Friday, September 30, 2022
Home CALIFORNIA Alexander: As World Cup approaches, U.S. roster taking shape

Alexander: As World Cup approaches, U.S. roster taking shape

It is one of the peculiarities of soccer, the difference that sets it apart from other sports: You’ve got to know how to adjust to different sets of teammates almost instantaneously, especially if you are accomplished enough to play for both your club team and your national team.

If you play for the United States, especially on the men’s side, that means different sets of mates within the larger national team player pool. The adjustment period had better take minutes, not hours or days or longer – especially this year, and especially for the European-based players who will wear Our Boys’ colors.

The opening match of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is a shade more than two months away, just 2½ weeks after the MLS Cup championship is decided and right in the middle of the club seasons everywhere else in the world. The final preparation window is this week’s camp in Germany, leading into exhibitions against Japan on Friday in Duesseldorf, Germany and against Saudi Arabia next Tuesday in Murcia, Spain.

The 26-man roster called in by head coach Gregg Berhalter for this camp – which is by no means necessarily the final roster but probably provides a solid glimpse of the coach’s thinking – has already changed because of injuries.  It includes eight MLS-based players, including LAFC’s Kellyn Acosta and former LAFC defender Walker Zimmerman, and 17 based in Europe.

Soccer players learn, early on, that they’d better be adept at shape-shifting, adapting to different surroundings, teammates, conditions and ambitions.

“I come into camp and I greet everybody just like, it’s amazing seeing them, you know?” said Brenden Aaronson, a midfielder for Leeds in the Premier League, during a U.S. Soccer Zoom session Monday. “I feel like it’s just such a close-knit group.

“The personalities here, I think that’s what kind of brings it all together. He (Berhalter) has done a good job of picking the guys who have great personalities and are willing to do it for the team. Everybody’s willing to work for each other.”

This player pool, in a sense, brought the men’s national team program back from the abyss after its failure to qualify for the World Cup in 2018. They won two CONCACAF championships in 2021, the Gold Cup and Nations League, and were uneven at times in qualifying earlier this year but punched their ticket fairly easily, earning one of the region’s three guaranteed spots over Costa Rica thanks to goal differential.

Matt Turner’s status as one of the goalkeepers in this camp (with Zack Steffen sidelined with a knee injury), is an example of why it’s sometimes risky to depend on European-based players who are good enough to be on rosters in the world’s best leagues but find it hard to get playing time.

Turner is on Arsenal’s roster but has yet to play a Premier League match this season, though he did get a start for the Gunners in a Europa League match and beat FC Zurich, 2-1. (Lest we forget, one of the main reasons MLS was launched in the summer of 1996 as a first-division league was to prepare and develop U.S. players for international play.)

In that situation a player’s level of sharpness, he said on Monday’s Zoom call, “depends on how you approach training, I’d say. If you’re in it (for) just a stroll about and you don’t think that you can change your situation no matter what you do, then you’ll lose a lot of that sharpness. But … that’s not really the kind of way that I operate.

“I want to continue to get better. I know that my ceiling has not yet been reached. And it’s going to take some hard work and obviously some risky career moves at the end of the day. But if I want to get to where I want to get to, I need to get outside of my comfort zone a little bit. And that’s going to help my sharpness every single day and my approach to the game in general.”

Aaronson is certainly not in a situation where the manager has issues with American players.

Source link


First Everhome Suites extended-stay hotel opens in Corona

The first Everhome Suites extended-stay hotel has opened in Corona, and the Maryland-based hospitality firm behind it has five more under development in...

Plant, relocate and fertilize: What to do in the garden this week

1. Fertilize trees and shrubs with phosphorus and potassium, but not with nitrogen. Root systems of trees and shrubs do most of their...

Incumbent Mitch O’Farrell and Hugo Soto-Martinez in fight to represent Hollywood and Silver Lake

The race for a seat on the Los Angeles City Council between incumbent Mitch O’Farrell and challenger Hugo Soto-Martinez on the Nov. 8...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

How much traffic would a temporary casino at Medinah Temple bring to the area? New study claims River North could handle influx of vehicles

Despite the concerns of the local alderman and neighborhood groups, Chicago officials say a new study — paid for by the city’s chosen...

First Everhome Suites extended-stay hotel opens in Corona

The first Everhome Suites extended-stay hotel has opened in Corona, and the Maryland-based hospitality firm behind it has five more under development in...

Schenectady Mayor to propose 2023 budget

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) -- Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy will present the city's 2023 proposed budget to the Schenectady City Council on Friday at...

Ryder to sell headquarters to industrial developer

Following this deal, Ryder is looking for a smaller office in Miami-Dade County. Source link

Recent Comments