In his first USMNT training camp Bruce Arena has called up a squad completely made up of players from MLS. Due to the fact that the camp falls in between the international window when Europe and Mexico could release their players Arena’s hand may have been forced.
Last year Jurgen Klinsmann had a similar camp where he only called up one player playing outside the United States, so it’s not unusual. Although it does reflect arguments that came up during Klinsmann’s time as USMNT team coach. Klinsmann as coach produced controversial comments regarding where the national team’s players should play for their club teams.
— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) January 5, 2017
Klinsmann was criticized for arguing that U.S. players should seek to play outside of the U.S. and that it would be difficult for players in MLS to maintain the proper form needed to make the U.S. national team. Having your national coach criticize the national league made for juicy headlines at the time.
Now with Arena coming in from being the premier coach in MLS, a team made up of all MLS players flies in the face of Klinsmann’s previous comments.
Of the call ups four players DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Bradley, Chad Marshall and Nick Rimando were around the last time Arena coached the U.S. back in 2006. Arena gave a call up to Sebastian Lletget his former midfielder on the LA Galaxy, Lletget is one of five players receiving their first cap with the team.
The camp is a tune up for a set of friendly international games being played at the end of January and beginning of February. The USMNT, is set to face Serbia Jan. 29 in San Diego, CA and Jamaica on Feb. 3 in Chattanooga, TN.
Called up forward Jozy Altidore coming off an MLS Cup appearance with Toronto F.C. can get his 100th national team cap if he plays in one game. While veteran DeMarcus Beasley could get his 134th cap and strengthening his chances to make a record fifth World Cup in 2018.
Arena’s call ups not withstanding it will be interesting to see what the first few games look like going in the year as the team tries to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.