Berhalter Names 12 Uncapped Players To 22-Man Roster To Face Costa Rica

Gregg Berhalter has his eyes set on the future with the first USMNT roster of 2020. The U.S. coach unveiled on Saturday the 22 players who will travel to Carson, California, to take on Costa Rica in a friendly next Saturday. More than half the players have never appeared for the senior national team.

It looks like Berhalter is already looking ahead to Olympic qualifying in March. The U.S. men have missed three of the last four Olympic games. 

The 22-man USMNT roster features just two players with more than 20 caps: Gyasi Zardes (55) and Paul Arriola (32). Nine players are 20 or younger, including 17-year-old Bryang Kayo. Reggie Cannon, 21, is the sixth-most capped player on the team with 10 U.S. appearances. 

In all, 12 of the 22 players come into the friendly with no caps to their names; 13 will be eligible for Olympic qualifying. The team has 162 combined caps, an average of seven per player. The median number of caps is zero. 

This isn’t a huge surprise. Every year the January camp is full of young players with perhaps an old MLS vet or two — this year Sean Johnson, Bill Hamid and Zardes fill that role. Last year, the USMNT beat Panama and Costa Rica in early friendlies, though few fans bothered to show up to watch without any name players on the squad.

Still, the remarkably youth on display shows Berhalter is more than open to trying out new players as he develops the USMNT to his liking.

Players like Julian Araujo (18), Sam Vines (20), Brenden Aaronson (19), Christian Cappis (20), Brandon Servania (20) and Jesús Ferreira (19) all have a chance to show they deserve a spot with the senior team — as well as earn a spot on the USMNT Olympics roster. We’re most interested in seeing what Ulysses Llanez, the 18-year-old forward currently playing for Wolfsburg II, can do if he’s given a first senior cap.

The USMNT January camp was scheduled to be in Qatar for reasons we’ll never understand, but U.S. Soccer decided to move it to Florida after President Trump assassinated a high-ranking Iranian official, escalating violence and tensions in the region. 

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The friendly with Costa Rica is set for Dignity Health Sports Park (the Galaxy’s home stadium) and is the only friendly following the January camp. The USMNT has scheduled March friendlies against the Netherlands in Eindhoven and Wales in Cardiff. 

As for the Olympics, qualifying for the U-23 competition begins March 20. The U.S. was drawn into a brutal group that includes Costa Rica, Mexico and the Dominican Republic. The top two teams in the group advance to the semifinals and the two teams to reach the final earn berths to Tokyo 2020. The semifinals will be played March 30 in Guadalajara, Mexico. 

First USMNT Roster 2020

Goalkeepers — Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 8 caps/0 goals), Bill Hamid (D.C. United; 6/0), Matt Turner (New England Revolution; 0/0)
Defenders — Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy; 0/0), Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas; 10/0), Chase Gasper (Minnesota United FC; 0/0), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake; 0/0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 16/3), Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union; 0/0), Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids; 0/0), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC; 11/2)
Midfielders — Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia Union; 0/0), Christian Cappis (Hobro/DEN; 0/0), Bryang Kayo (Unattached; 0/0), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 13/2), Brandon Servania (FC Dallas; 0/0), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes; 6/0)
Forwards — Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 32/5), Jesus Ferreira (FC Dallas; 0/0), Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids; 5/0), Ulysses Llanez (Wolfsburg/GER; 0/0), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew SC; 55/12)

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