Gregg Berhalter named the nine MLS players who would take part in a training camp with the United States U-20 team, with some notable absences.
Berhalter's mind already seems made up about most of his roster, but that doesn't mean you can't count some players very unlucky to at least not be given one last chance to impress.
Here are five such players from MLS:
1. Brandon Vazquez (FC Cincinnati)
2022 was a breakout year for Brandon Vazquez.
The 24-year-old helped himself to 18 goals and eight primary assists in 33 regular season matches before scoring the winner against the New York Red Bulls in FC Cincinnati's MLS Cup Playoffs debut.
Forming a key part of a star-studded Cincy attack alongside Lucho Acosta and Brenner, there really weren't many American forwards in better form than Vazquez.
“I talked to Gregg right before that [September] camp,” Vazquez toldMLS Today of his failure to breakthrough at international level. “He was basically saying that it was a little too late to integrate me and that he feels I made it really hard for him and that I just need to keep proving myself and that I’ll [have] that opportunity in the next cycle. Pretty much was that.”
Interestingly, Vazquez is also eligible for Mexico, so Berhalter might well be leaving himself open to losing a clinical striker.
2. Djordje Mihailovic (CF Montreal)
Djordje Mihailovic actually earned a recall to the USMNT back in May before having to withdraw due to an ankle injury.
That must have been tough to take, but what is likely harder for Mihailovic is being 99% sure to miss out on the World Cup, despite ending the season with a run of three goals and two assists in his final three games of the season - including scoring in each of CF Montreal's MLS Cup Playoffs matches.
So good was Mihailovic's 2022 that he earned a move to Eredivisie side AZ Alkmaar, but even that seemingly isn't enough to change Berhalter's mind.
3. Matt Miazga (FC Cincinnati)
There's no greater debate right now than who should play at center-back for the USMNT. In fact, this could go down as one of the great battles of our time.
Let's be clear; Aaron Long was, once upon a time, one of the best center-backs in MLS and well capable of moving to Europe. However, time and wretched luck with injury have sapped his pace and he just isn't the same player as he used to be.
Matt Miazga, meanwhile, arrived mid-season and very quickly got to work tightening up FC Cincinnati's defense, allowing that aforementioned attack to fire them all the way up to fifth in the Eastern Conference.
Miazga is in-form and confident, but it appears his ship has already sailed.
“I’d like to say few things but I’ll refrain from that. You guys will eventually find out," Miazga recently said of his relationship with Berhalter. “We’ll see what happens in the next few weeks. I don’t think I’ll be called up... We didn’t see eye to eye on few things in the past and that has affected me from being called up. But it is what it is.”
4. Andrew Gutman (Atlanta United)
As long as he stays fit, Antonee Robinson is nailed-on to be the starting left-back at the World Cup. What's more, the likes of Sergino Dest and Joe Scally are also capable of filling in at his position.
However, there's still a strong case that Berhalter needs to bring some naturally left-footed cover for Robinson to Qatar.
Sam Vines is doing well in Belgium and is a good choice, but Andrew Gutman - with his four goals and impressive overall defensive numbers for Atlanta United in 2022 - surely at least deserved a chance to train in front of Berhalter.
5. Eryk Williamson (Portland Timbers)
Cast your minds back to the middle of 2021 and you'll remember Eryk Williamson as one of the fastest-improving midfielders in MLS, appearing on the fringes of the USMNT scene with four caps.
A Cruciate Ligament rupture cruelly set him back but since returning to action, Williamson has picked up right where he left off.
The 24-year-old provided five primary assists in 22 MLS matches this season, while he was among the top-five Timbers players for a number of key metrics such as chances created and successful dribbles per 90 minutes.
Williamson is excellent at progressing the ball and has a robust defensive edge. He could've been an excellent understudy to Tyler Adams in Qatar.
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