Now for the bullet points:
• While everybody was freaking out about spots 21-26 on the roster, the real reveal is that 90% of our most important players are fit and playing real minutes. The USMNT never, through the course of qualifying, had all of Christian Pulisic, Gio Reyna, Timothy Weah, Brenden Aaronson, Yunus Musah, Tyler Adams, Antonee Robinson, Sergiño Dest, Walker Zimmerman and Matt Turner healthy at the same time. Not once!
Add in the expected recovery of Weston McKennie and Luca de la Torre (head coach Gregg Berhalter implied last night during the broadcast that both guys would be good to go by the 21st), as well as the form of Tim Ream and the fact that Berhalter called in three young(ish), in-form strikers… this is literally the best it’s ever been in this cycle.
We paid a blood price to get to this point. Lost in all the Sturm und Drang of qualifying, as well as the justifiably focus on how young the US team was, was the fact that this group was insanely injury-prone. Berhalter had to juggle everything all the time, and while he didn’t always do the best job of it, and the players themselves often came up short, they made it to this point and the soccer gods have repaid them with some good karma re: injuries and form.
Obviously, it’s not perfect, as it sure would be nice if Miles Robinson and Chris Richards were here. But it’s as close to perfect as this US roster has been this cycle.
If you’re more hung up on who was picked at spots 21-26 than the fact that the guys in spots 1-20 are 90% healthy, you’re focused on the wrong thing.