CHICAGO (March 20, 2019) – The U.S. Men’s National Team continues its march towards the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup when it takes on Ecuador on Thursday, March 21 at Orlando City Stadium in Orlando, Fla
USA DETAILED ROSTER BY POSITION (Club; Caps/Goals):
GOALKEEPERS (3): 12-Jesse Gonzalez (FC Dallas; 0/0), 22-Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge/BEL; 3/0), 1-Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 6/0)
DEFENDERS (8): 5-John Brooks (Wolfsburg/GER; 36/3), 3-Omar Gonzalez (Atlas/MEX; 48/3), 24-Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes; 2/0), 23-Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 4/0), 16-Daniel Lovitz (Montreal Impact; 2/0), 19-Matt Miazga (Reading, ENG; 11/1), 13-Tim Ream (Fulham, ENG; 26/1), 2-DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United, ENG; 57/0)
MIDFIELDERS (7): 14-Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig, GER; 9/1), 4-Michael Bradley (Toronto FC, CAN; 143/17), 17-Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 7/2), 8-Weston McKennie (Schalke/GER; 7/1), 10-Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 23/9), 15-Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; 7/0), 6-Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; 13/0)
FORWARDS (6): 7-Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 19/3), 20-Corey Baird (Real Salt Lake; 2/0), 18-Jonathan Lewis (New York City FC; 2/0), 11-Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 25/5), 21-Christian Ramirez (LAFC; 2/1), 9-Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew SC; 42/6)
Wins against Panama (3-0) and Costa Rica (2-0) highlighted the first camp under U.S. MNT head coach Gregg Berhalter in January and in the buildup to those matches the MNT’s domestic player pool steeped itself in developing a new team culture and style of play. Now with a short window of time to prepare for this month’s matches against Ecuador and Chile, Berhalter called back 13 players from the January Camp, while adding a number of the team’s foreign-based contingent to the roster as he and his staff use the March games to make decisions about the roster that will represent the USA at this summer’s Concacaf Gold Cup.
“We thought it was important to tie some of the themes of last camp into this next camp and to have some consistency in the personnel made a lot of sense,” Berhalter said. “Again, we still think we’re able to evaluate a new group of players and we think that is going to be valuable as we move into the Gold Cup.”
NEW ‘OLD’ FACES
Among the “first-time” faces in camp with Berhalter are center backs Omar Gonzalez and Tim Ream. Returning to the MNT for the first time since 2017, the veteran defenders have continued to play at a high level – Ream with Fulham of the English Premier League and Gonzalez with Atlas in Liga MX – and will be looked to for experience and competition in the group.
“We have been saying all along that we thought it was important to have a veteran presence in the National Team,” Berhalter said. “I think it’s really important when you talk about the history, the heritage and culture of what it means to play for the National Team. In Omar and Tim’s case, they’re both playing at a high level, they’re both playing every week and we thought this would be a good camp to evaluate their performance.”
Meanwhile, forward Jordan Morris also returns for the first time after recovering from a torn right ACL last February. The 24-year-old visited the team in Chula Vista, Calif., for a few days during January Camp before going heading on to preseason and has started the 2019 MLS campaign very well, registering three goals and an assist, helping Seattle Sounders FC to a perfect 3-0-0 record this year.
“On the club stage is when you have small victories, when you see guys returning after long-term injury,” Berhalter said. “On the National Team, it’s equally as gratifying to be able to call a player up after he has had a good preseason and a great start to this season. We’re excited for Jordan. He’s a player that we had contact with in January Camp and it will be great to see him live and in person on the field.”
PREPARING TO PREPARE
One of the challenges for any National Team coach is impacting their players during the long periods between matches. Now add in a new coach and a new game model, and addressing that gap becomes more important. The coaching staff has spent the last six weeks attempting to do just that.
“We have laid a lot of ground work in preparation for this camp,” Berhalter said. “It entailed meeting with the players, video conferences with the players, conversations with the players, evaluating their games … it’s a very important time period to keep working and be productive. We’ve used that time to meet the players and communicate what we’re looking to do in the next camp.”
BIG OPPORTUNITIES FOR MNT GOALKEEPERS
Originally named to the 24-player roster last week, goalkeeper Zack Steffen was forced to withdraw on Sunday due to a minor right knee injury. Steffen’s absence opens the door a bit wider for the likes of Sean Johnson (New York City FC), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge) and his replacement, Jesse Gonzalez (FC Dallas) to stake a bigger claim in the MNT goalkeeping conversation this month.
A veteran of the MNT program since 2011, Johnson, 29, has six caps and appeared during the second half of last month’s 3-0 win against Panama. Since debuting in 2016, the 23-year-old Horvath has earned three caps for the MNT, while Gonzalez is the lone uncapped player on the 24-man roster.
- The teams have met 14 times, with the USA trailing the all-time series by a slight 4-5-5 mark.
- The teams last met in 2016, playing two matches in less than a month’s time. The MNT defeated Ecuador 1-0 in a warm-up friendly for the Copa America Centenario on May 25, 2016 in Frisco, Texas, before earning a 2-1 victory against La Tricolor in the tournament quarterfinals on June 16, 2016 in Seattle.
- MNT striker Gyasi Zardes scored what would stand as the game-winner during the 2-1 quarterfinal victory.
- The MNT is 1-0-0 all-time at Orlando City Stadium. In its last visit, the USA rode a brace from Jozy Altidore as well as goals from Christian Pulisic and Bobby Wood to a 4-0 World Cup Qualifying win against Panama on Oct. 6, 2017.
- The USA’s 24-player roster averages 25 years, 266 days and 21 caps, while Ecuador’s 23-man roster is 26 years, 184 days and 19 caps.
USA ROSTER NOTES
- Fifteen players play domestically in Major League Soccer, while nine feature for clubs abroad in Germany (4), England (3), Belgium and Mexico (1 each).
- Based on appearances, the senior-most players on the roster are Michael Bradley (143), DeAndre Yedlin (57), Omar Gonzalez (48), Gyasi Zardes (42) and John Brooks (36).
- On the flip side, 13 players hold nine or fewer caps.
- Having successfully recovered from a torn right ACL suffered last February with Seattle Sounders FC, forward Jordan Morris returns to the team for the first time since January 2018. The 25-year-old striker has registered three goals and an assist to help Seattle Sounders FC to a perfect 3-0-0 start to the 2019 MLS campaign.
- Veteran defenders Omar Gonzalez and Tim Ream make their first camp appearances since 2017.
- Thirteen players return from the MNT’s January Camp squad that earned back-to-back wins against Panama (3-0) and Costa Rica (2-0), while 10 players will take part in their first camp under MNT head coach Gregg Berhalter.
- Midfielder Tyler Adams comes to camp for the first time as a member of German club RB Leipzig. The 20-year-old has found consistent playing time with the Bundesliga side, helping the club to a 6-0-3 record in the eight competitive matches he has appeared in since his debut in late January.
- Zardes is also the only player on the roster to score against either opponent, tallying in the USA’s 2-1 win against Ecuador in the quarterfinal of Copa America Centenario on June 16, 2016 in Seattle.
ECUADOR ROSTER BY POSITION:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Maximo Banguera (Barcelona; 35/0), Alexander Domínguez (Velez Sarsfield/ARG; 47/0), Pedro Ortiz (Delfín; 0/0)
DEFENDERS (8): Gabriel Achilier (Morelia/MEX; 38/1), Xavier Arreaga (Barcelona; 1/0), Beder Caicedo (Barcelona; 2/0), John Narváez (Melgar/PER; 2/0), Juan Carlos Paredes (Emelec; 73/0), Ángelo Preciado (Independiente del Valle; 4/0), Jackson Porozo (Santos/BRA; 0/0), Cristian Ramirez (Krasnodar/RUS; 18/1)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Carlos Gruezo (FC Dallas/USA; 20/0), Renato Ibarra (Club América/MEX; 37/1), Romario Ibarra (Minnesota United FC/USA; 6/3), Jefferson Intriago (LDU Quito; 4/0), Jhegson Méndez (Orlando City SC/USA; 5/0), Jefferson Orejuela (LDU Quito; 12/0), Ayrton Preciado (Santos Laguna/MEX; 9/0), Antonio Valencia (Manchester United/ENG; 93/11)
FORWARDS (4): Leonardo Campana (Barcelona; 0/0), Ángel Mena (Club León/MEX; 9/3), Jhohan Julio (LDU Quito; 0/0), Enner Valencia (Tigres UANL/MEX; 46/27)
- After leading Panama to its first FIFA World Cup appearance in 2018, Hernan Dario Gomez returned as head coach of Ecuador last year. “El Bolilo” famously guided La Tricolor to its first appearance at the FIFA World Cup in 2002.
- The early returns for Ecuador under Gomez have been positive, with the team going 4-1-1 in its six matches since last fall.
- Gomez will use his team’s March matches against the USA and Honduras (March 26 in Harrison, N.J.) as final preparation for their own regional tournament, Copa America 2019, to be held this summer in Brazil.
- With 27 goals, forward Enner Valencia sits second on Ecuador’s all-time scoring list, just four behind all-time leader Agustin Delgado.
- With 93 caps, Manchester United midfielder Antonio Valencia is the most experienced played on the roster.
- Orlando City SC midfielder Jhegson Méndez has the chance of representing Ecuador in his home stadium and headlines the trio of Ecuador players from MLS. The others are Carlos Gruezo (FC Dallas) and Romario Ibarra (Minnesota United FC).