United States men’s national team head coach Gregg Berhalter named Thursday 20 MLS-based players to a pre-camp training squad for a pair of Concacaf Nations League games against Canada and Cuba.
While the 20 players will report to a camp in Bradenton, Fla. next week, Berhalter will also name additional, European-based players for the team’s final roster for the two games on Nov. 6.
But the group of MLS players includes four who are hoping for their first caps: New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner, Minnesota United left back Gase Gasper, and Philadelphia Union defender Mark McKenzie and midfielder Brenden Aaronson.
Here’s a look at the newbies before the U.S. hosts Canada at Exploria Stadium in Orlando on Nov. 15 and then heads to George Town, Cayman Islands to face Cuba on Nov. 19.
- Aaronson is coming off a prolific rookie season where he made 28 appearances for the Philadelphia Union this year, including 25 starts.
- While this is only Aaronson’s second call to a senior men’s national team camp, he is no stranger to the United States national team program. He has represented his country at the U-15, U-17, U-19, and U-23 levels.
- Aaronson is the youngest player to sign a homegrown contract with the Philadelphia Union. He joined the Union when he was 18 and became the club’s sixth-ever homegrown signing.
- Turner just finished his fourth season in MLS with the New England Revolution, though this was his second consecutive season being used as a starting goalkeeper. He made 20 appearances in 2019 and finished the campaign with five clean sheets and 87 saves, the 12th-most in the league.
- Turner was on the short list of potential candidates for the 2019 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Award. He also said one of his goals next year was to earn his first call into a U.S. national team camp. He can now cross that goal off earlier than expected.
- Former Revolution coach and former USMNT goalkeeper Brad Friedel opted to give Turner the starting role after a strong 2018 preseason. Turner managed to raise his game in MLS after two years on the bench and four standout years at Fairfield University, where he had a 0.85 goals against average and 21 clean sheets in 39 games.
- Gasper is coming off his rookie season with Minnesota United, but had a taste of professional soccer while he was still in college at UCLA when he represented Irvine, California club PSA Elite in the 2015 U.S. Open Cup.
- Gasper has previously represented the U.S. at the U-18 and U-21 levels.
- In 2019, Gasper made 20 appearances across all competitions for Minnesota, all at left back.
- McKenzie signed a homegrown contract with the Philadelphia Union in January 2018 and quickly became a regular face on the team’s back line in his rookie season. He made 23 appearances across all competitions last season in MLS.
- However, McKenzie’s playing time dipped this year as he joined Bethlehem Steel FC in the USL Championship for six games. He finished 2019 with 10 appearances across all competitions for the Union.
- McKenzie earned a call into the USMNT 2019 January camp, but has not yet appeared competitively with the senior team. However, he has competed for the U.S. U-18 and U-20 teams.
Here is the full 20-man player pre-camp USMNT roster:
Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC), Sean Johnson (New York City FC), Matt Turner (New England Revolution)
Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas), Chase Gasper (Minnesota United FC), Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Daniel Lovitz (Montreal Impact/CAN), Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC)
Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia Union), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago Fire), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes)
Paul Arriola (D.C. United), Corey Baird (Real Salt Lake), Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland Timbers), Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew SC)