The US Men’s National Team has a semi-awkward Winter – with World Cup Qualifying at the end of January, the typical “camp cupcake” with an international friendly took place in December (The US beat Bosnia 1-0). However, an MLS-specific camp to help keep players in shape (and perhaps identify some guys who are deserving of a WCQ call-up) is still necessary. Nashville SC’s Walker Zimmerman is one player called up to train in Arizona.
From US Soccer release:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 9/0), Gabriel Slonina (Chicago Fire; 0/0), Matt Turner (New England Revolution; 13/0)
DEFENDERS (6): George Bello (Atlanta United; 6/0), DeJuan Jones (New England Revolution; 0/0), Brooks Lennon (Atlanta United; 1/0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 21/3), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United; 15/3), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; 23/2)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids; 45/2), Cole Bassett (Colorado Rapids; 1/1), Djordje Mihailovic (CF Montrêal; 6/1), Sebastian Lletget (New England Revolution; 33/8), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders; 30/0), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes; 16/0)
FORWARDS (4): Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 42/8), Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas; 5/2), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders; 40/10), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew; 66/14)US Soccer release
Zimmerman is one of the camp’s elder statesmen, with the sixth-most caps among the 19 players called up. With “several” closed-door scrimmages in the offing, it can be a useful piece of the preseason for the MLS-based group.
A contingent from this group can be expected to join the full MNT when preparations for Qualifiers against El Salvador, Canada, and Honduras begin. That group convenes at the conclusion of the Phoenix camp, and takes place in Columbus, Ohio, where the El Salvador match will be played.
Non-Zimmerman items of note
Gabriel Slonina and DeJuan Jones are in line for senior-team debuts. I’m a big Slonina fan (shame that he plays for a criminally mismanaged Chicago Fire squad), and Jones is a nice piece for the Revs… but I think a cog in the New England machine more than a guy you’d expect to get caps in meaningful games for the USMNT – though he’s a very good athlete and possibly still developing as a reasonably young pro.
The return of Aaron Long is very nice to see after his May injury. Hopefully he can be back to full speed in short order (though frankly, it seems like Zimmerman has replaced his skillset and possibly surpassed him on the depth chart for Gregg Berhalter).
I’m a big Djordje Mihailovic fan, so I’m glad to see him called up, as well. Most of the rest of ’em are shoulder shrugs in one way or another (either totally predictable and therefore not exciting, or just not exciting in absolute terms).