It’s finally gameday.
After a 285 day layoff, the United States Men’s National Team is back in action today. The Yanks take on Wales in Swansea this afternoon (2:45 p.m. ET/1:45 p.m. CT/FS1).
A couple of 17 year olds should make their debuts today. Borussia Dortmund’s Gio Reyna, who turns 18 tomorrow, is a strong contender to start for Gregg Berhalter’s side. We should also see Valencia star Yunus Musah, who represented England at the youth level. Prior to today, eleven players had made their USMNT debuts before turning 18. The last one? Christian Pulisic.
With Josh Sargent out, it will be interesting to see who Berhalter starts at striker. It could be another potential debutant. Nicholas Gioacchini, who plays for Caen, could get the nod. Gioacchini has an interesting story. He was born in Missouri to an Italian father and a Jamaican mother. He moved to Italy at 8, and then moved to France at 15, and is eligible to represent the United States, Italy and Jamaica.
Red Bull Leipzig’s Tyler Adams and Juventus’ Weston McKennie both figure to start, but we won’t see Pulisic, who was briefly in camp, but returned to Chelsea to continue rehabbing an injury.
“Christian has been a big part of our group,” Berhalter said. “He has been working through an injury, but it really says a lot that he wanted to come into camp, be around the guys, and continue to be a leader with this team.”
Another thing to watch: In Zoom calls with reporters this week, both Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie were asked if the team was planning to do anything before the match in support of racial and social justice. Both players mentioned something big was in the works, but they wanted to keep it a surprise for gameday.
USA ROSTER NOTES (provided by U.S. Soccer)
- For the match against Wales on Thursday, the roster will have an average age of 22 years, 52 days.
- The average number of caps won is nine.
- Of the 24 players, only Reggie Cannon, Uly Llanez and Sebastian Lletget have earned caps in 2020. Llanez scored in his international debut and played 73 minutes, while Cannon and Lletget went the full 90 in the 1-0 win against Costa Rica on Feb. 1 in Carson, Calif.
- Only six players have more than 17 caps. Tim Ream is the senior-most player with 40 appearances, followed by John Brooks (38), Christian Pulisic (34), Weston McKennie (19), Matt Miazga (18) and Zack Steffen (17).
- Ten players are uncapped: Johnny Cardoso, Konrad de la Fuente, Nicholas Gioacchini, Richie Ledezma, Yunus Musah, Chituru Odunze, Owen Otasowie, Gio Reyna, Chris Richards, Sebastian Soto.
- The 24 players hail from clubs in ten different countries: England (6), Germany (4), Netherlands and Spain (3 each), Belgium and France (2 each), Brazil, Italy, Portugal and the United States (1 each).
- Eighteen players are age-eligible for participation in the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo
- A total of 14 players are 20 or younger.