Gregg Berhalter has called in a few surprises as the U.S. prepares for a friendly with Costa Rica
Gregg Berhalter’s roster included a number of surprises and some familiar faces as the U.S. men’s national team prepares for the annual January camp.
Jordan Morris, Gyasi Zardes and Bill Hamid headline the veteran presence on the squad, but it’s the youngsters that will be the talking points in the lead up to a February 1 friendly against Costa Rica. The U.S. will train and play closed-door scrimmages in Qatar before heading to Los Angeles to face their CONCACAF rival.
Among the new faces joining camp is highly-regarded attacker Ulysses Llanez, who will join the senior team for the first time. Llanez, a member of Wolfsbug’s U-19 team, was a member of the U.S. squad that advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2019 U-20 World Cup. He’ll be joined former U-20 teammates Julian Araujo, Mark McKenzie and Paxton Pomykal, with the FC Dallas midfielder the lone player in that group with a senior cap.
In total, the squad features 12 uncapped players and six players joining their first senior camp: Araujo, Llanez, Sam Vines, Christian Cappis, Bryang Kayo and Jesus Ferreira. In addition, 14 players on the 25-man squad are eligible for the Olympics should the U.S. qualify.
Kayo, who is currently without a club, comes to the senior squad after featuring for the U.S. at the U-17 World Cup while Cappis, who features for Danish side Hobro, joins Llanez as the lone two European-based players in the squad. Ferreira, the son of former FC Dallas standout David, scored eight goals for the Texas club this season will take part in his first USMNT camp after acquiring U.S. citizenship.
“At the start of an exciting year, this is a great opportunity to continue our process and build on the foundation established in the last 12 months,” Berhalter said. “At the same, there are a number of players getting their first exposure to the senior national team who will be provided the platform to make a positive impression. We appreciate all the support and cooperation from MLS and the clubs that released their players and gave us a chance to get a head start on the challenges ahead.”
Here’s a closer look at the full squad:
DEFENDERS: Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy), Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas), Chase Gasper (Minnesota United FC), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union, Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC)
MIDFIELDERS: Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia Union), Christian Cappis (Hobro) , Bryang Kayo (Unattached), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes)