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USMNT calls MLS-heavy squad for December friendly vs El Salvador

U.S. men’s national team manager Gregg Berhalter announced his 22-player roster for a training camp ahead of the Dec. 9 friendly against El Salvador, to be held at Inter Miami CF Stadium in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

The match will mark the final time the U.S. men will play in 2020, a year in which the schedule was limited to four games due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The players will report to camp starting on Nov. 30. No players from teams currently in the MLS playoffs were named, though additional players may be added following the completion of the MLS Western Conference semifinals on Thursday.

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With the match falling outside of an international window, as well as the fact that it’s being held in the U.S., Berhalter’s roster is comprised almost entirely of domestic players, with 21 of the 22 playing in MLS.

“Since returning to the field, the focus has been on continuing to build on our foundation and preparing the team for important competitions in 2021,” Berhalter said. “We have utilized these opportunities to work with our core group while evaluating young talent in an effort to strengthen our overall player pool.”

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D.C. United midfielder Paul Arriola, who has recovered from an ACL tear, is the most experienced player on the roster with 33 caps. He’s joined by three players who made the 2020 MLS Best XI in Nashville SC defender and current MLS Defender of the Year Walker Zimmerman, as well as the Philadelphia Union duo of defender Mark McKenzie and midfielder Brenden Aaronson. Aaronson will join Red Bull Salzburg in January.



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But with an eye towards a packed calendar in 2021, including qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics, Berhalter is also casting an eye towards the younger elements of the player pool. The current roster includes 12 uncapped players, though LA Galaxy midfielder Efrain Alvarez is ineligible to play against El Salvador because he represented Mexico in official competition at youth level, and has yet to file a one-time switch.

Other players eligible to play for multiple national teams are Toronto FC forward Ayo Akinola, who can represent one of the U.S., Canada or Nigeria, Frankie Amaya (U.S. and Mexico) and Daryl Dike (U.S. and Nigeria).


GOALKEEPERS (3): CJ Dos Santos (Benfica/POR; 0/0), Bill Hamid (D.C. United; 7/0), David Ochoa (Real Salt Lake; 0/0)

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DEFENDERS (8): Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy; 0/0), Kyle Duncan (New York Red Bulls; 0/0), Marco Farfan (Portland Timbers; 0/0, Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 17/3), Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union; 1/0), Mauricio Pineda (Chicago Fire; 0/0), Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids; 1/0), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; 12/2)

MIDFIELDERS (5): Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia Union; 1/0), Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids; 23/2), Frankie Amaya (FC Cincinnati; 0/0), Cole Bassett (Colorado Rapids; 0/0), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 16/3)

FORWARDS (6): Ayo Akinola (Toronto FC/CAN; 0/0), Efrain Alvarez (LA Galaxy; 0/0), Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 33/5), Daryl Dike (Orlando City SC; 0/0), Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago Fire; 5/1), Chris Mueller (Orlando City SC; 0/0

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