The international soccer calendar for 2018 is drawing to a close. November always represents the last games of the year for the USMNT. This year is no different. The permanent manager still has yet to be named, though every person knows it’s going to be Gregg Berhalter. But setting aside the incompetence of the US Soccer Federation, the two games that the US has set for this November window keeps in sync with the scheduling philosophy since missing the World Cup. Since last November, the schedule has consisted of mostly European and South American opposition with just one team from CONCACAF. That is the case here as the US gets set to take on a pair of European heavyweights: England and Italy.
The US roster for these games was released much earlier than usual and is as strong and full roster as Dave Sarachan has had in his time in charge of the team. The goalkeepers consist of Brad Guzan and Ethan Horvath, as well as the late addition of Jonathan Klinsmann (son of former US boss Jurgen Klinsmann) who was brought in to replace Zack Steffen who withdrew due to injury. The backline consists of a number of the players US fans have been accustomed to seeing over the last 12 months such as DeAndre Yedlin, Matt Miazga, Cameron Carter-Vickers, John Brooks, Antonee Robinson (who has since left the squad due to injury), Aaron Long, Shaq Moore, and Walker Zimmerman. The midfield is where the real talent and excitement lies as this is the first camp that Dave Sarachan has been able to get Christian Pulisic, Tim Weah, Tyler Adams, and Weston McKennie together at the same time. Also in the midfield are Sebastian Lletget, Julian Green, Marky Delgado and Romain Gall, who earns his first ever call up after having a stellar season with Malmo in Sweden. Up top, it’s pretty sparse with only two players called in: Bobby Wood and Josh Sargent.
When this roster was released, it felt like the first time in a long time there was something akin to real excitement from the US fans over player selection. Not only are a number of the stale old veterans like Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, Graham Zusi and Matt Besler not in camp, there are fresh, new faces and lots of promising young talent, especially in the midfield. Tyler Adams is 19, Weston McKennie is 20, Christian Pulisic is 20, Tim Weah is 18 and up top Josh Sargent is 18. This really is the first time US fans could get to see all of these talented youngsters on the field together to see what they can really do with each other. And who better to test them against than a pair of European blue bloods in England and Italy. First up of the two is England.
England is coming into this game after having their best performance at a World Cup since 1990. England went to the semi-finals this summer in Russia and looked good doing it. They got off to a shaky start, needing a last minute winner to get by Tunisia before they thrashed Panama (a team the US has long looked labored against) 6-1. They dropped their final group stage game against Belgium and earned a Round of 16 matchup against Colombia. It was a rough and tumble game that American referee Mark Geiger handled very well, despite what the rest of the media may think and England won on penalties (long a national nightmare). They then brushed aside Sweden in the quarter-finals to earn a semi-final matchup against Croatia. England took the lead early on but Croatia wound up winning 2-1 in extra time before England lost in the 3rd place game to Belgium. Since the World Cup, it’s been mostly good news for England as they are unbeaten in three of four games and currently sit second in their UEFA Nations League group behind Spain and ahead of Croatia. Their roster for this game is loaded with big name players from big name clubs but the headliner in all of it is Wayne Rooney who is donning the England jersey one last time (though one has to wonder if the fact that he plays in MLS now has something to do with it).
Players to watch for the Three Lions include Kyle Walker and John Stones in defense, Jordan Henderson, Eric Dier and Dele Alli in the midfield, and Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford up front. Also of interest is 18 year old Jadon Sancho who is one of only two players in the England squad who does not play in the Premier League (he plays for Borussia Dortmund alongside Christian Pulisic).
1. Three of the US players called in ply their trade in either the Premier League or the English Championship : DeAndre Yedlin at Newcastle United, Antonee Robinson at Wigan Athletic, Luca del la Torre at Fulham, and Cameron Carter-Vickers are Swansea City.
2. Darlington Nagbe of Atlanta United was originally called into the camp for these two friendlies, but withdrew on Monday due to injury. Antonee Robinson was ruled out with an injury on Wednesday morning.
3. In keeping with the youth movement, 18 of the players on this US roster are under the age of 25 and only 1 is over the age of 30.
When and where to watch the game on US TV
USA trails 2-7-1
June 12, 2010
Royal Bafokeng Stadium
Rustenburg, South Africa
USA 1 – 1 England
Current FIFA Ranking
Tuesday, November 20, 2018
USA vs. Italy