After failing to qualify for the FIFA World Cup for the first time since 1986, the United States Men’s National Team returns to action on Nov. 14 against Portugal in Leiria, as a new era starts for the team as it looks forward to the 2022 World Cup.
The U.S. will be temporarily managed by assistant coach Dave Sarachan and the start of a new cycle also means new opportunities for players who did not have many chances under the previous management. Here are three Orlando City players who should have some level of hope about getting a call to face the European champions:
Very Likely: Dom Dwyer
The English-born American international started his career with the USMNT on the right foot earlier this year. Dwyer was called for the first round of the Gold Cup and scored two goals in as many matches. He was dismissed after the group stage but is very likely to return now with the probable departure of veterans Clint Dempsey and Chris Wondolowski and the absence of injured Jordan Morris.
Somewhat Likely: Joe Bendik
The 28-year-old goalkeeper was arguably one of the best players for Orlando City in 2017, leading Major League Soccer in saves, with 118. Bendik was part of the preliminary roster for the Gold Cup but did not make the final cut. With Tim Howard (38), Brad Guzan (33), and Nick Rimando (38) all likely to be phased out, the door could be open to Bendik now. He will have to face huge competition though, as keepers like Bill Hamid, Ethan Horvath, and Zack Steffen will also fight for the available spots.
Unlikely: Tommy Redding
Okay, this is a long shot. Redding was not even a regular starter for Orlando City this season, but his background with the youth U.S. national teams and the fact that the U.S. Men’s National Team’s back line is likely to be revamped give the 20-year-old center back a shot. Redding is arguably not ready for the job and is probably not among Sarachan’s primary options for the position, but if some players are not released by their clubs or are injured he could get a call, even if only to be closely watched on training sessions.
Who else do you think might get a shot as the U.S. moves forward? Is Jonathan Spector too old to earn a look? Let us know what you think in the comments section.