The U.S. men’s national team was supposed to play friendlies against Netherlands and Wales next week, games that were sure to provide a good indication of where the team — and the players therein — stand. The global coronavirus pandemic means those matches have been cancelled, but the depth chart at Gregg Berhalter’s disposal nevertheless provides an interesting diversion.
Here’s a view on where things stand, based on a 4-3-3 formation and everybody being available for selection.
1. Zack Steffen | Fortuna Dusseldorf (on loan from Man City) | 24 years old | 17 caps: Steffen has been the presumptive No. 1 for the entirety of Berhalter’s tenure, and even before that. He showed well on loan in Germany until suffering a knee injury, but was back in training before the COVID-19 shutdown.
2. Brad Guzan | Atlanta United | 35 years old | 64 caps: Guzan provides an experienced alternative should Steffen not be able to go, and had looked solid in the opening weeks of the MLS regular season.
3. Sean Johnson | New York City FC | 30 years old | 9 caps: Johnson’s standout campaign last year, and improved passing ability, have seen him claim the No. 3 slot.
1. Aaron Long | New York Red Bulls | Age 27 | 17 caps: Long has been a steady presence, and that doesn’t figure to change, even if he did miss the first two games of the MLS regular season because of a hamstring injury.
2. Matt Miazga | Reading (on loan from Chelsea) | Age 24 | 18 caps: Miazga has endured something of an up-and-down campaign with Reading but is back in the starting XI now that he has overcome an ankle injury.
3. Miles Robinson | Atlanta United | Age 23 | 2 caps: Robinson is one to watch for the future, and figures to play a big role in Olympic qualifying — if and when that happens.
1. John Brooks | Wolfsburg | Age 27 | 38 caps: Brooks survived a recent benching at Wolfsburg and is back in the starting lineup. Good thing, because he is easily the most talented center-back in the pool.
2. Walker Zimmerman | Nashville SC | Age 26 | 12 caps: Zimmerman will be tested with expansion side Nashville, which could force him to stretch his game.
3. Ventura Alvarado | Necaxa | Age 27 | 13 caps: Alvarado has been off the U.S. radar for a while after being thrown into the deep end by Jurgen Klinsmann and then floundering, but he has steadily rebuilt his game at Liga MX side Necaxa and deserves another look.
1. Reggie Cannon | FC Dallas | Age 21 | 11 caps: Cannon has made immense progress over the past year, with his ability to contribute in both defense and attack putting him in the good graces of Berhalter.
2. DeAndre Yedlin | Newcastle United | Age 26 | 62 caps: Yedlin’s experience and ability to get forward means he’ll be in the mix for sure, but his recent benching at Newcastle has seen him slide down a notch.
3. Nick Lima | San Jose Earthquakes | Age 25 | 9 caps: A year ago, Lima seemed poised to break out, but an unsettled club situation that saw him play left-back for San Jose has made it difficult to progress, and he has since seen Cannon vault ahead of him.
1. Sergino Dest | Ajax | Age 19 | 3 caps: Dest looks to have an immense future with the U.S., even with questions about whether he’ll line up at right back or left back. He has experienced something of a dip in form lately with Ajax, but that’s to be expected over the course of his first full top-flight season.
2. Antonee Robinson | Wigan Athletic | Age 22 | 7 caps: Robinson is another player who has made considerable improvement at club level, although an irregular heartbeat has sidelined him for the moment (and scuttled a move to AC Milan). If he can translate his excellent club form to the U.S., he might push Dest to the opposite flank.
3. Tim Ream | Fulham | Age 32 | 40 caps: Ream’s experience and versatility mean he’s not entirely out of the reckoning yet, but it seems time to give the youngsters their shot.
1. Tyler Adams | RB Leipzig | Age 21 | 10 caps: Berhalter wants security on the ball and activity (read: bite) in this role, and with Michael Bradley sidelined by an ankle injury, its Adams’ time. Injuries have denied Adams extended time in that position, but the Leipzig man has the skill set to thrive there.
2. Alfredo Morales | Fortuna Dusseldorf | Age 29 | 17 caps: Morales’ game tends more toward the defensive side, but as a regular starter for Fortuna Dusseldorf, he should be in the mix.
3. Jackson Yueill | San Jose Earthquakes | Age 23 | 7 caps: Yueill is more of a distributor, and his defensive game has improved under San Jose coach Matias Almeyda, but that will need to continue for him to keep climbing up the depth chart.
1. Weston McKennie | Schalke | Age 21 | 19 caps: Given the personnel available, this slot has tended to be more of a two-way, No. 8 type, and McKennie fits that description well. He can drop back and defend or make late runs forward.
2. Duane Holmes | Derby County | Age 25 | 2 caps: Holmes has had some bad luck with injuries — and currently is sidelined again — but possesses the kind of energy with a dose of creativity to be an asset.
3. Cristian Roldan | Seattle Sounders | Age 24 | 19 caps: It has been a mixed bag for Roldan at international level, although he seems better suited for a deep-lying position rather than the more advanced role he has been given.
1. Christian Pulisic | Chelsea | Age 21 | 34 caps: Where Pulisic lines up is still to be sorted. He has had time on the wing — where he plays for Chelsea — as well as a left-sided No. 10. If Gio Reyna replicates his club form with the U.S., that might push Pulisic back inside. Regardless, he’s the most dynamic player the U.S. has and the face of the national team for years to come.
2. Sebastian Lletget | LA Galaxy | Age 27 | 14 caps: Injuries have prevented Lletget from getting more minutes with the U.S., but he remains crafty on the ball, and can pop up for the occasional goal.
3. Emerson Hyndman | Atlanta United | Age 23 | 2 caps: Hyndman, who had struggled for playing time in Europe, has had a sparkling start to the MLS season, scoring twice for Atlanta United, where he has found a home at last.
1. Jozy Altidore | Toronto FC | Age 30 | 115 caps: When healthy, Altidore is still the best striker in the U.S. pool, although the injury curse never seems that far away.
2. Josh Sargent | Werder Bremen | Age 20 | 12 caps: Sargent has suffered through an up-and-down season with Werder Bremen. A recent tally against Hertha Berlin ended a four-month dry spell, but he still has only three goals and two assists in 18 league appearances.
3. Gyasi Zardes | Columbus Crew | Age 28 | 56 caps: Zardes remains the forward whom some fans love to hate, but with a U.S.-best six goals in 2019, he remains firmly in his former club manager Berhalter’s plans.
1. Jordan Morris | Seattle Sounders | Age 25 | 39 caps: Morris bounced back from injury to enjoy a massive 2019 at both club and international level. His ability to score and provide will need to be on display in 2020.
2. Tyler Boyd | Besiktas | Age 25 | 10 caps: Boyd has decent speed and skill but has found the going difficult since moving to Turkish giants Besiktas, and he hasn’t been as impactful at international level as was initially hoped.
3. Sebastian Saucedo | Pumas | Age 23 | Uncapped: If Boyd can’t pick it up, he might end up getting passed by Saucedo, who was logging consistent minutes for Pumas in Liga MX before the coronavirus shutdown.
1. Gio Reyna | Borussia Dortmund | Age 17 | Uncapped: There might be gnashing of teeth over the ranking of the 17-year-old Reyna, but this is a player who has looked right at home on the field with Borussia Dortmund, even against Champions League opposition.
2. Paul Arriola | D.C. United | Age 25 | 33 caps: Arriola’s recent ACL surgery means the U.S. will miss his high-energy play on both ends of the field, and the hope is that he’ll make it back to play for the U.S. once again.
3. Ulysses Llanez Jr. | Wolfsburg | Age 18 | 1 cap: Llanez impressed during the recent January camp, and has torn it up in the Under-19 Bundesliga with Wolfsburg. He’ll need to take the next step to senior football like Reyna has done to keep pace.