With 32 players on the US national team’s January camp roster, it’s hard to argue that anyone that didn’t make the cut was truly “snubbed.” That’s a big group, significantly larger than the 25 or so names that typically get invited to the annual camp in Southern California.
While the roster runs a little heavy, there are still a few players who didn’t get called that I would have liked to see in camp. These five guys may not have been totally snubbed, but USMNT manager Bruce Arena could easily have justified taking an extended look at them this month:
Cristian Roldan – Seattle Sounders
The youngest player on this list at age 21, Roldan is the player who didn’t get called that I would’ve most liked to have seen in Carson. The Sounders midfielder is coming off of a very solid 2016 season in which he started 28 games and emerged as a key figure down the stretch for the MLS Cup champions.
Set to enter his third year as a pro, Roldan – who is also eligible to suit up for El Salvador and Guatemala – drew praise from Arena on Thursday and is a potential candidate to make the squad for this summer’s Gold Cup.
Lee Nguyen – New England Revolution
That’s a real shame for the 30-year-old, who could’ve offered some competition for Benny Feilhaber, Sacha Kljestan and Darlington Nagbe at the No. 10 spot, a position Arena has repeatedly identified as an area in need of improvement.
Ethan Finlay – Columbus Crew SC
A participant in last year’s January camp, Finlay didn’t have the greatest year for Crew SC, but did come on strong down the stretch. The 26-year-old winger scored five goals and added three assists in his final 13 regular-season games for Columbus and could develop into a useful piece on the international level. If he has a strong 2017, he could easily get himself back in the USMNT mix.
Tommy McNamara – New York City FC
A legitimate MLS cult hero, Tommy Mac faded a bit down the stretch, but still had a solid 2016, racking up five goals and nine assists – tied for fourth among Americans in MLS – in 30 appearances for NYCFC. He doesn’t have any experience at the international level, but his creativity and willingness to run at defenders make him a bit different than most players in the US pool.
Dom Dwyer – Sporting Kansas City
No, Dwyer isn’t yet eligible to represent the US, but neither are Stefan Frei or Kekuta Manneh, and that didn’t stop Arena from calling them into camp. The Sporting KC striker is reportedly eligible to apply for citizenship this year. And considering his excellent scoring record and repeated statements indicating his desire to suit up for the USMNT, would be an intriguing option once he does obtain his passport. It’s not clear whether or not he’d be eligible for a US camp at the moment (Frei and Manneh are US citizens, but haven’t yet been cleared by FIFA to play for the US). But getting him into the squad would’ve been interesting.