We’re about three months into the 2022 Major League Soccer season with the close of the action of Matchday 14.
One of the major caveats to the MLS schedule for the 2022 season is that the league would not stage a full slate of matches during FIFA international windows (the weekend of Saturday, June 4 and Sunday, June 5 features only a single match on the schedule) with another such window beginning this coming week.
FIFA June Double Window Looms for USMNT
This decision was made with the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup in mind, which begins in November after MLS Cup.
As per the MLS Website:
“MLS will seek to avoid scheduling matches during the FIFA international windows in March, June or September- only at a team’s request will MLS consider scheduling a match during the March window, or during the second weekend of the June double window.”
The United States Men’s National Team will be a busy squad in the month of June.
USMNT Begins June International Window on Wednesday
All told, the USMNT will play four total matches during the first half of the month of June, with two international friendlies this week, followed by two group stage matches in the 2022-2023 CONCACAF Nations League.
The following is the June schedule of events for the USMNT during this FIFA international double window:
- Wednesday, June 1: vs. Morocco (FIFA International Friendly- TQL Stadium, Cincinnati, OH)
- Sunday, June 5: vs. Uruguay (FIFA International Friendly- Sporting Park, Kansas City, KS)
- Friday, June 10: vs. Grenada (CONCACAF Nations League- Group D, Q2 Stadium, Austin, TX)
- Tuesday, June 14: at El Salvador (CONCACAF Nations League- Group D, Estadio Cuscatlan, San Salvador, El Salvador)
These matches, during the upcoming double window, will be the first contests for the USMNT since officially clinching a spot in this year’s World Cup back in March.
This version of the USMNT, trotted out by manager Gregg Berhalter, will be a bit different than the squad which suited up for the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers, for several reasons.
USMNT Qualifying Stalwart Miles Robinson Out For Extended Period
First and foremost, defender Miles Robinson, who started in all but three of the USMNT’s CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers, sustained an Achilles’ injury earlier this season while playing for Atlanta United in MLS, and the MRI scan confirmed the worst.
Robinson suffered a season-ending injury, effectively ending his World Cup hopes for Qatar 2022.
“We are devastated for Miles,” said Berhalter after the injury. “He had established himself as a top performer throughout last year and World Cup qualifying. We will be thinking of him and wishing him a successful recovery process.”
So, the question heading into the June double window is, who will fill Miles Robinson’s shoes for the USMNT?
USMNT Roster Deep In Midfield
Gregg Berhalter called up eight midfielders in the upcoming double window, including three with ties to Major League Soccer.
Kellyn Acosta of LAFC, Djordie Milhailovic of CF Montreal, and Cristian Roldan of FIFA Club World Cup-bound Seattle Sounders FC were among the fleet of midfielders who were selected by Berhalter to play for the Americans during the four-match stretch in June.
However, it appears as though the number of available midfielders for selection ahead of the USMNT’s upcoming FIFA international friendlies and group stage matches in the CONCACAF Nations League will be trimmed to seven before Wednesday evening’s friendly in Cincinnati.
Djordie Milhailovic Suffers Injury Before USMNT June Double Window
On May 28 in a match against FC Cincinnati, Djordie Milhailovic was injured early in the first half of the game, and even though he was able to rise to his feet in an effort to continue, he was later substituted out of the match after less than 20 minutes of action.
With only a few days left before the first match for the USMNT in the June double window, Milhailovic is, in all probability, out for the Americans in the short term.
Contingent upon the USMNT’s performance in the upcoming FIFA World Cup, Milhailovic could potentially leave MLS behind in favor of European competition, as Charlie Davies opined in a recent episode of Extra Time Radio.
“The only way that Djordie Milhailovic will vault himself up this ladder is with a move to Europe,” Davies mentioned in the podcast. “If there’s ever a time to make that move, it would be now because he’s playing with the utmost confidence. He is fit and he’d be getting a full preseason. You have to factor in all of those things. And then he would get an opportunity because whoever is paying for him is getting him in the preseason and they’re obviously trusting him to be the future, the answer.”
Whether or not Milhailovic does make the leap to Europe remains to be seen, so stay tuned.
Matt Turner to Make Final USMNT Appearances Before Joining Premier League in FIFA June Window
One member of the USMNT who is poised to move to European competition in the coming weeks is its stalwart goalkeeper, Matt Turner, who is slated to join Premier League side Arsenal FC upon the beginning of the summer transfer window on July 1, making this international window his final appearances for the Americans before the move.
Turner was out of action for the March CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers due to sustaining a hairline fracture in his right foot during the MLS preseason back in February, just weeks removed from experiencing tendonitis in his left foot in February during the USMNT’s frozen win against Honduras in the World Cup Qualifiers.
“Two different injuries on two different feet, completely unrelated,” Turner wrote in a tweet earlier this year.
With Zack Steffen, who started the March CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers in Turner’s absence for the USMNT, recently excused from camp, Turner’s return should come as a welcome one for the fans.
McKennie Back, Pepi a Healthy Scratch
McKennie, who scored the opening goal for the Americans in the victory against Honduras back in February, fractured his left foot in the UEFA Champions League versus Villareal during the first leg of the round of 16 tie on Feb. 22, costing him the rest of the season.
Striker Ricardo Pepi, who netted a brace for the USMNT against Jamaica in Austin on Oct. 7, won’t feature for the Americans in the June international window, as Gregg Berhalter declared him a healthy scratch this time around.
Pepi moved from MLS side FC Dallas to Bundesliga side FC Augsburg midway through the European season, first featuring for Augsburg in January of this year following the Bundesliga winter break.
With Pepi having no offseason between leaving Dallas and joining Augsburg, Berhalter omitted him from the USMNT roster for the upcoming FIFA window.
Throughout the World Cup Qualifying cycle, the USMNT proved that they were hungry to have a seat at the table in the greatest athletic tournament on Earth after having failed to qualify for Russia in 2018.
With its spot in Qatar having been booked slightly over two months ago, the matches for the Americans have now dwindled to a precious six.
It starts Wednesday night in Cincinnati, so one last question still lingers:
How will they fare?
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