On Sunday afternoon, US Soccer head coach Bruce Arena announced a 27-man roster for the United States against Venezuela on 6/3, Trinidad & Tobago on 6/8 and Mexico on 6/11. His squad includes 15 MLS players and five that have played for the New York Red Bulls at one point (Toronto FC’s Jozy Altidore & Michael Bradley, Colorado Rapids’ Tim Howard, Chicago Fire’s Dax McCarty & Fulham’s Tim Ream).
The squad omits Sacha Kljestan who has been a staple over the last year and Luis Robles, who has grabbed two of his three senior caps in the past 18 months. But the omissions seem to be expected (and possibly welcomed) by RBNY fans. Robles is a no-brainer. He’d probably ride the bench behind Howard & Guzan, so he’d just be there for moral support. One can argue that Kljestan is starting to find his form over the last two matches, but he hasn’t been consistent enough through the first third of the season to warrant a call-in. Plus, both of them would have missed the Montreal Impact match on June 3rd AND possibly needed a bit of rest for the New York City FC US Open Cup match on 6/14 if they would have seen the field against Mexico.
The US strategically planned the locations of these matches due to the culmination of the Mexico match. First, the US will play a friendly against Venezuela at Rio Tinto Stadium, which is 4,500 ft above sea level. They will move into World Cup qualifying against Trinidad & Tobago at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, situated a mile-high (5,280 ft). All of which will end with playing 7,200 ft at Estadio Azteca for their final qualifier.
The US would probably once again welcome grabbing four points in the qualifiers. This would have the US sitting at 8 points with four matches remaining. If they keep replicating this effort, they would end with 16 points, which should be plenty for top 3 in their group.
Mexico at home is a tough task, but it would be nice to get revenge for the November qualifier on US soil. This would really help springboard the Stars & Stripes into a top position entering the final matches.
GOALKEEPERS (4): Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge/BEL), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (11): DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin/GER), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna/MEX), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United/ENG), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana/MEX), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach/GER), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER)
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Bobby Wood (Hamburg/GER)