; 16/0)
FORWARDS (4): Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 42/8), Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas; 5/2), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders; 40/10), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew; 66/14)