IMAGE: Yedlin USA

Preview | USA v. Portugal

With the potential of several young promising players to gain experience, the U.S. Men’s National Team begins anew with a friendly against reigning European champion Portugal on Tuesday, Nov. 14 in Leiria. Coverage of Portugal-USA, kicks off from Estádio Dr. Magalhães Pessoa at 3:30 p.m. ET on FS1, UniMás and UDN). 

“The one word that I would use in reference to all of this is opportunity,” acting U.S. MNT head coach Dave Sarachan said. “It’s an opportunity for many players who haven’t been in the picture that we feel have a bright future with the National Team to get to measure themselves in a game against a quality opponent. It’s an opportunity for our National Team to finish out 2017 in a positive way. It’s also just an opportunity to move on. As much as we’re still gutted from how things turned out with qualifying, we have to look ahead and finish out the year the right way.”


U.S. MNT Roster by Position (Club; Caps/Goals):
GOALKEEPERS (3): Jesse Gonzalez (FC Dallas; 0/0), Bill Hamid (Midtjylland/DEN; 3/0), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge/BEL; 1/0)
DEFENDERS (7): John Brooks (Wolfsburg/GER; 32/3), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Sheffield United/ENG; 0/0), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest/ENG; 13/1), Matt Miazga (Vitesse/NED; 3/1), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 26/1), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna/MEX; 14/0), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United/ENG; 48/0)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; 16/1), Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls; 0/0), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union; 65/2), Lynden Gooch (Sunderland/ENG; 2/0), Weston McKennie (Schalke/GER; 0/0), Kelyn Rowe (New England Revolution; 3/1), Danny Williams (Huddersfield Town/ENG; 22/2)
FORWARDS (4): Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution; 26/3), Dom Dwyer (Orlando City SC; 3/2), C.J. Sapong (Philadelphia Union; 2/0), Josh Sargent (St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri; 0/0)

STORYLINES

YOUTH SERVED
As the performances of the past year have shown, there are a number of promising prospects in the U.S. program, and several of them will gain seasoning with the senior team in this camp. Twelve players on the U.S. roster are 24 years old or younger, and eight players have taken part in the USA’s previous two U-20 World Cup cycles: Kellyn Acosta, Tyler Adams, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Lynden Gooch, Ethan Horvath, Matt Miazga, Weston McKennie and Josh Sargent.

Adams, McKennie and Sargent in particular are in the midst of their first MNT camp and each talked about the experience of rising to the senior team and potential of earning their first cap on Tuesday vs. Portugal.   

SEASONING SPRINKLED IN
Not all the youth is coupled with inexperience. Veterans of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Alejandro Bedoya (65 caps), DeAndre Yedlin (48) and John Brooks (32) bring plenty of international seasoning to the group. Adding to the experienced side of the roster are defenders Tim Ream and Jorge Villafaña. Having earned his first cap back in 2010, Ream (22 caps) has spent the last six years in England where he currently plays for Fulham, while Villafaña (14 caps) earned his international debut at the start of 2017 and could finish as the MNT’s leader cap winner on the year, should he appear vs. Portugal.

ON THE INJURED LIST
A few of the USA’s best and brightest were unavailable for selection due to injury. Paul Arriola had a minor procedure immediately following the season for D.C. United. Jordan Morris continues to recover from a hamstring injury, while Bobby Wood has been dealing with a lingering knee issue and is using the international break to receive treatment. In addition, players involved in their league playoffs were allowed to remain with their clubs.

SOLIDARITY FOR WILDFIRE RELIEF
This year, Northern and Central Portugal have been ravaged by the worst wildfires in the country’s history, as blazes in June and October claimed more than 100 lives. Originally scheduled to be played in Faro, last month the Portuguese Football Federation moved Tuesday’s match to Leiria, near the affected area in order to serve as a “solidarity match.” All proceeds from the fixture will go to benefit wildfire victims and a telethon and value-added telephone line for donations will also raise funds for those affected. Stateside, California is also recovering from devastating wildfires and Portugal’s efforts hit close to home for MNT players Lynden Gooch and Jorge Villafaña, both from California. Additionally, the entire MNT coaching staff resides in the Golden State. 

USA-PORTUGAL NOTES

  • The U.S. will face Portugal for the seventh time, the teams have split the lifetime series 2-2-2 dating back to 1978.
  • It’s the USA’s first visit to Portugal since 1990.
  • The nations have met twice in the World Cup. Acting MNT head coach Dave Sarachan was an assistant for the U.S. side that memorably defeated Portugal 3-2 in the opening match of the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
  • Both Alejandro Bedoya and DeAndre Yedlin featured in the USA’s 2-2 draw with Portugal at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

USA ROSTER NOTES:

  • A total of 12 players on the roster feature for clubs abroad: England (6), Germany (2), Belgium, Denmark, Mexico and the Netherlands (one each).
  • Eight players represent five different M.L.S. clubs: FC Dallas, New England Revolution and Philadelphia Union (2 each); New York Red Bulls and Orlando City SC.
  • Twelve players are age 24 or younger: (24) Juan Agudelo, John Brooks, DeAndre Yedlin; (22) Kellyn Acosta, Jesse Gonzalez, Ethan Horvath, Matt Miazga; (21) Lynden Gooch; (19) Cameron Carter-Vickers, Weston McKennie; (18) Tyler Adams; (17) Josh Sargent.
  • Ten players were part of the USA’s 2017 Gold Cup championship squad: Acosta, Juan Agudelo, Alejandro Bedoya, Dom Dwyer, Gonzalez, Bill Hamid, Eric Lichaj, Miazga, Kelyn Rowe and Jorge Villafaña.
  • With 65 appearances, midfielder Alejandro Bedoya is the most capped player on the roster, followed by Yedlin (48 caps) and Brooks (32).
  • Eight players have taken part in the USA’s previous two U-20 World Cup cycles: Acosta, Adams, Carter-Vickers, Gooch, Horvath, Miazga, McKennie and Sargent.
  • Five players arrive in Portugal looking for their first MNT caps: Adams, Carter-Vickers, Gonzalez, McKennie and Sargent.
  • Adams, McKennie and Sargent have been called to MNT camp for the first time.
  • Having made his Bundesliga debut for Schalke at the end of last season, McKennie has appeared in seven of the club’s 11 league matches this season. The 19-year-old played 90 minutes in the club’s 1-0 win at Freiburg on Saturday and arrives in Portugal with Schalke sitting fourth in the Bundesliga.
  • A member of the U.S. side that drove to the Quarterfinals of the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup, the 18-year-old Adams comes off a strong season with the New York Red Bulls. Showing his versatility, Adams played in both central midfield and right back, appearing in 32 matches across all competitions while helping the club to a postseason berth and the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final.
  • 2017 has been a year for the ages for Sargent. The O’Fallon, Mo., native captained the U.S. to qualification for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup before being named to the USA squad at the FIFA U-20 World Cup. His four-goal, one-assist performance in Korea Republic saw him win the tournament’s Silver Boot while leading the U.S. to a Quarterfinal finish. Sargent then returned to captain the USA at the U-17 World Cup where the team also advanced to the Quarterfinals.
  • Sargent becomes the first U.S. player to appear in a U-17, U-20 and MNT camp during the same calendar year.
  • With 65 appearances, midfielder Alejandro Bedoya is the most capped player on the roster, followed by Yedlin (48 caps) and Brooks (32).
  • Following his recovery from a thigh injury suffered in his debut with Wolfsburg in August, Brooks has gone the full 90 minutes in each of the club’s last two matches.
  • During the MNT’s 2014 FIFA World Cup meeting with Portugal, Bedoya started the match before Yedlin replaced him in the 72nd minute.
  • Now with English Premier League side Huddersfield Town, midfielder Danny Williams looks to make his first MNT appearance since a 1-1 draw with New Zealand on Oct. 11, 2016.
  • Fresh off leading all U.S. eligible M.L.S. players with 16 goals this season, forward C.J. Sapong seeks his first MNT cap since Jan. 25, 2012, at Panama. 

Portugal Roster by Position (Club; Caps/Goals):
GOALKEEPERS (3): Anthony Lopes (Lyon/FRA; 5/0), Beto (Goztepe/TUR; 11/0), José Sá (FC Porto; 0/0)
DEFENDERS (9): Vitorino Antunes (Getafe/ESP; 12/0), Edgar Ié (Lille/FRA; 1/0), Kevin Rodrigues (Real Sociedad/ESP; 1/0), João Cancelo (Inter/ITA; 6/3), Luís Neto (Fenerbahçe/TUR; 16/0), Nélson Semedo (Barcelona/ESP; 7/0), Pepe (Besiktas/TUR; 91/5), Ricardo Ferreira (Braga; 0/0)  Ricardo Pereira (FC Porto; 3/0)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Bernardo Silva (Manchester City/ENG; 20/2), Bruno Fernandes (Sporting; 1/0), Danilo Pereira (FC Porto; 26/1), João Mário (Inter/ITA; 30/1), Manuel Fernandes (Lokomotiv Moscow/RUS; 10/3), Rúben Neves (Wolverhampton/ENG; 3/0)
FORWARDS (6): André Silva (Milan/ITA; 18/11), Bruma (RB Leipzig/GER; 1/0), Gelson Martins (Sporting; 14/0), Gonçalo Guedes (Valencia/ESP; 4/1), Rony Lopes (Monaco/FRA; 0/0), Gonçalo Guedes (Valencia/ESP; 4/1)

PORTUGAL NOTES

  • Portugal advanced to the 2018 FIFA World Cup by finishing atop Group B in UEFA World Cup Qualifying.
  • Andres Silva scored nine goals during the campaign, part of 32 total recorded by Portugal in 10 matches, the fourth-highest total in Europe.
  • Portugal is led by head coach Fernando Santos. He’s held the position since 2014 after managing all three of Portugal’s most successful clubs -- Benfica, Sporting Lisbon and FC Porto -- and four years at the helm of the Greek National Team.
  • The USA match-up is Portugal’s second fixture in the November international window, as A Selecção defeated Saudi Arabia 3-0 on Friday, Nov. 10.
  • Manuel Fernandes, Gonçalo Guedes and João Mário scored for the Portuguese against Saudi Arabia. It marked Guedes and Mário’s first international goals.
  • In the match against Saudi Arabia, three Portuguese players earned their first cap: defender Kevin Rodrigues, midfielder Bruno Fernandes and forward Bruma
  • All 24 players called to Portugal’s squad play for European clubs. Full club/country distribution: Portugal (6), Spain (5), France (3), Italy (3), Turkey (3), England (2), Germany (1), Russia (1)
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