While a full return to normal from the COVID-19 pandemic could still be a long way off, there does seem to be some sort of return to normal, at least in terms of international soccer scheduling. For the US Men’s National Team (USMNT) that meant an annual January Camp. And now, for the rest of the world, it’s a pair of games in the March international window. In some sections of the globe that means World Cup Qualifying, but for the USMNT it’s a pair of friendlies against Jamaica and Northern Ireland.
The roster for this round of friendlies is almost entirely European based and is probably the strongest squad that Gregg Berhalter has called up during his time as USMNT manager. It features a litany of players that are either already at some of the biggest clubs in the world or are still young and shining at smaller clubs. Of the first group are Zack Steffen of Manchester City, Sergino Dest of Barcelona (fresh off scoring a pair of goals in Barcelona’s latest LaLiga romp over Real Sociedad), Christian Pulisic of Chelsea, and Gio Reyna of Borussia Dortmund. Of the latter group are Josh Sargent of Werder Bremen, Brenden Aaronson of Red Bull Salzburg, and recent US-commit Yunus Musah of Valencia. Additionally there are four players who have yet to be capped by the US: Chituru Odunze of Leicester City, Bryan Reynolds of AS Roma, Christian Cappis of Hobro in Denmark, and Theoson Siebatcheu of Young Boys in Switzerland. Perhaps most refreshing is that only one player of the 26 on the roster is over the age of 30: 33-year-old Tim Ream of Fulham.
Just as the US is using this pair of friendlies to get ready for a busy summer of Nations League, Gold Cup, and World Cup Qualifying so too is Jamaica (minus the Nations League). Their coach, Theodore Whitmore in seemingly his umpteenth stint as head of the Reggae Boyz, has called in a roster of players made up entirely of domestic based Jamaican league players or players from England. However only eight of the 20 players have been capped at all and of those eight players who have been capped only three have hit the double digit mark: Adrian Mariappa of Bristol City with 49 caps, Michael Hector of Fulham with 32 caps, and Ricardo Morris of Portmore United with 18 caps.
1. The US is currently riding a seven-game unbeaten run (six of which were wins) and have only conceded three goals in that stretch. In fact, the US has not lost a game since a 2-0 defeat at Canada in October of 2019.
2. Similar to the camp in Europe in November, the US is playing a neutral site game against a CONCACAF opponent as well as a true away game against a European side.
3. It was recently announced by US Soccer that the USMNT would play another European friendly in May on the road against Switzerland.
USA leads 15-3-8
Wednesday, July 3, 2019
USA 3-1 Jamaica
Current FIFA ranking