2018 World Cup Qualifying, August 2017, USMNT

Who’s On The Plane?: A Not-So-Early 23-Man USMNT World Cup Roster Prediction

This was right before we tossed Jozy a new TYAC shirt.

The Yanks Are Coming Staff 

Coming off a victorious Gold Cup, the US Men’s National Team still have work to do to assure a spot in next summer’s World Cup in Russia. But assuming qualifying goes well in September and October, it’s only nine months and change until Bruce Arena names his final 23-man roster for the 2018 World Cup. There’s an entire club season in that time span, so there’s still time for players to make a lasting impression on Bruce Arena and state their case for a spot on the plane to Russia next June.  

At TYAC, we have an informed belief that Bruce Arena’s player pool at this point has around 30-35 names on it, with a handful written in sharpie. Certainly, the Gold Cup was one of the final extended US camps where players could make a case directly to the US coaching staff, and as Arena said after the tournament, it “helped the staff learn more about the players and options (we) have.” Arena will have another camp in January to further separate fringe roster contenders from pretenders.

But whatever comes of that camp, history suggests club play will matter most.

Barring injury, it’s likely 13 to 15 of Arena’s roster spots for Russia are locked down. But extended World Cup runs are best built with deep teams that have game-changers, match-up spot starters and “next man up” depth options on their bench. Those are the players Arena will be traveling the globe to see over the next nine months.

Here’s where we at TYAC believe things stand today, as European leagues begin play and MLS rounds the long, hot summer corner towards the playoff home stretch.

Players listed in order of votes received by TYAC staff.

  • Christian Pulisic, Borussia Dortmund
  • Michael Bradley, Toronto FC
  • Fabian Johnson, Borussia Monchengladbach
  • Geoff Cameron, Stoke City
  • Tim Howard, Colorado Rapids
  • John Brooks, VfL Wolfsburg
  • Jozy Altidore, Toronto FC
  • Clint Dempsey, Seattle Sounders
  • Bobby Wood, Hamburg FC
  • DeAndre Yedlin, Newcastle United
  • Darlington Nagbe, Portland Timbers
  • Jorge Villafana, Santos Laguna
  • Paul Arriola, Club Tijuana D.C. United 
  • Omar Gonzalez, CF Pachuca
  • Kellyn Acosta, FC Dallas
  • Brad Guzan, Atlanta United
  • Jordan Morris, Seattle Sounders
  • Matt Besler, Sporting Kansas City
  • Alejandro Bedoya, Philadelphia Union
  • Graham Zusi, Sporting Kansas City
  • Danny Williams, Huddersfield Town FC
  • Timothy Chandler, Eintracht Frankfurt
  • Bill Hamid, DC United

Last Three Out: Dom Dwyer, Sporting Kansas City; Kelyn Rowe, New England Revolution; Gyasi Zardes, LA Galaxy

Also Receiving Votes: Cameron Carter-Vickers, Tottenham Hotspur, Dax McCarty, Chicago Fire

Also Being Considered: Eric Lichaj, Nottingham Forest FC; Matt Miazga, Chelsea FC (on loan with Vitesse); Matt Hedges, FC Dallas; Juan Agudelo, New England Revolution; Kenny Saief, K.A.A. Gent; Weston McKennie, Schalke FC; DaMarcus Beasley, Houston Dynamo

The comments, as ever, are yours.

Daniel Seco

  • Matthew Breuer

    WOW I CAN’T BELIEVE… what an entirely reasonable conclusion this is that brings together a 23 that I have a hard time imagining anyone can take real fault with. At this stage an MLS player on the outside looking in would have to go on an absolute tear through the league or be on the right side of another player’s injury misfortune. McKennie is the one “longshot” that I imagine can really be there – if he ends the season as an impressive Bundesliga starter I imagine it’d be hard to keep him home.

  • Luke Sandblom

    Two names missing that will most certainly be in the mix – Tim ream and Sebastian lletget.

  • Owen Rosen

    This list is quite reasonable. However, a prospect will break through and Jermaine Jones will be in the mix if healthy. Dwyer and Rowe are highly unlikely.