With no Cup, young roster is put together
The Associated Press
CHICAGO — With no World Cup to prepare for, the United States announced a roster devoid of the veterans who failed to qualify for this year’s tournament and filled with youth who could take the field 4¢ years from now in Qatar.
Midfielder Julian Green returns to the U.S. national team for the first time in two years, joining star midfielder Christian Pulisic in the group picked for the May 28 exhibition against Bolivia at Chester, Pennsylvania, outside Philadelphia.
Josh Sargent, an 18-year-old forward who moved to Germany’s Werder Bremen this year but has yet to play for the club, is among seven players on the 22-man roster announced Sunday who could make their national team debuts. He is joined by goalkeeper Alex Bono, midfielder Alejandro Guido and defenders Matthew Olosunde, Erik Palmer-Brown, Keaton Parks and Antonee Robinson. Guido, Olosunde and Parks will be attending a national team camp for the first time.
“The theme is to offer opportunity to this younger generation of talented players that have potential down the road with the program,” interim coach Dave Sarachan said.
Pulisic and left back Jorge Villafana are the only players who were in the lineup for the 2-1 loss at Trinidad and Tobago last October that ended the Americans’ streak of seven straight World Cup appearances. The match will be a homecoming for the 19-year-old Pulisic, who is from Hershey, Pennsylvania, which is about 90 miles (145 kilometers) west of Chester, and already is the top player in the U.S. pool.
Green is the only World Cup veteran. Now 22, he scored against Belgium in the second round of the 2014 tournament but never got into a Bundesliga match with Bayern Munich during the following two seasons. He transferred to second-division Stuttgart in January 2017 and spent the past season on loan to another second-tier team, Greuther Fuerth.
Two players return after making their debuts in the 1-0 win over Paraguay in March: midfielder Tim Weah and forward Andrija Novakovich. The 18-year-old Weah, the son of 1995 FIFA Player of the Year and current Liberia President George Weah, made his first start for Paris Saint-Germain in Saturday’s season-ending match against Caen.
Weston McKennie, a 19-year-old midfielder who scored in his debut at Portugal in November, played in 22 Bundesliga matches this season for second-place Schalke.
The average age of players on the roster is 22 years, 286 days as of Sunday, and 15 players are 22 or younger.
The U.S. Soccer Federation has not said when it will hire a new coach. The Americans do not have a competitive match until the CONCACAF Gold Cup in June 2019.