Ahead of the final slate of World Cup qualifying scheduled to take place at the end of March, U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Gregg Berhalter has selected 27 players for a training camp in Houston, Texas, with New York Red Bulls defender Aaron Long among the names listed.
Long’s place in the squad in the matches as well as a potential World Cup in Qatar later this year is not guaranteed, but a call-up for such important fixtures is a huge vote of confidence from Berhalter. Long hasn’t been a part of the U.S. squad for a competitive match since last year’s Achilles injury which kept him out of the majority of the MLS season. He’ll be seeking his first international cap since a friendly against Jamaica in March 2021, but has slowly been creeping back into the program. Long was previously called up for a USMNT friendly in mid-December and was listed for the January training camp following last year’s injury.
Long’s resume with the national team includes 10 clean sheets while on the backline and five games while donning the captain’s armband. He had a breakout set of performances in 2019 with 14 appearances and three goals across two major competitions and friendlies.
The USMNT will play abroad against Mexico and Costa Rica on March 24 and 30, respectively with one home game in between against Panama in Orlando on March 27. One good result will guarantee the team of at least finishing above fourth in the standings which means a spot in the inter-confederation playoffs. Major League Soccer is scheduled to be off during this time so Long is not expected to miss any games for New York.
Long isn’t the only RBNY player getting national team attention. It was also revealed earlier this week that both Caden Clark and Daniel Edelman were selected for the U.S. Under-20 team for games later this month as well. They will face Argentina’s U-20s at the AFA National Training Center on the 26th. After this, the team will play against a squad from Club Atlético River Plate - composed of players staying with the club through the international break, as well as reserve and academy players.