Ahead of facing Trinidad and Tobago, U.S. men’s national team manager Gregg Berhalter will be looking to see who will step up in the absence of Christian Pulisic and Tim Weah. While Gio Reyna is expected to be the creative force heading into this camp without a minutes limit, one player to watch will be Alex Zendejas. While he was on the Gold Cup roster, Zendejas didn’t take his chance to impress there but worked back into the picture behind strong form at Club America under new manager Andre Jardine. Zendejas has scored four goals in his last seven games after only scoring once in his previous seven.
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Playing at Q2 Stadium in Austin, the first game versus Trinidad and Tobago will also be a bit of a homecoming for the 25-year-old FC Dallas youth product.
“It sucks not having those two guys in because they’re a huge part of the team but yeah, try to take this opportunity and make the most of it and I’m really looking forward to it,” Zendejas said speaking to media before the match. “I’ve been working hard back at home on the club team, really working on my finishing. Just working on what the coach is asking me to do so try to take that and bring it into this camp with my teammates and try to give a good performance over this week.”
Set to make his eighth senior appearance for the national team, translating that club form to international play has been a struggle for Zendejas up until this point but spending more time with the squad to get comfortable, this is an opportunity for the stars to align for him. Winger is a crowded position as both of the Aaronson brothers, Kevin Paredes, Reyna, and Malik Tillman can all deputize out wide if needed. Each figure to get quality minutes due to the absences. That means that if Zendejas doesn’t hit the ground running, the pressure could be on for the dual national because it will offer a chance for another young player to move into that spot in the rotation. With a chance to win their third consecutive Nations League title, expectations are high for the USMNT and they’ll only continue to climb if they’re able to qualify for the 2024 Copa America to face CONMEBOL teams.
It’s an exciting time to be part of the USMNT pool but for players on the fringe like Zendejas, if they don’t show that they can take the opportunity and run with it, someone else will.
How to watch and odds
- Date: Thursday, Nov. 16 | Time: 9 p.m. ET
- Location: Q2 Stadium — Austin, Texas
- TV: TNT | Stream: Max
- Odds: USMNT -5000; Draw +1000; Trinidad & Tobago +2500