US Under-20 men’s national team head coach Tab Ramos had quite the selection challenge when picking this year’s World Cup squad heading to Poland.
Given the depth of talent from players born in 1999, 2000 and 2001 coming through the ranks at clubs around the world, it was always going to be difficult for Ramos to hone in on just 21 players.
Below is a look at five of the biggest snubs from Friday’s roster announcement.
RB Julian Araujo, LA Galaxy
After joining the Galaxy at the start of 2019, Araujo’s shown flashes of tremendous promise. Part of the 2018 Concacaf Championship side, his versatility – he’s capable of playing right back or centrally – is a huge asset when considering his chances for this roster. That, combined with his early showings this season against the likes of Minnesota and Houston, makes his omission the biggest snub in the group.
M Frankie Amaya, FC Cincinnati
Frankie Amaya | USA Today Sports Images
Another Concacaf Championship vet from 2018 that came up short of the World Cup roster. Richie Ledezma’s recovery and inclusion in the roster and Edwin Cerrillo’s rise look like two main factors that left Amaya out. Having recently made his first start for FC Cincinnati, he’s looked tidy both there and on loan with Orange County SC. Moving forward, perhaps he can make the most of the disappointment of not heading to Poland by channeling that into success with the expansion side.
D/M James Sands, NYCFC
Given the potential depth concerns in central defense, seeing Sands emerge as a center back in MLS (albeit as part of a three-man backline in his last four starts) could’ve piqued Ramos’ interest as he searched for options in that spot. However, picking up an untimely adductor injury might be a big reason for his omission. Sands remains in a good spot, as he’ll look to win back his starting spot once healthy and back with NYCFC.
M Brenden Aaronson, Philadelphia Union
Outside of Araujo, Aaronson’s sizzling start to the 2019 season makes him arguably the second most surprising omission. Unfortunately, there are plenty of other quality options ahead of him, and considering the fact he also recently picked up an injury in on Wednesday, it always made him something of a long shot when it came time to naming the roster.
F Jonathan Amon, FC Nordsjælland
Celtic FC forward Tim Weah’s inclusion in the squad is a big reason that Amon’s been left home for this one. After missing big chunks of the current season in Denmark, Amon’s started to see more of the field at the tail end of the Danish Superliga playoffs, which injected new hope to his chances. However, with a number of versatile attackers in the squad that could also play out wide or in central midfield (Paxton Pomykal, Richie Ledezma) along with the likes of Uly Llanez and Konrad de la Fuente, Amon just misses out.