The U.S. men’s national team returns to its first official competitive action since the conclusion of the 2022 FIFA World Cup as the USMNT convenes for two CONCACAF Nations League games against Grenada and El Salvador.
The last time the U.S. took the field was in January 2023 when the Americans broke camp for friendlies against Serbia and Colombia. Those matches were played with a roster largely made up of domestic-based players since the games were not scheduled during an official FIFA international window and clubs around the world were not required to release players.
However, the matches in March 2023 do fall within a designated FIFA international window, with games on the road at Grenada on March 24 and then at home against El Salvador on March 27. The first-choice contingent of USMNT players should be summoned.
The roster was released on Wednesday, March 15, and it has an experimental feel as a number of veteran players were left off in favor of young, inexperienced individuals relatively new to the group. During his media availability around the roster reveal, acting head coach Anthony Hudson made it clear that fixture congestion at both the club and international level through the next few months played a big role in their selection process for this roster.
The Sporting News breaks down who will be involved in the Nations League games against Grenada and El Salvador at the end of the month.
MORE: A way-too-early look at a USMNT roster for the 2026 FIFA World Cup
USMNT roster for March 2023 games
Below is the official 24-man USMNT roster for the March 2023 international break.
One important note: there is no limit to the roster size for CONCACAF Nations League matches. The USA assembled a 23-man roster for their most recent CONCACAF Nations League games last summer, while they featured 24 players in the latest January camp and 26 players last September.
The official list below features 24 players, as the U.S. keeps a tight number despite the experimental feel of the roster.
You can see a full rundown of the highlights from Anthony Hudson’s press conference in this Twitter thread by clicking here.
MORE: USMNT schedule for 2023 calendar year, including Nations League & Gold Cup
|Ethan Horvath||GK||27||8||Luton Town (ENG)|
|Zack Steffen||GK||27||29||Middlesbrough (ENG)*|
|Matt Turner||GK||28||24||Arsenal (ENG)|
|Sergino Dest||DEF||22||23||AC Milan (ITA)*|
|Mark McKenzie||DEF||24||10||Genk (BEL)|
|Tim Ream||DEF||35||50||Fulham (ENG)|
|Bryan Reynolds||DEF||21||2||Westerlo (BEL)|
|Miles Robinson||DEF||26||21||Atlanta United (USA)|
|Antonee Robinson||DEF||25||33||Fulham (ENG)|
|Joe Scally||DEF||20||3||Borussia M’gladbach (GER)|
|Auston Trusty||DEF||24||0||Birmingham City (ENG)*|
|Johnny Cardoso||MID||21||4||Internacional (BRA)|
|Luca de la Torre||MID||24||12||Celta Vigo (SPA)|
|Weston McKennie||MID||24||41||Leeds United (ENG)*|
|Yunus Musah||MID||20||23||Valencia (ENG)|
|Alan Sonora||MID||24||2||Juarez (MEX)|
|Brenden Aaronson||FWD||22||28||Leeds United (ENG)|
|Taylor Booth||FWD||21||0||FC Utrecht (NED)|
|Daryl Dike||FWD||22||8||West Bromwich Albion (ENG)|
|Ricardo Pepi||FWD||20||12||FC Groningen (NED)*|
|Christian Pulisic||FWD||24||56||Chelsea (ENG)|
|Gio Reyna||FWD||20||16||Borussia Dortmund (GER)|
|Tim Weah||FWD||23||29||LOSC Lille (FRA)|
|Alejandro Zendejas||FWD||25||1||Club America (MEX)|
* On loan
At goalkeeper, Gaga Slonina will have to wait for his chance to show he belongs in this squad, despite appearing in the January camp. Instead, Ethan Horvath is called in as the third option behind starter Matt Turner and second option Zack Steffen.
While Sean Johnson isn’t exactly out of the fold yet, at 33 years old he is now playing at Toronto FC, where he hasn’t kept a single clean sheet in six matches to start the MLS season, a potential reason to make way for a promising youngster.
There’s a huge shakeup at defense for the United States. Miles Robinson and Chris Richards were both expected to be World Cup participants before injuries ruined the plan, but only one returns to the fold as Richards is not included as he continues to fight for time at Crystal Palace. Mark McKenzie is welcomed into the squad despite missing out on a World Cup place. Some new faces are given an opportunity to impress, as Auston Trusty and Bryan Reynolds are all called in.
Other key names left off include Walker Zimmerman, Cameron Carter-Vickers, DeAndre Yedlin, and Erik Palmer-Brown. New York Red Bulls left-back John Tolkin performed well in January camp but misses out, as does New England’s DeJuan Jones also a possible option.
At midfield, the “MMA” trio of Weston McKennie, Yunus Musah, and Tyler Adams are locks when healthy, but Adams was injured on club duty and will not participate. Johnny Cardoso and Alan Sonora are fringe players looking to break in, while Luca de la Torre seems to be the replacement for Adams in the middle of the field.
Malik Tillman and Kellyn Acosta are names surprisingly left out of the mix, especially the later who has remained a constant figure in the squad. James Sands had a rough go at Rangers, and despite returning home to the U.S. with NYCFC where he’s earning consistent minutes in both defense and midfield, he remains on the outside.
USMNT captain Tyler Adams suffered a hamstring injury with Leeds and will not be on the squad for Nations League games this month, the club announced.
Leeds didn’t put a timetable on his return, saying he’ll remain at the club for further assessment. Hopefully nothing serious. pic.twitter.com/UPQYrrghUp
— Tom Bogert (@tombogert) March 15, 2023
Up front, most of the places should be taken up by regulars like Christian Pulisic and Tim Weah. The situation around Gio Reyna is dicey given the recent publication of an investigation that saw his parents front and center, but he’s included in the mix. Alejandro Zendejas just committed to the USA and will reportedly be involved, able to play in midfield or out wide. Daryl Dike has returned from injury and is in good form at West Brom, allowing him to earn a place, and Taylor Booth is a surprise inclusion on the roster.
Regular striker Jesus Ferreira is not included on the roster, and neither is World Cup participant Josh Sargent, meaning someone new will lead the line in the coming fixtures.
Alejandro Zendejas commits to USA
The future of dual national Alejandro Zendejas was in the spotlight during January camp as the Club America winger featured for the USA and performed well in the friendly against Serbia. The interim U.S. coaching staff was highly complimentary of Zendejas both before and after the match, thankful to both the player and his club that he was able to participate.
While Zendejas was born in Mexico, he has participated for the United States at various youth levels, but recent speculation of a potential one-time switch to his birth nation (Mexico) fueled doubts over his international future.
MORE: Why Zendejas chose the USA over Mexico
That was put to bed on March 14 as Zendejas announced his commitment to the USMNT at the senior level. It was a major recruitment win for the U.S. to secure a promising player despite not currently having a sporting director or head coach to lead the team. There were reports that Zendejas would participate in the Nations League matches in March which would ensure he is cap-tied to the USA moving forward, and he was indeed included on the roster for the matches.
OFFICIAL: Alex Zendejas has committed to the USMNT 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/C4KTGoFTqi
— U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team (@USMNT) March 14, 2023
Gio Reyna gets USMNT call-up
In the immediate aftermath of the U.S. Soccer investigation into U.S. World Cup coach Gregg Berhalter which exposed questionable actions by Claudio and Danielle Reyna, parents of American star Gio Reyna, the USMNT coaching staff had a decision to make which could prove awkward either way.
The report from third party law firm Alston & Bird did not reflect well on Gio’s parents, with evidence to suggest the two had been trying to “influence” Gio’s status with the U.S. national team as far back as 2016.
Their actions during and immediately following the 2022 World Cup came under the spotlight, choosing to report an instance of domestic violence involving out-of-contract head coach Berhalter that occurred 31 years ago. It triggered an investigation that ended in Berhalter being cleared to coach again, while bringing to light the Reynas’ behavior, communications, and interactions that has been widely criticized.
Gio Reyna is one of the more promising young players in the USMNT player pool and has been for a while, and holding him accountable for the actions of his parents would be unfair. Yet his presence in the squad could be awkward for other players and staff, and his season at Borussia Dortmund on the field has also taken a step back since the World Cup ended. He’s been forced to take a back seat to more in-form attackers like Julian Brandt and Karim Adeyemi.
Ultimately, Reyna is a talented enough player at a young enough age that this matter should be considered in the past, and he was indeed selected to the March roster. Steven Goff of the Washington Post has reported ahead of time that Reyna would indeed be brought into the squad, and that proved true as U.S. Soccer looked to avoid turning the story into something bigger than it needed to be.
In his press conference after the roster reveal, acting head coach Anthony Hudson said that they are keeping Gio’s status with the team and the situation with his parents as “separate” and that Gio is “firmly focused on his soccer.”
USA vs Mexico in April
The U.S. national team announced an international match against rivals Mexico that will take place on April 19 in Glendale, Arizona.
The match is the first edition of the brand new Continental Clasico that will see the United States play various opponents from North, Central, and South America.
Since the match does not fall within a designated FIFA international window, it’s unlikely that top, European-based players will feature for either nation. Instead, the rosters will largely be made up of domestic-based players that are voluntarily released from their club.
The @Allstate Continental Clásico ⚽️
We welcome El Tri to kick-off a new annual event bringing top-tier opponents from North, Central and South America to the U.S.
🇺🇸 USA vs Mexico🇲🇽
📆 April 19
📍 Glendale, AZ
More Info » https://t.co/pBY9L9egXr pic.twitter.com/v78yhEqfR9
— U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team (@USMNT) March 14, 2023
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