Newly minted United States Men’s National Team manager, Greg Berhalter, announced the first squad his tenure and of the 2019 campaign.
The squad is made up of 27 players and as expected, entirely from MLS since the camp falls outside of the FIFA calendar. Included in the squad is New York Red Bulls center back Aaron Long. Toronto midfielder Michael Bradley and NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson are the only players over 27 years of age in the squad.
🇺🇸 vs. 🇵🇦 Jan. 27 in Arizona
🇺🇸 vs. 🇨🇷 Feb. 2 in San Jose pic.twitter.com/RLIaQ7V0e6
— U.S. Soccer MNT (@ussoccer_mnt) December 20, 2018
Long joined the Red Bulls in 2016 after short stints with the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders, taking to the Red Bull II USL side. The fit couldn’t have been any better. He made 26 appearances in all competitions, earning USL Defender of the Year and winning USL Cup.
After the season, Long was promoted to the Red Bulls MLS squad, garnering 65 appearances over the last two seasons and earning an All-Star selection and leading the defense with a league-low 33 goals against on their way to the team’s third Supporter’s Shield in six seasons.
His personal and team accolades earned Long eyes from the national team and his first call up in September. He hasn’t missed a call by Dave Sarachan since, and earned two caps in a 1-1 draw against Peru and a 1-0 loss against Italy, playing 90 minutes in each.
Surprising for Red Bull fans, they will need to wait a bit longer to see players like Sean Davis, Alex Muyl and even Tim Parker to don the red, white and blue.
January camps in the past have had upwards of 40 players called as this is usually a time for national team managers to get a feel for players they have not seen before. Greg Berhalter either has his player pool narrowed down already or his future plans are to use more internationally-based US nationals leading into Gold Cup this summer and CONCACAF Nations League starting in September.
The US will gather in Chula Vista, CA (150 miles south of Long’s home town) for camp before taking on Panama on January 29th in Phoenix, then finishing up with Costa Rica on February 2nd in San Jose. The Red Bulls turn around less than three weeks later with a trip to the Dominican Republic for the first leg of CONCACAF Champions League.