Latest Soccer Leads

USMNT Puts Together Most Talent Roster Ever for CONCACAF Nation's League Final

Ryan Phillips
Northern Ireland v USMNT
Northern Ireland v USMNT / John Dorton/ISI Photos/Getty Images
facebooktwitter

The United States men's national team released its roster for the 2021 CONCACAF Nations League Final on Monday and it is loaded with young talent. In fact, its almost certainly the most talented roster the United State has ever put together.

From top to bottom and at every position group, the USMNT's squad for the June 3 semifinal match against Honduras is packed with players plying their trade in Europe's top leagues. Led by Chelsea's Christian Pulisic and Machester City's Zack Steffen -- who will both be on hand for Saturday's Champions League Final -- and aided by Barcelona's Sergino Dest, Juventus' Weston McKennie, Valencia's Yunus Musah, Borussia Dortmund's Gio Reyna and Lille's Tim Weah, the team is loaded with young talent from the best leagues in the world.

The U.S. has more soccer talent representing it than at any time in its history, and it appears across every position group.

While Steffen isn't Tim Howard in his prime, he's a legitimate No. 1 keeper. The 26-year-old is currently backing up Ederson, one of the best netminders in the world for Man City. He'll be backed up by Ethan Horvath, a 25-year-old playing for Club Brugge Belgium's first division, and 20-year-old David Ochoa, a talented Real Salt Lake keeper.

The backline features long-time stalwart John Brooks and Dest, who made 41 appearances for Barcelona this year as a 20-year-old. They'll be aided by Reggie Cannon, who recently moved to Boavista in Portugal's Primeira Liga, DeAndre Yedlin, who just moved to Turkish side Galatasaray, Anderlecht's Matt Miazga and more. The competition to play center back next to Brooks should be stiff among this group following Aaron Long's devastating Achilles injury.

The midfield will be led by McKennie, who has rapidly become a huge piece for Juventus. The 18-year-old Musah made 33 appearances for Valencia this season and looks like a budding, next-level star for the U.S. Tyler Adams missed some games for RB Leipzig late in the season but he'll surely be called on to play during the upcoming games. Kellyn Acosta, Sebastian Lletget and Jackson Yueill are all MLS guys who could provide depth as substitutes.

Perhaps nowhere is the U.S.'s depth more apparent than up front. A few years ago the squad was starved for any kind of scoring punch that didn't involve Jozy Altidore. Now the roster has plenty. Led by Pulisic and the 18-year-old Reyna, the forwards group boasts the 21-year-old Weah, Werder Bremen's 21-year-old Josh Sargent, Red Bull Salzburg's 20-year-old Brenden Aaronson and the 25-year-old Jordan Siebatcheu, who just finished a season scoring 12 league goals for Young Boys in Switzerland.

The forwards group is so packed with talent that emerging star Daryl Dike didn't make the team. The 20-year-old has been fantastic during a loan spell with Barnsley in the English Championship, potting nine goals in 19 league appearances.

The USMNT will face Honduras on June 3 in Denver. If it wins that match, it will face the winner of a battle between Mexico and Costa Rica in the June 6 final. A loss puts the U.S. in the third-place again against the other semifinal's loser.

As the USMNT starts to sort out its roster for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, most this group will likely provide the backbone. It's a stunningly-talented group that also happens to be absurdly young. The oldest players in this cycle are Tim Ream (33) -- who is likely there for depth and veteran leadership -- Brooks (28), Sebastian Lletget (28) and Yedlin (27). Everyone else is 25 or younger.

It's a great time to buy stock in U.S. soccer. It feels like the team finally has the right mix of talent to compete on a grand scale. These guys just have to be developed and deployed properly and the Americans could legitimately compete internationally.

We'll see how this plays out and if manager Gregg Berhalter is up to the task. But, for once, talent isn't the issue for the United States in soccer.

facebooktwitter