Aaron Long has made 13 appearances for the USMNT. (Photo courtesy of MLS)
CHICAGO – U.S. men’s national head coach Gregg Berhalter Wednesday called 26 players into training camp in preparation for the team’s inaugural matches in the Concacaf Nations League against Cuba and Canada.
Red Bulls center back Aaron Long and New York City FC goalkeeper Sean Johnson were called into camp.
Players will begin reporting Oct. 6 to the Washington, D.C. area.
“This is competitive soccer. Anytime there is a trophy on the line is exciting, and in the inaugural Nations League we want to put ourselves in a position to win the tournament,” Berhalter said. “One thing that’s important is we continue to bring some of the younger guys along, integrate some new players into camp, but also have a familiar base. Most of the guys have been in camp before, understand how we want to play, and we think that continuity will help in our performance.”
The USA is joined by Canada and Cuba in Group A of the 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League A. Only the winner of the group will advance to the knockout stage, and Canada opened play with consecutive victories against Cuba, winning 6-0 on Sept. 7 in Toronto and 1-0 on Sept. 10 in Georgetown, Cayman Islands.
The USMNT plays its inaugural match in the Nations League against Cuba on Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. at Audi Field in Washington, D.C.
Four days after the opener in D.C., the USA takes on Canada at BMO Field in Toronto (7:30 p.m. ET; ESPN2, UniMás, TUDN). This will be their first meeting in official competition on Canadian soil since Nov. 9, 1997, when the USA’s 3-0 victory secured its place in the 1998 World Cup.
With the participants for the final round of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup to be determined based on FIFA rankings at the conclusion of this tournament, Nations League’s matches have added significance due to their impact on the rankings. The United States is ranked No. 21 in the world and second among Concacaf teams.
Cuba is 25th in the region and will likely face a long path to have a chance to qualify for the final round of World Cup qualifying, while the Canadians are just outside the final round qualifying cutoff in seventh.
USMNT roster (Club; Caps/Goals):
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC; 61/0), Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 8/0), Zack Steffen (Fortuna Düsseldorf/GER; 16/0)
DEFENDERS (8): Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas; 8/0), Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes; 8/0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 13/2), Daniel Lovitz (Montreal Impact/CAN; 10/0), Matt Miazga (Reading/ENG; 17/1), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 36/1), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United/ENG; 59/0), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC; 11/2)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia Union; 0/0), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/CAN; 150/17), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 11/2), Weston McKennie (Schalke/GER; 15/3), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG; 32/13), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; 16/0), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; 20/0), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes; 3/0)
FORWARDS (7): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC/CAN; 115/42), Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 28/5), Corey Baird (Real Salt Lake; 4/0), Tyler Boyd (Besiktas/TUR; 7/2), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 35/6), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen/GER; 9/2), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew SC; 53/10)