Rebuilding begins now for U.S. Soccer after World Cup qualifying stumble

Josh Sargent (9) could become the first U.S. player to appear for the U-17, U-20 and senior national teams in the same calendar year.
(Rajat Gupta / European Pressphoto Agency)

The future begins now for U.S. Soccer, which has called up a young, inexperienced team for its final game of the year against third-ranked Portugal on Nov. 14.

The 21-man roster assembled by interim coach Dave Sarachan includes 12 players who are younger than 25 and five who are looking for their first international caps. Just five others were on the team that lost to Trinidad and Tobago in World Cup qualifying last month, knocking the U.S. out of the World Cup for the first time since 1986.

A dozen players compete for clubs abroad — six in England, two in Germany and one each from teams in Belgium, Denmark, Mexico and the Netherlands. Eight others come off MLS teams but none from clubs still alive in the league playoffs.

One young, European-based player who wasn’t called up is 19-year-old Borussia Dortmund midfielder Christian Pulisic.


“Christian has had a very long year, not only with the national team but finding his way with Borussia Dortmund,” said Sarachan, a longtime Galaxy assistant who took over the national team when Bruce Arena resigned as coach three days after the Trinidad loss.

“Between his contributions for the national team and his club, he has probably played more total games than almost anyone in our pool this year and in doing that Christian has really pushed the limits mentally and physically.

“With those things in mind, this was an opportunity for Christian to get a break and recharge for the rest of an important campaign with Dortmund.”

One of the new faces, meanwhile, belongs to 17-year-old Josh Sargent of St. Louis Scott Gallagher, a U.S. Soccer development academy club. Sargent captained the U.S. to qualification for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup before being named to the U.S. squad at the FIFA U-20 World Cup. Both teams reached the quarterfinals of those tournaments.


If Sargent makes it to Portugal he will be the first U.S. player to appear in a U-17, U-20 and senior national team amp during the same calendar year.

Goalkeepers: Jesse Gonzalez (FC Dallas), Bill Hamid (Midtjylland), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge)

Defenders: John Brooks (Wolfsburg), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Sheffield United), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest), Matt Miazga (Vitesse), Tim Ream (Fulham), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United)

Midfielders: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Lynden Gooch (Sunderland), Weston McKennie (Schalke), Kelyn Rowe (New England Revolution), Danny Williams (Huddersfield Town)


Forwards: Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution), Dom Dwyer (Orlando City SC), C.J. Sapong (Philadelphia Union), Josh Sargent (St. Louis Scott Gallagher)

Follow Kevin Baxter on Twitter @kbaxter11