The United States will not be going to Russia this summer, which means for a lot of players and the federation, the road to Qatar begins tonight at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
Fifteen players on the current USMNT roster are uncapped and only four players (Zardes, Arriola, Agudelo, Morris) have double digit appearances for the national team. New England Revolution midfielder Kelyn Rowe is the third most experienced midfielder on the squad after making three appearances last summer. Cody Cropper is one of three uncapped keepers with former DC United veteran the only capped player with four games in a USMNT jersey.
Like the USA, Bosnia is also bringing a heavily inexperienced side with Philadelphia Union midfielder Haris Medunjanin the only veteran. Medunjanin’s 56 caps and 9 goals lead the rest of the squad combined (13 games, 0 goals) although there is another familiar name on the Bosnia roster. That would be 19-year old Elvir Ibisevic, cousin of Bosnian-American Vedad Ibisevic, who will possibly make his senior international debut. Elvir has experience with the USYNT U17 team and played his club soccer in Iowa before going to ply his trade with the University of Ohama college team.
Bosnia missed out on the 2018 World Cup as well, finishing third in UEFA’s Group H, two points behind second place Greece.
As far as the three Revs players, Agudelo will likely be in the mix throughout the upcoming cylce as a striker/winger, especially if he continues getting regular minutes up top for New England this year as part of a one or two striker setup. Agudelo has featured in a majority of games for the Revs, but injuries causing frequent appearances off the bench haven’t always helped his consistency with the USMNT.
Kelyn Rowe is an intriguing for the US midfield, because his versatility allows him to nearly anywhere on the field. His playmaking ability in the middle as well as his utility to play out wide and even as a fullback should make him at a minimum a valuable bench option for the 2022 cycle.
Cody Cropper was at one point possibly the heir apparent to the #1 goalkeeping spot for the USA as the US Olympic keeper. However, lack of minutes in England and Zach Steffan’s rise have curbed those expectations though I’m still bullish on Cropper’s international potential. Bill Hamid deserves his shot at the starting role and Steffan likely his backup, leaving a possibly third spot usually occupied by a more older or veteran keeper. Even if Cropper doesn’t get minutes today, he’s put himself back in the conversation at keeper and can hopefully build on this experience and use it with the Revs in 2018.
How to Watch
Kickoff Time: 9:30 p.m. ET, 6:30 p.m. PT
Venue: StubHub Center; Carson, CA
Available TV: FOX Sports 1, UniMas, Univision Deportes