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Crew trio makes return to U.S. National Team for March friendlies

Gregg Berhalter continues to utilize familiar faces from his time in Columbus.

Costa Rica v United States Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Gregg Berhalter announced his 24-player roster on Tuesday for his second international window at the helm in his new role. Having internationally based players at his disposal this time around, Berhalter called in 15 MLS-based players and nine from abroad.

Crew midfielder Wil Trapp, goalkeeper Zack Steffen and forward Gyasi Zardes all make their return to the national team after featuring in the two friendly victories over Panama and Costa Rica in January’s camp.

For the March friendlies the U.S. will be matched up against duo of CONMEBOL opponents. The team will take on Ecuador on March 21 at Orlando City Stadium and then travel to Houston to take on Chile on March 26 at BBVA Compass Stadium.

All three Crew players have made strong starts to their MLS campaigns with the team seeing positive results in their first two matches. The Caleb Porter era began with a draw against the New York Red Bull on opening day followed by a 2-0 victory against the New England Revolution away from home this past weekend.

Trapp had a shaky defensive performance in the opener versus the Red Bulls but seemed to find his groove this past weekend against New England. Trapp was all over the pitch and he was active in the passing game connecting with his teammates over 100 times. His defensive game was strong, as he dropped back into center back on occasion, helping the Black & Gold secure their first clean sheet of the season.

The midfielder has earned 13 caps for the National Team. His first cap for the Red, White and Blue came on Jan. 28, 2015 in a friendly at Chile, coming on as a second-half substitute. Trapp made his first start and captained the senior squad for the first time in a friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina on Jan. 28. Trapp most recently started for the U.S. in a friendly contest against Costa Rica Feb. 2.

Zack Steffen has been his typical self to start the season. The lone goal he conceded so far came off of a play that he couldn’t do much to prevent. At Gillette Stadium this past weekend, Steffen made another one of his trade mark penalty kick stops against Diego Fagundez. He’s also distributed the ball well out of the back, making a long pass to Hector Jimenez to set up the game-sealing goal by Zardes.

The goalkeeper as earned eight caps with the U.S. Men’s National Team. He made his debut with the senior squad as a substitute in a friendly match against Bosnia-Herzegovina on Jan. 28. Steffen’s most recent appearance for the U.S. came earlier this year in a friendly against Costa Rica Feb. 2, in which he registered a shutout.

Zardes had a brace over the weekend to give Columbus the 2-0 win over the Revolution. He has been active in making runs to try to set himself up to be on the receiving end of balls played from the wings all season long. His activity finally paid off this weekend as his teammates were able to find him off the wings.

The forward has earned 42 caps with the U.S. Men’s National Team, while scoring six goals. Zardes made his debut for the U.S. in a friendly against Chile on Jan. 28, 2015, and he scored his first goal for the Stars and Stripes on June 5, 2015 against the Netherlands. The forward last played for the U.S. on Feb. 2 as a starter against Costa Rica.

The trio will miss the Crew’s match against the Philadelphia Union on March 23 as training camp opens in Orlando on March 17 to begin training with the national team. Both matches against Ecuador and Chile will start at 8 p.m. ET and be shown on ESPN2, UniMas and UDN.

U.S. Men’s National Team Roster by position (Club; Caps/Goals):

GOALKEEPERS (3): Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge; BEL; 3/0), Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 6/0), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC; 8/0)

DEFENDERS (8): John Brooks (Wolfsburg; GER; 36/3), Omar Gonzalez (Atlas; MEX; 48/3), Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes; 2/0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 4/0), Daniel Lovitz (Montreal Impact; 2/0), Matt Miazga (Reading; ENG; 11/1), Tim Ream (Fulham; ENG; 26/1), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United; ENG; 57/0)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig; GER; 9/1), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/CAN; 143/17), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 7/2), Weston McKennie (Schalke; GER; 7/1), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund; GER; 23/9), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; 7/0), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; 13/0)

FORWARDS (6): Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 19/3), Corey Barid (Real Salt Lake; 2/0), Jonathan Lewis (New York City FC; 2/0), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders; 25/5), Christian Ramirez (LAFC; 2/1), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew SC; 42/6)