Preview: USMNT Kicks Off Two-game European Swing Against Concacaf Rival JamaicaWatch USA-Jamaica on Thursday, March 25 at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN2, UniMas and TUDN
CHICAGO (March 24, 2021) — The USMNT will continue preparations for a significant year that includes the Concacaf Nations League Final Four in June, the Gold Cup in July and the start of 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying, when it returns to action against Jamaica on March 25 at Stadion Wiener Neustadt in Wiener Neustadt, Austria. Kickoff in the rematch of the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup Semifinal is set for 1 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2, UniMás and TUDN.
Three days later, the U.S. meets Northern Ireland for the first time in more than 70 years. The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park in Belfast hosts the contest, set for 12 p.m. ET with coverage on FOX, UniMás and TUDN.
USMNT DETAILED ROSTED BY POSITION (CLUB; CAPS/GOALS):
GOALKEEPERS (3): Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge/BEL; 4/0), Chituru Odunze (Leicester City/ENG; 0/0), Zack Steffen (Manchester City/ENG; 19/0)
DEFENDERS (10): John Brooks* (Wolfsburg/GER; 39/3), Reggie Cannon* (Boavista/POR; 13/0), Sergiño Dest (Barcelona/ESP; 5/0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 19/3), Matt Miazga (Anderlecht/BEL; 20/1), Erik Palmer-Brown (Austria Wien/AUT; 2/0), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 41/1), Bryan Reynolds (Roma/ITA; 0/0), Chris Richards (Hoffenheim/GER; 1/0), Antonee Robinson (Fulham/ENG; 8/0)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Brenden Aaronson (Red Bull Salzburg/AUT; 2/1), Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids; 25/2), Christian Cappis (Hobro IK/DEN; 0/0), Luca de la Torre (Heracles/NED; 1/0), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 18/4), Yunus Musah (Valencia/ESP; 2/0), Owen Otasowie (Wolverhampton Wanderers/ENG; 1/0)
FORWARDS (6): Daryl Dike (Barnsley/ENG; 1/0), Nicholas Gioacchini (Caen/FRA; 2/2), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG; 34/14), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 2/1), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen/GER; 12/5), Jordan Siebatcheu (Young Boys/SUI; 0/0)
* Indicates player will depart after March 25 match against Jamaica
ACTION-PACKED 2021 FOR USMNT PROGRAMS
Thursday’s match against Jamaica continues a packed year for the USMNT and U-23 USMNT. The first major tournament is already underway, with the U-23s now having advanced to the semifinals of the Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship. There, the team will look to qualify the USA for its first Olympic appearance since 2008.
Following a friendly window in March, the USMNT will play in the Final Four of the inaugural Concacaf Nations League in June, its first opportunity of the year to lift a trophy. Shortly after, the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup kicks off in July, the second edition of the expanded 16-team tournament format. In September, the USA will embark on the new World Cup qualification process for Concacaf, an eight-team round robin competition that will send three teams to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
WELCOME BACK, CP10
It’s remarkable to think the last time the USA’s No. 10 stepped on the field for the USMNT came a little more than 17 months ago, and it’s a thrill to see him return. With only one FIFA international fixture date in 2020 due to the cancellation of matches during the global pandemic, there was the little opportunity; nonetheless, with the massive year of competitions ahead, the USMNT will need everything Christian brings to the table.
On Thursday against Jamaica, Pulisic can make his first international appearance since Oct. 15, 2019 against Canada. Sunday’s match against Northern Ireland will come just a day shy of the five-year anniversary of Pulisic’s USMNT debut – a 4-0 World Cup qualifying win against Guatemala in Columbus, Ohio on March 29, 2016.
Several USMNT players are riding great form heading into the international window. Already making history as the first U.S. international to start for famed club FC Barcelona, Sergiño Dest has now added more lines to his bio in La Liga. With his first two goals in Barca’s 6-1 triumph against Real Sociedad, he is already the USA’s leading scoring in Spanish league history. He joined USMNT teammates Jozy Altidore and Yunus Musah as the three players who have scored in La Liga.
Pulisic earned named Man of the Match in the Blues' 2-0 win against Sheffield United as the home side extended its unbeaten run to 14 games and reached its 25th FA Cup semifinal. He’ll face Zack Steffen and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium, following the keeper’s fifth clean sheet as he backstopped the Sky Blues to a 2-0 win against Everton.
Daryl Dike has been on song after joining Barnsley on loan in the English League Championship, collecting five goals in 11 games since arriving in England and helping Barnsley to a 9-1-1 record in matches which he has appeared. Barnsley are currently fifth in the English League Championship table, occupying the second-to-last promotion playoff spot.
Meantime, Jordan Siebatcheu makes his debut in a USMNT camp with a basket of goals to his credit for his club team. Eligible to represent the United States, France and Cameroon, the target striker is on loan to BSC Young Boys (Swiss Super League) from Rennes (French Ligue 1). He’s piled up 10 goals in 24 league appearances and 13 goals across all competitions.
USMNT head coach Berhalter has given more opportunities to new players than any other modern era USMNT head coach at this point in their tenure. To this point, 42 players have made their international debut during his first 23 matches at the helm of the program.
Four players have the opportunity to earn their first caps in the match against Jamaica: Christian Cappis, Chituru Odunze, Bryan Reynolds and Jordan Siebatcheu.
AGAINST THE REGGAE BOYZ
Since the series began in 1988, the teams have met 26 times with the USMNT holding a 16-3-8 overall record. This will be the first encounter in a neutral venue and the first friendly since Jamaica secured a 1-0 win on June 5, 2019, in Washington, D.C. Nearly a month later, a pair of goals from Christian Pulisic added to Weston McKennie’s opener as the USA raced to a 3-1 win in the semifinal of the 2019 Gold Cup.
- READ MORE: Five Things to Know About Jamaica
While there have been many memorable encounters, perhaps the most significant came Oct. 7, 2001, on Matchday 9 of qualifying for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Having lost three straight matches, another defeat would have signaled the end of the USA’s chances to advance to Korea/Japan. Stepping on the field as the first national team to represent the United States after 9/11 – and hours after the war in Afghanistan commenced - goals from Joe-Max Moore and Landon Donovan lifted the USMNT to a 2-1 in before 40,483 fans in Foxboro, Mass. Along with the other improbable set of results that day, the win secured the USA’s place in the World Cup.
- READ MORE: “An emotional day to wear a U.S. jersey”
Like many things during the global pandemic, the availability of players for international matches due to quarantine restrictions has been unpredictable. Two players who were initially on the roster – Nicholas Gioacchini and Tim Weah – were dropped due to local health regulations, only to see the rules change and have Gioacchini become eligible again. As a result of the initial decision, midfielder Christian Cappis and forward Jordan Siebatcheu were added to the roster.
The 21-year-old Cappis plays for Hobro IK in the Danish First Division and joins the USMNT for second time, having been a part of the 2020 January Camp. Jordan Siebatcheu, 24, is appearing in his first camp with the United States National Teams at any age level. On loan to Young Boys SC, he has scored 10 goals in his last 14 appearances for the Swiss Super League side.
Likewise, several of the German-based players are only available for the Jamaica match because of quarantine requirements coming back from the United Kingdom. Three – Gio Reyna, Chris Richards and Josh Sargent – have subsequently received permission to join the trip to Northern Ireland after local authorities downgraded their requirements.
LAST TIME OUT
The U.S. Men’s National Team kicked off 2021 with a dominant 7-0 win against Trinidad and Tobago as four players scored and five added assists.
The USA got off to a scorching start and kept up relentless pressure all night as forward Jesus Ferreira helped spark the victory, scoring twice while setting up three other goals. Forwards Paul Arriola and Jonathan Lewis also scored twice, marking the first time since 1993 that three USMNT players scored multiple goals in a single game. Ferreira and Lewis’ goals were their first for the USA and center back Miles Robinson also netted his first international goal.
USA ROSTER NOTES
The roster holds an average age of 23 years, 77 days.
The 26 players average 10 caps.
Veteran center backs Tim Ream (41 caps) and John Brooks (39 caps) are the most experienced international players on the roster, followed by Christian Pulisic (34), Kellyn Acosta (25) and Matt Miazga (20).
All other players hold less than 20 caps, with 16 appearing eight or fewer times for the USMNT.
Fifteen players are age 22 and younger.
Players ply their trade in 12 different countries. England leads the way with seven, followed by Germany (4), USA (3), Austria, Belgium and Spain (2 each) and Denmark, France, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal and Switzerland (1 each)
Seventeen players were part of the USMNT’s last camp during a FIFA fixture date, leading up to the 0-0 draw with Wales and 6-2 win against Panama last November.
Defenders John Brooks and Reggie Cannon will return to their clubs following the match against Jamaica due to mandatory quarantine restrictions in the countries where they play.
Twelve players have been part of a final U.S. roster at a FIFA Youth World Cup: Acosta, de la Torre, Dest, Miazga, Odunze, Palmer-Brown, Pulisic, Reyna, Reynolds, Richards, Sargent and Steffen
Christian Pulisic can make his first USMNT appearance since Oct. 15, 2019, against Canada. The match against Northern Ireland will come just a day shy of the five-year anniversary of Pulisic’s USMNT debut – a 4-0 World Cup qualifying win against Guatemala in Columbus, Ohio on March 29, 2016.
Josh Sargent will look for his first cap since recording a brace in the team’s 4-0 win against Cuba in the Concacaf Nations League group stage finale on Nov. 19, 2019, in George Town, Cayman Islands. The Werder Bremen striker was originally called to camp last November but unable to attend due to local COVID restrictions.
Eighteen-year-old midfielder Yunus Musah looks for his first cap since declaring his commitment to the United States on March 15. Still 17 last November, Musah became the first player to start two USMNT matches before their 18th birthday.
Erik Palmer-Brown earned his first USMNT call-up under Gregg Berhalter. The Austria Wien center back has two caps to his name, last appearing in the USMNT’s 1-1 draw with France on June 9, 2018, in Lyon.
Luca de la Torre also returns to USMNT camp for the first time since the May 2019 Gold Cup pre-camp in Annapolis, Md. Currently a regular with Heracles in the Netherlands, de la Torre earned his first cap in the 2-1 defeat to Ireland on June 2, 2018, in Dublin.
Fresh off his Italian Serie A debut, defender Bryan Reynolds received his first senior-team call-up while a member of Roma.
Reynolds joins midfielder Christian Cappis, goalkeeper Chituru Odunze and forward Jordan Siebatcheu as the four uncapped players on the roster.
Four players took part in this year’s January camp – the MLS based trio of Kellyn Acosta, Sebastian Lletget and Aaron Long, as well as Daryl Dike, who is currently playing on loan with Barnsley in the English Championship.
Dike has collected five goals in 11 games since arriving in England, helping Barnsley to a 9-1-1 record in matches which he has appeared. Barnsley are currently fifth in the English League Championship table, occupying the second-to-last promotion playoff spot.
GOALKEEPERS (3): Kemar Foster (Portmore United; 0/0), Shaven Paul (Mount Pleasant; 2/0), Jeadine White (Cavalier; 2/0)
DEFENDERS (8): Amari Bell (Blackburn Rovers/ENG; 0/0), Wes Harding (Rotherham United/ENG; 0/0), Michael Hector (Fulham/ENG; 32/0), Adrian Mariappa (Bristol City/ENG; 49/1), Liam Moore (Reading/ENG; 0/0), Ethan Pinnock (Brentford/ENG; 0/0), Curtis Tilt (Wigan Athletic; 0/0), Renealdo Wellington (Montego Bay United; 0/0)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Omar Holness (Darlington/ENG; 4/0), Kevaughn Isaacs (Mount Pleasant; 5/0), Luca Levee (Harbour View; 0/0), Ricardo Morris (Portmore United; 18/3), Kasey Palmer (Bristol City/ENG; 0/0)
FORWARDS (4): Andre Gray (Watford/ENG; 0/0), Jabari Hylton (UWI; 0/0), Jamal Lowe (Swansea City/WAL; 0/0), Chavany Willis (Portmore United; 8/2)
IN FOCUS: JAMAICA
Head coach Theodore Whitmore selected a 20-man roster made up of players based in England and Jamaica.
His roster this month notably features nine first-time players, six of which are English-born and feature for clubs there: defenders Amari Bell (Blackburn Rovers), Wesley Harding (Rotherham United), Liam Moore (Reading), Ethan Pinnock (Brentford FC), Curtis Tilt (Wigan Athletic), midfielder Kasey Palmer (Bristol City) and forward Andre Gray (Watford).
Michael Hector is currently teammates with Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson at Fulham.
In 2019, Jamaica competed in League B of the took on Concacaf Nations League play that fall, finishing on top of the group consisting of Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba and Guyana to earn promotion to League A during the next iteration of the tournament in 2022.
The Reggae Boyz defeated Bermuda, 2-0, on March 11, 2020 – just days prior to the shutdown caused by the global health pandemic last year. Like the USMNT, they didn’t return to action until November, playing a two-game set with Saudia Arabia in Riyadh – a 3-0 loss on Nov. 14 and 2-1 win on Nov. 17.