European Leagues are ending left and right but that doesn't mean that soccer will be stopping anytime soon with international play coming back into the mix. The United States will take part in both the Nations League and the Gold Cup this summer. Due to the competitions kicking off only days apart, there will be separate rosters for each but with the Gold Cup likely to be a more domestic roster, we're taking a look at how the Nations League roster could shake out as the USMNT can retain their title.
With injuries and pending transfers, some players who would be at the 2026 World Cup may not make this roster, but overall, it's still a solid group available to interim head coach Anthony Hudson as the team is also entering their last chance to impress the incoming head coach. Let's take a look at predicting the Nations League roster ahead of the semifinal vs. Mexico on June 15.
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USMNT roster locks
After a trying season, Tim Ream will miss the squad with a broken arm while Tyler Adams' inclusion has to be in doubt. The midfielder missed the final 12 games for Leeds prior to them being relegated from the Premier League and with the defensive frailty without Adams, it's safe to expect things to have gone differently if he was available. If Adams is fit, he has to be in this squad, but at the moment, he has to be left out of the locks due to the question marks surrounding his validity.
- Matt Turner (Goalkeeper)
- Sergino Dest (Defender)
- Weston McKennie (Midfielder)
- Christian Pulisic (Forward)
- Gio Reyna (Forward)
- Antonee Robinson (Defender)
- Walker Zimmerman (Defender)
- DeAndre Yedlin (Defender)
- Brenden Aaronson (Forward)
- Zack Steffen (Goalkeeper)
- Yunus Musah (Midfielder)
- Tim Weah (Forward)
- Folarin Balogun (Forward)
- Kellyn Acosta (Midfielder)
The list of locks is small considering the trying ends to the season most of this group has had. McKennie got relegated with Leeds United and will be searching for a new home during the summer, Pulisic also didn't play much for Chelsea while Aaronson was moved to the bench at Leeds United as well. Weah has played as a right back, Musah has struggled at Valencia, but there are bright spots as well.
Balogun will come right into the squad after committing to the USMNT and following a strong season at Reims, he's in for an exciting summer. Likely leading the line in these games, Balogun will get to endear himself to supporters quickly. Robinson may not be flashy but he has been reliable for Fulham, starting almost every match and while Gio Reyna needs more playing time, his super sub goals for Dortmund highlight his immense talent that can play quite a role for both the national team and his club.
On the bubble
- Luca De La Torre (Midfielder): De La Torre has featured more for Celta Vigo but they're also in danger of being relegated which could mean a second consecutive season with him looking for a new club. With the shortage of midfielders in the pool, it's safe to expect De La Torre to be in the squad but he needs to establish his place before other midfielders come for his spot.
- Miles Robinson (Defender): Back like he never left, Robinson will have a good chance at starting next to Zimmerman in these Nations League games. Strong in the air and in his decision-making, the comfort in playing with someone who he knows in these games is critical.
- Timmy Tillman (Midfielder): After committing to the United States, Tillman shows the strength of dual national recruitment. Excelling with LAFC, he can provide another option in a midfield that needs depth right now. Able to perform in multiple roles and also with an understanding of playing with Acosta, Tillman can play a large role with the team.
- Josh Sargent (Forward): Sargent has had a tough season with Norwich City but he has found stability with the club and the national team. Able to play off of a point striker, Sargent can offer great support. He has scored 13 goals this season showing that he can finish as well.
- Ethan Horvath (Keeper): Earning promotion to the Premier League for the second time, Horvath will hopefully get a permanent move to Luton Town but even if he doesn't, he has shown that he can lead a team to their goals, and if he's playing, there needs to be a serious conversation about if he can pass Turner as starter.
- Ricardo Pepi (Forward): Another player in for a move this summer, Pepi shined despite his club being relegated for the second season running. But by playing consistently and scoring, Pepi has been able to regain his confidence which will help with the national team. He won't be a starter out of the gate but as far as change-of-pace options go, Pepi is a good one off the bench.
- Joe Scally (Defender): While Scally didn't play much to end the season, that isn't an indictment on his full body of work in the Bundesliga. He has yet to find his place with the national team but being able to back up both sides is important at the moment. He may be the person in the pool who has the most to gain from a coaching change in the future.
- Paul Arriola (Forward): Missing the World Cup was tough for the FC Dallas winger but that doesn't mean that his time with the national team is close to over. An experienced veteran, you know what you're going to get from Arriola and that's useful in summer tournaments.
- Cameron Carter-Vickers (Defender): Center back is a thin area for the USMNT but Carter-Vickers earned his first World Cup start and did well. Making up for his lack of pace with excellent anticipation, Carter-Vickers has become an important part of the Celtic side, and after multiple loans from Tottenham, he has a home for the foreseeable future. With the most consistent situation of top USMNT center backs, he could end up as the top option for the national team.
- Johnny Cardoso (Midfielder): Cardoso is any other player who hasn't found his niche with the team yet but has been gaining call-ups as of late due to the lack of midfield depth. Able to pop up with goals from deep for Internacional, the 21-year-old is improving by the day and could play a major part down the line.
- Reggie Cannon (Defender): If they flip into a back three at times, that's where Cannon can come in and shine. At the moment, he's still a backup but Cannon has shown the ability in Portugal to defend top wingers. The move to Boavista has been a good one for him, so now Cannon will need to show that he can push on with the national team.
- Mark McKenzie (Defender): In the running for a Belgian league title with Genk, McKenzie can push for a starting role in defense. Confident on the ball and strong in the air, technically McKenzie has one of the best games of anyone in the center back pool. His biggest issue that he'd run into for the national team was nerves but playing in meaningful games week in and week out for Genk will help improve that.
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Nations League roster projection
Goalkeepers (3): Zack Steffen (Manchester City), Matt Turner (Arsenal), Ethan Horvath (Nottingham Forest).
Defenders (9): Sergino Dest (Barcelona), Antonee Robinson (Fulham), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United), Mark McKenzie (Genk), DeAndre Yedlin (Inter Miami), Joe Scally (Borussia Monchengladbach), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic), Reggie Cannon (Boavista).
Midfielders (6): Weston McKennie (Juventus), Johnny Cardoso (Internacional), Yunus Musah (Valencia), Kellyn Acosta (Los Angeles FC), Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo), Timmy Tillman (Los Angeles FC).
Forwards (7): Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Brenden Aaronson (Leeds United), Ricardo Pepi (FC Augsburg), Tim Weah (Lille), Folarin Balogun (Arsenal), Josh Sargent (Norwich City), Paul Arriola (FC Dallas).
On the outside looking in
This is a group of players to watch, mostly dependent on upside panning out or possible transfers down the road.
- Gabriel Slonina (Goalkeeper): Performing well at the U-20 World Cup, it's more important for Slonina to spend the summer with Chelsea than as the number three goalkeeper in the pool. When he could be on the move or can impress to make the first team, getting as many chances as possible to do that with Chelsea will be critical.
- James Sands (Defender): Is Sands a defender or a midfielder is the biggest question that needs to be answered. Becoming a bit of a tweener with the national team, Sands could be a top defensive midfielder to provide a natural backup to Adams but if he continues to be a Swiss army knife, his growth could be capped. He is getting more playing time at New York City FC which will only help answer these questions.
- Sam Vines (Defender): Vines is someone consistently on the cusp of the national team but he could be a guy for the Gold Cup instead of the Nations League. A defender who has talent, Vines has yet to translate that at the highest levels so a toned-down competition could be good for him.
- Haji Wright (Forward): The only striker to score a goal for the USMNT during the World Cup, Wright seemed overmatched during most of his minutes for the team but the striker race is still open and he'll be in the mix. Wright is hurt by Balogun joining the national team but that doesn't mean that he won't make the Gold Cup.
- Cristian Roldan (Midfielder): Similarly to Acosta, Roldan could be the locker room guy on the roster. The players respect him and he's someone who will be around the national team as long as he's playing.
- Erik Palmer-Brown (Defender): With Carter-Vickers captaining Celtic, Palmer-Brown is another name who has fallen down the pecking order at the national team level. He starts consistently for Troyes which will keep him in the mix, but following relegation from Ligue 1, his future is up in the air.
- Brandon Vazquez (Forward): Also eligible for Mexico. Vazquez deserves a shot but with so many forwards to take a look at, he may need to go through the Gold Cup and be competitive, serving as a proving ground that led Shaq Moore to this past World Cup roster.
- Jesus Ferreira (Forward): Another player who was hurt by the 2022 Wold Cup, Ferreira dropped from the likely starter at the nine to only playing 45 minutes in four matches, appearing once. While surprising, this was a chance for Ferreira to take over the position and that didn't happen. Now he's back to fighting for a spot on the roster.