On May 24, U.S. Men’s National Team (USMNT) head coach Gregg Berhalter named the 23 players that will represent the senior Stars and Stripes in the Concacaf Nations League Final Four. Berhalter selected Colorado Rapids’ versatile midfielder Kelly Acosta, along with Colorado Real Soccer Club alumni and Belgium’s Club Brugge goalkeeper Ethan Horvath. The final 23 were selected from a 40-player provisional roster that included Colorado Rapids left back Sam Vines.
Acosta has become a mainstay with the current USMNT, making an impressive turnaround in his career as a senior U.S. player considering that in January 2019, Berhalter sent Acosta packing after their annual camp. Acosta rededicated himself, and his renewed attitude and resilience have rewarded the 25-year-old many times over. After debuting in 2016, Acosta has made 27 appearances for the national team.
His tenacious play on the pitch has earned him considerable praise from both his U.S. and MLS coaching staff and fans alike.
For Highlands Ranch native Ethan Horvath, the tournament affords him another opportunity to showcase his talents to the U.S. coaching team. The 25-year-old has made four appearances for the United States. During the 2018-19 season for Club Brugge, he made 28 appearances and led the team to a second-place finish in the Belgium First Division A. Since then, his playing time has diminished. In 2019-2020 and 2021 seasons, he has started twice. Brugge however, did place at the top of their division.
Regrettably for local Colorado Rapids followers, the rising Sam Vines did not make his final roster. The young left back faced considerable competition in the selection process as Berhalter and his staff chose eight experienced defenders including Sergiño Dest, John Brooks, Reggie Cannon, Matt Miazga, and DeAndre Yedlin. Berhalter ultimately picked FC Barcelona’s Dest as his first choice for left back, but Vines’ future with the Yanks is still very bright.
This U.S. roster, minus a few injured stars, may just be a preview of the team that the USMNT will field this July and August when it embarks on the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup tournament. Soon thereafter, they will make a run at their foremost goal: securing a spot in FIFA’s late fall 2022 World Cup tournament in Qatar. The Yanks will need to qualify with decisive wins in the 2021-2022 Concacaf Octagonal, which kicks off this September and runs through March.
On June 3 and 6, Team USA will face off with rivals Costa Rica, Honduras, and Mexico in the inaugural Nations Cup tournament, which will be played in Denver’s Empower Field at Mile High Stadium Stadium. The outcome of the two-day tournament will crown the first-ever champion of a competition that was created to provide high-quality competition and boost rivals between all 41 Concacaf Member Associations.
The USMNT will come out seeking to capture the title and add another award to its trophy case in the U.S. Soccer headquarters in downtown Chicago.
“We are excited to gather this group together as we compete to win the Nations League trophy,” Berhalter stated in a recent press conference. “It’s been a great year for our player pool and the unprecedented successes of winning multiple league and cup championships throughout Europe. Our focus now becomes continuing this success with the national team.”
Ahead of the Denver-based tournament, the Yanks will take on No. 13-ranked Switzerland on May 30 in St. Gallen. Berhalter also named Acosta the 27-player to the high-altitude, Swiss-based camp on May 20.
“We’ve been looking at this carefully and what we’re seeing is that this is going to replicate the cadence of a player playing for his club team on the weekend, flying across the ocean and then preparing for a three-game block in World Cup qualifying,” Berhalter recently said on a U.S. Soccer-sponsored podcast.
“This is really going to help us gather information on what the players are going for and what the load is going to be. We’re going to use all four games to be able to test that out, and I think it’s going to be unrealistic to expect all the same players to play in each game. So what we’re going to have to do is we’re going to have to be balancing. It’s going to have to be a squad effort,” the head coach said.
USMNT NATIONS CUP FINALS ROSTER BY POSITION BY (CLUB/COUNTRY; CAPS/GOALS):
DEFENDERS (8): John Brooks (Wolfsburg/GER; 40/3), Reggie Cannon (Boavista/POR; 14/0), Sergiño Dest (Barcelona/ESP; 7/1), Mark McKenzie (Genk/BEL; 2/0), Matt Miazga (Anderlecht/BEL; 21/1), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 42/1), Antonee Robinson (Fulham/ENG; 10/0), DeAndre C (Galatasaray/TUR; 62/0)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids; 27/2), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig/GER; 12/1), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 20/6), Weston McKennie (Juventus/ITA; 21/6), Yunus Musah (Valencia/ESP; 4/0), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes; 9/0)
FORWARDS: (6): Brenden Aaronson (Red Bull Salzburg/AUT; 4/2), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG; 15/9), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 4/2), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen/GER; 13/5), Jordan Siebatcheu (Young Boys/SUI; 2/0), Tim Weah (Lille/FRA; 10/1)