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USMNT roster: Final squad for 2021 Concacaf Nations League stirs forward debate

U.S. men’s national team head coach Gregg Berhalter named his final 23-man roster (see below) for the Concacaf Nations League semifinals and finals in June. The selections were largely predictable, but there was one decision that led to some discussion among fans. 

The absence of up-and-coming forward sensation Daryl Dike raised some eyebrows. His nine goals during his loan stint at Barnsley helped them qualify for a Premier League promotion playoff. Although he did not score in his last five matches for the second-division club, many figured he’d still be a lock to be included on the U.S. roster. But Berhalter said he ultimately opted for two center forwards he considers in better form: Josh Sargent has been a regular starter for relegated Werder Bremen in Germany and Jordan Siebatcheu scored 12 goals for Swiss title winners Young Boys.

“It was tough. It really was,” Berhalter told media on a conference call. “It’s unfortunate that you have to name 23 guys … When it came down to those particular two games [Nations League], we based it on current form.

“But Daryl has a long future with us. And this is just a temporary setback for this tournament.”

USMNT roster: Concacaf Nations League

GOALKEEPERS (3): Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge), David Ochoa (Real Salt Lake), Zack Steffen (Manchester City)

DEFENDERS (8): John Brooks (Wolfsburg), Reggie Cannon (Boavista), Sergino Dest (Barcelona), Mark McKenzie (Genk), Matt Miazga (Anderlecht), Tim Ream (Fulham), Antonee Robinson (Fulham), DeAndre Yedlin (Galatasaray)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Weston McKennie (Juventus), Yunus Musah (Valencia), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes)

FORWARDS (6): Brenden Aaronson (Red Bull Salzburg), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen), Jordan Siebatcheu (Young Boys), Tim Weah (Lille)

What’s next for Dike?

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Berhalter confirmed that the 20-year-old Dike will still remain in U.S. camp and he will play in the international friendly against Costa Rica on June 9 which follows the two Nations League matches on June 3 and June 6. It’ll mark his third appearance for the U.S. senior national team after debuting in January. 

However, should a player on the 23-man U.S. roster fall to injury, Dike could be an option to replace him up to 24 hours before the first Nations League match on June 3,

Following the international action with the USA, Dike is expected to rejoin his MLS club Orlando City, where he burst onto the scene with 8 goals in 17 games as a rookie in 2020.

On the heels of his loan performance at Barnsley, it’s expected that Dike could potentially command a hefty summer transfer fee from a foreign club — the MLS Commissioner recently pegged the number at $20 million — and a potential USMNT call-up for the Concacaf Gold Cup in July could help his cause. 


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