Before the U.S. men's national team's pre-Gold Cup camp gets in full swing, U.S. Soccer is taking the opportunity to immerse some Under-23 players with a senior team contingent.
The full USMNT and U-23s sides will eventually go their separate ways for distinct camps, with the U.S. senior team preparing for the Gold Cup and the U-23s building a foundation before Olympic qualifying in the fall. In the meantime, they'll join forces for a week in Annapolis, Md., from May 26 until June 2, with U.S. manager Gregg Berhalter expanding his style and approach to those next in line. He'll be joined by recently hired U-23 coach Jason Kreis in guiding the camp.
The senior team will then continue preparations for friendlies vs. Jamaica (June 5 in Washington, D.C.) and Venezuela (June 9 in Cincinnati), while the U-23s will have their own camp in Salt Lake City from June 10-16. Both will have their camp rosters augmented by more entrenched MLS- and Europe-based players, with the senior team unveiling a squad made up of players from the 40-man provisional Gold Cup team submitted to Concacaf. About 26-27 players will gather in the week leading into the Jamaica friendly, and the final 23-man Gold Cup team will be unveiled a day after the match at Audi Field before traveling together for the final tune-up.
“Bringing together senior team players with several of the U-23 internationals gives us a fantastic opportunity to continue to instill our culture and style of play across the national team programs,” Berhalter said in a statement. “We expect it to be a very productive week, and then we look forward to bringing in our full group before the game against Jamaica as we narrow in on the final selections for the Gold Cup roster.”
Here's a closer look at the 21-man combo-camp squad:
U-23s: JT Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Andrew Thomas (Stanford), Justin Vom Steeg (LA Galaxy)
This group is devoid of any senior-team keepers and leaves out Jonathan Klinsmann, who appeared at Kreis's first camp in March. He came off the bench as a substitute for Marcinkowski in games against Egypt and the Netherlands. That doesn't mean he–just like plenty others not included on this initial list–won't take part in the full U-23 camp. Fun fact about Thomas: He's eligible for the USA, England and Russia.
U-23s: Kyle Duncan (New York Red Bulls)
Senior team: Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham), Marlon Fossey (Fulham), Omar Gonzalez (Atlas), Andrew Gutman (Charlotte Independence), Matt Miazga (Chelsea), Tim Ream (Fulham), Antonee Robinson (Everton)
This pre-camp camp presents a golden opportunity for the likes of Carter-Vickers and fullbacks Fossey, Gutman and Robinson to prove their value. With injuries to John Brooks and DeAndre Yedlin, the U.S. defensive corps has thinned out, meaning there are Gold Cup roster spots to be had. It's also a chance for the likes of Gonzalez, Miazga and Ream, whose statuses would figure to be a bit more steady, to prove they're worthy of starting gigs during this summer's competition.
Watch "Exploring Planet Fútbol: Germany" now on SI TV! @GrantWahl catches up with some of the #USMNT delegation in the @Bundesliga_EN:
- @eastmamba at @FCBayernUS
- @WMckennie at @s04_en
- @tyler_adams14 at @RBLeipzig_en
- @cpulisic_10 at @BlackYellowhttps://t.co/j6QwkBA21F pic.twitter.com/1uVhsQURvE
— Planet Fútbol (@si_soccer) May 21, 2019
Senior team: Duane Holmes (Derby County), Emerson Hyndman (Bournemouth)*
U-23s: Keaton Parks (New York City FC), Eryk Williamson (Portland Timbers)
Hyndman isn't on the provisional Gold Cup squad but was called in anyway, with Berhalter using the camp to get an extra look at the 23-year-old midfielder who split the year between Hibernian and Bournemouth. It's an opportunity for Hyndman, too, to leave a lasting impression that could result in a Concacaf Nations League call in the fall. Holmes won't be available to join camp until after Monday's promotion playoff final, where he'll hope to have a say in leading Derby County back to the Premier League. This group will be heavily augmented by the senior-team players who will arrive for the full Gold Cup camp following next week's preamble.
Senior team: Jonathan Amon (Nordsjaelland), Joe Gyau (Duisburg), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen)
U-23s: Luca de la Torre (Fulham), Josh Perez (LAFC), Haji Wright (Schalke)
In terms of the Gold Cup, Sargent is a lock, while Amon could play his way into contention and Gyau–making his first U.S. camp appearance in five years–is looking to play his way onto the longer-term radar. Berhalter's system requires strong wing play, and that's precisely what Amon and Gyau bring to the table.
Sargent, meanwhile, enjoyed some early success in his first senior-team action with Werder Bremen, but his impact sputtered down the stretch. He didn't make a Bundesliga appearance after March 30, and the 19-year-old finished with two goals–both scored in December. This summer should provide ample opportunities to build momentum ahead of his first full season at the top-flight level in Germany. In his six caps with the full national team, Sargent has scored twice and shown glimpses of his potential as a front-line leader for the long haul.