US Soccer has announced the 23 players which newly-appointed, interim head coach BJ Callaghan will try to lead to a second straight title in Las Vegas, when the CONCACAF Nations League finals gets underway.
The final 23 were whittled down from the initial list of 60 names released in late-May, and feature most of the team’s big stars who are healthy and available for the upcoming games.
The United States will first play archrivals Mexico at 7pm local time in the Allegiant Stadium on Thursday, June 15, then will compete in either the final or third-place game three days later.
On the other side of the bracket are Panama and Canada, who will play their semifinal earlier in the afternoon in the same stadium.
This roster announcement is perhaps overshadowed by the shocking departure of interim USMNT head coach Anthony Hudson on Tuesday, who left to pursue a head coaching job outside of the US after taking over for Gregg Berhalter earlier this year.
Callaghan, who will presumably continue in his new interim role through the Gold Cup, has been an assistant with the US in various roles since 2019 and is vastly familiar with the setup as well as the upcoming opponents.
It should come as no surprise that the recent USMNT addition Folarin Balogun, who as so far scored 20 goals while on loan at Ligue 1 club Reims, headlines the list of players, just weeks after he confirmed his intention to represent the Stars and Stripes.
Team captain Tyler Adams, who missed the final few months of Leeds United’s disastrous season continues to be in flux, as the central midfielder was not included in the final list. Whether he continues to struggle with injury, or is being given an extra couple weeks of rest before inclusion in the Gold Cup roster is unknown.
The status of Hoffenheim central defender John Brooks within the program gained some clarity, as the defender was also left out of the roster, mirroring similar omissions made by previous USMNT coaches since the player’s last appearance in September, 2021. Brooks did have an impressive half-season with Hoffenheim, most recently picking up their player of the month award for the month of May, and could be included in the roster for the Gold Cup in late-June and July.
The roster does include four goalkeepers, only two of whom have been capped by the senior USMNT. Matt Turner will certainly keep his role as the team’s starter and his World Cup backup Sean Johnson was included on the roster as well. Maccabi Haifa’s Josh Cohen and Inter Miami’s Drake Callender were called as the backups.
Zack Steffen underwent surgery on his meniscus following the end of his season at Middlesbrough, and is out for the whole summer, while the status of fellow keeping contender Ethan Horvath is unknown, although Callaghan did indicate that he was held back by an injury.
The Europe-heavy roster is made up 17 players who ply their trade on the other side of the Atlantic ocean, along with four based domestically in MLS, a pair from Mexico’s LigaMX, and one player – Johnny Cardoso – from Brazil’s Serie A.
Several players named in the final roster are almost certainly looking ahead to major transfers over the summer, most notably Sergiño Dest, Christian Pulisic, Ricardo Pepi and Weston McKennie, although quite a few others have had their names thrown about the transfer rumor mill.
USMNT NATIONS LEAGUE FINALS ROSTER (CLUB/COUNTRY; CAPS/GOALS)
GOALKEEPERS (4): Drake Callender (Inter Miami; 0/0), Josh Cohen (Maccabi Haifa/ISR; 0/0), Sean Johnson (Toronto FC/CAN; 12/0), Matt Turner (Arsenal/ENG; 26/0)
DEFENDERS (7): Sergiño Dest (AC Milan/ITA; 24/2), Chris Richards (Crystal Palace/ENG; 8/0), Antonee Robinson (Fulham/ENG; 34/2), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United; 21/3), Joe Scally (Borussia Mönchengladbach/GER; 4/0), Auston Trusty (Birmingham City/ENG; 1/0), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; 39/3)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Johnny Cardoso (Internacional/BRA; 6/0), Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo/ESP; 14/0), Weston McKennie (Leeds United/ENG; 43/11), Yunus Musah (Valencia/ESP; 25/0), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 18/4), Alan Soñora (FC Juárez/MEX; 2/0),
FORWARDS (7): Brenden Aaronson (Leeds United/ENG; 30/7), Folarin Balogun (Stade Reims/FRA; 0/0), Taylor Booth (Utrecht/NED; 2/0), Ricardo Pepi (Groningen/NED; 14/6), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG; 58/23), Tim Weah (Lille/FRA; 29/4), Alex Zendejas (Club América/MEX; 3/1)