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Gregg Berhalter names his first USMNT game roster

What players caught the new manager’s eye for his first two games?

MLS: Eastern Conference Semifinal-Columbus Crew SC at New York Red Bulls Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a little over a month since Gregg Berhalter departed Columbus Crew SC to take over the head coaching duties for the United States Men’s National Team and many wondered what direction the new manager would take the team. Given that January camps yield a roster heavy on talent from Major League Soccer, we can’t gain a full barometer on Berhalter’s thought process.

On Tuesday, we learned of the manager’s plans as the United States prepare for its first two friendlies of 2019. The Stars and Stripes begin the Berhalter era with games against Panama (Jan. 27) and Costa Rica (Feb. 2) and announced the game roster.

Current Crew goalkeeper Zack Steffen will return to the national team ranks as the presumed starting goalkeeper. He will split time with New York City FC goalkeeper Sean Johnson. Steffen made his debut with the national team during last year’s January camp and earned an impressive 1-0 shutout against Mexico in 2018. The 23 year old looks to gain more international experience this year before heading over to English football giant Manchester City during the summer transfer window.

Fans can expect Wil Trapp to suit up for the Stars & Stripes during the January friendlies as well. The Crew captain appeared nine times for the United States in 2018 and played just over 700 minutes. He was a regular starter and wore the captain’s armband for caretaker manager Dave Sarachan, and it will be intriguing to see if he does the same for his former boss.

Forward Gyasi Zardes returns to the USMNT after just making three international appearances last season. Given his success in Berhalter’s system in Columbus, it isn’t unrealistic to think that Zardes could be poised for a big year for both club and country.

Here is a look at the roster for Berhalter’s debut matches as United States manager:

GOALKEEPERS (2): Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 5/0), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC; 6/0)

DEFENDERS (8): Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas; 2/0), Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes; 0/0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 2/0), Daniel Lovitz (Montreal Impact/CAN; 0/0), Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union; 0/0), Keegan Rosenberry (Colorado Rapids; 0/0), Auston Trusty (Philadelphia Union; 0/0), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC; 4/1)

MIDFIELDERS (10): Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 17/2), Corey Baird (Real Salt Lake; 0/0), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/CAN; 142/17), Russell Canouse (D.C. United; 0/0), Marky Delgado (Toronto FC/CAN; 6/0), Jonathan Lewis (New York City FC; 0/0), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 5/1), Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago Fire; 0/0), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; 5/0), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; 11/0)

FORWARDS (3): Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland Timbers, 0/0), Christian Ramirez (LAFC; 0/0), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew SC; 40/6)