Gabriel Slonina could earn first USMNT cap in World Cup qualifiers
The Chicago Fire goalkeeper is having a great start of the 2022 MLS regular season with two back-to-back clean sheets, and six total in 13 career starts.
USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter is losing sleepbecause his first two options as goalkeeper have not recovered from their respective injuries. Zack Steffen is still feeling the effects of a shoulder injury and has been left out of Manchester City’s roster in the last six games across all competitions.
Steffen was also left out of the first international break of this year due to a back problem. Instead, Berhalter started New England Revolution’s Matt Turner in goal and Sean Johnson from NYCFC was on the bench. Unfortunately for the USMNT boss, Turner has been dealing with a foot injury and missed the first two games of the 2022 MLS season.
Who can start for the USMNT?
The final international window in World Cup qualifying in CONCACAF is approaching and the United States will play their last three games of the round-robin tournament. With Turner and Steffen most likely out of the picture, Berhalter could start Sean Johnson for the upcoming games. Another option for the USMNT coach could be Gabriel Slonina, the Chicago Fire keeper who has yet to make his international debut.
Slonina is having a great start to the 2022 MLS campaign with two back-to-back clean sheets, and six total in 13 appearances. The 17-year-old has represented the United States at the U15,U16 and U17 level. Slonina is no stranger to Berhalter as on 21 January he was called into his first World Cup qualifying camp with the USMNT, and he could serve as the second option for Sean Johnson in the upcoming games.
The USMNT sits in second place and needs at least four points to secure a top three finish and a spot at the World Cup in Qatar in November. The USMNT will go on the road to play against Mexico on 24 March, three days later they will return home to host Panama and then they finish the final round on 30 March against Costa Rica at the Estadio Nacional.