The United States men's national team finishes out its 2021 schedule with an eye on the first few games of 2022.
USMNT manager Gregg Berhalter called in a mix of first-team regulars and young players from Major League Soccer for the Saturday friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Americans are relying on a heavy MLS roster because Saturday's game does not fall during a traditional FIFA international window.
Goalkeeper Matt Turner, defenders Walker Zimmerman and Aaron Long, midfielders Kellyn Acosta and Cristian Roldan and forwards Gyasi Zardes, Ricardo Pepi and Jordan Morris are among the first-team regulars in the camp.
Berhalter will hand out some international debuts as well. Atlanta United's Brooks Lennon was confirmed as one of those players on Friday. The 24-year-old will start at right back around some familiar faces in defense.
The young USMNT roster can secure a record for victories in a calendar year by the program if it beats Bosnia and Herzegovina inside Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
USMNT vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Info
Date: Saturday, December 18
Start Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, UniMas and TUDN
Live Stream: FoxSports.com and Fox Sports app
Odds: All available odds can be found on DraftKings Sportsbook.
The Americans are expected to go with a mix of veterans and international rookies on Saturday night.
Berhalter already confirmed that Brooks Lennon would start at right back during his pre-match press conference on Friday:
Ives Galarcep @SoccerByIves
Gregg Berhalter confirms that Brooks Lennon will start at right back for the #USMNT vs. Bosnia & Herzegovina. Berhalter pointed to Lennon as someone who has impressed in camp. Berhalter also revealed the USMNT will start January camp on January 6 ahead of January qualifiers
The USMNT boss went on to explain what his strategy is with the MLS-based players staying prepared for the January CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers, per Sporting News' Mike DeCourcy:
Turner, Zimmerman, Acosta, Roldan and Pepi will be trying to stay fresh in between the 2021 and 2022 MLS seasons to be ready for the early 2022 matches against El Salvador, Canada and Honduras.
Long, Zardes and Morris could be vital to those contests, but they all need to work back to full fitness after suffering injuries in the MLS season. Long and Morris are coming off long-term injuries.
Long could be a vital piece next to Zimmerman at center back, especially if John Brooks continues to be out of the picture. Brooks was kept out of the last set of World Cup qualifiers.
The progression of Morris and Zardes is vital to the thin talent pool at striker. Pepi broke on to the international stage in the fall, but the USMNT can't rely on the 19-year-old to be the lone threatening force up top.
Morris and Zardes could provide some much-needed depth at the position with three games coming up in a short span at the end of January and beginning of February.
The rest of the players in the December camp are there to show what they can do at the highest international level.
Lennon, George Bello and Bryan Reynolds could add some depth at the full back spots, while Cole Bassett could audition for a spot on the midfield bench.
Jesus Ferreira is the name to watch up top. The FC Dallas forward is aiming to make a similar impact as Pepi after an eight-goal campaign in MLS.
Bosnia and Herzegovina brought over an inexperienced squad to play the USMNT because the date does not fit into an international window.
The USMNT should come away with a victory, but Saturday's game is not about the result, it is about the individual performances of players looking to stay fit and trying to impress Berhalter.
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