Vancouver Whitecaps and Toronto FC escape losing key players to USMNT squad
Fans of Canada’s three Major League Soccer franchises can breathe a sigh of relief.
U.S. Soccer announced on Wednesday a 24-man roster for the United States men’s national team CONCACAF Nations League fixtures later this March with only one MLS-based player named to the squad: Atlanta United centre-back Miles Robinson.
No American internationals plying their trade up north in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal were called up by interim head coach Anthony Hudson.
The three Canadian sides will be happy to keep their USMNT players after a tough go of things in the opening weeks of the 2023 MLS season. Winless through three matches, the Whitecaps, Toronto FC, and CF Montréal will be happy knowing some key figures will be sticking around for the March 20-28 international window, with one round of MLS fixtures falling right in the middle on March 25-26.
Versatile Whitecaps midfielder Julian Gressel was not called upon for the two clashes against Grenada and El Salvador. The German-born player made his first two appearances for the States earlier in the year after becoming a U.S. citizen in November 2022. Whitecaps manager Vanni Sartini will be pleased to have one of his most important players available when his team travels to face Minnesota United on Saturday, March 25.
Meanwhile, after making the trip to Qatar as the backup keeper to Matt Turner, Toronto FC netminder Sean Johnson was also omitted from the 24-man squad. Ethan Horvath and Zack Steffen will instead round out an all-England-based crop of keepers.
CF Montréal’s Aaron Herrera is also left on the outside looking in by Hudson. The defender, who has one senior cap to his name back in 2021, has started in all three of Montreal’s losses to start the season.
10 players in the squad play their club soccer in England, with six of those playing in the top flight. That number would have been higher but USMNT captain Tyler Adams, one of three Americans on Leeds United, has missed out on international action due to a hamstring injury.
Canada’s men’s national team currently has no representation in the English Premier League but that could change come the summer, with striker Cyle Larin reportedly attracting interest from the league after finding his shooting boots in La Liga with Real Valladolid.
Jonathan David, who is teammates with American international Timothy Weah could also make a dream move to the EPL for the 2023-24 season as he continues to blast in the goals with Lille in Ligue 1.
Gio Reyna is another notable name on the list of forwards. Reyna and his family members have been in the headlines following a U.S. Soccer investigation centred around Claudio and Danielle Reyna, and former USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter. Hudson reaffirmed his faith in the 20-year-old midfielder to the media, as per Tom Bogert.
The United States are currently second in League A, Group D after two matches played. The current Nations League champions will look to take top spot and earn a place in the competition’s semi-finals. The top two teams from each group also qualify for the 2023 Gold Cup. Group leaders El Salvador, who managed a draw against the U.S. in June 2022, have already qualified for the tournament.