There it is. These are the boys we're taking to Qatar and a team with expectations. We can joke around about the USMNT as much as we want. But expectations are to get out of the group and have a chance to win a knockout stage game.
Here are my quick rambles and thoughts on what we have.
As for the roster itself? There's a lot to like:
- Matt Turner is our No. 1 goalie. That shouldn't have been a doubt and won't be a doubt. He's the best we currently have. He's the only player who looked good during our last two friendlies.
- Our midfield is loaded. I love the group of Musah, Adams and McKennie. That's a legit three in the midfield that we can just put out there and not have any questions. They all bring something different and you can argue that Tyler Adams is currently the best pressing center mid.
- We have 3 of our back 4 set in stone and gonna need them to play as much of the 90 minutes in each match as possible. Walker Zimmerman, Antonee Robinson and Sergino Dest. Those are the three. They have played together in basically every US match they've been healthy for so those are three easy to put in there.
- Playmakers are there. Pulisic, Reyna, Aaronson and Weah are all playmakers. I still want to see us play a false 9 and just play our best 11. I don't think that will happen because Gregg doesn't really or at least hasn't really bought into it. But that's what we need to do. Use Aaronson as the super sub (to start at least) and play your best 11.
Here's where Gregg fucked up:
- How do you not give Brandon Vazquez a shot at all to make this team? If Gregg is taking MLS players, you have arguably the best forward in MLS this year. He couldn't even make a roster for friendlies. Open your eyes, Gregg.
- No Pefok. Again, I don't know what else he has to do. He's got 3 goals and 4 assists so far for Union Berlin in the Bundesliga. He's better than what we're currently bringing up top. Pretty shocking that Haji Wright made the team over him. I know he came up with Pulisic and that group and Wright is in good form. I just think Pefok is a better player.
- I know Chris Richards and Miles Robinson are hurt. Losing Miles Robinson was such a dagger because we had something with him in the back 4. But man, I can't stand Aaron Long. He's not good! Gregg is obsessed with him and I (along with everyone else) simply don't see it. Do not by any means start him.
- I can't believe Zach Steffen fell out of the top three. He was Gregg's boy for the longest time and was in line to start for what seemed like years. Now he's lost out to Sean Johnson. I don't necessarily care too much because, again, this is Turner's team. If he's not between the posts something has gone to shit.
- There are only two possible starters as a central defender next to Zimmerman. Cameron Carter-Vickers or Tim Ream. Ream plays alongside Robinson at Fulham. I know he's not the best, our best are hurt. But Ream does the best job of the guys we have left who distributes from the back. That's much needed with this roster. Just need to avoid the giant fuck up.
- I'm still a Yedlin fan. He was always a little electric and think the fact that he has World Cup experience helps. He shouldn't start but he's fine to sub in for Dest when needed.
- Again, I say Gregg didn't screw it up too much because it was hard to screw up picking the 26. Pefok is the biggest let down but we knew that going in. Where Gregg can't fuck up is picking the starting 11 and subs. Again, give me Turner, Robinson, Zimmerman, Ream (or CCV), Dest, Musah, Adams, McKennie, Weah, Pulisic and Reyna. Use Aaronson as a super sub or have him start the 2nd match.
- Please don't play MLS guys like Gregg wants to do. We don't need Roldan out there a bunch. We don't need Ferreria out there a bunch. We don't need to rely on Jordan Morris. We have better players, I promise.
- No Ricardo Pepi or Malik Tilman is surprising. Pepi was penciled in as a starter a year ago and has been on rosters throughout it all. Tillman is a guy who decided to play for the US over Germany this year. I assumed that decision was made thinking he'd be on a World Cup roster.
- Again, no Aaron Long no matter what please.
- All in all it feels like a win. There were 2 questionable picks. Leaving out Pepi/Pefok for Morris/Ferreira/Wright. Tillman/Roldan. Those are the ones that I'd question the most. I already accepted that Long would be on the roster.
- Let's go win some goddamn soccer matches.