Aaron Long didn't come through the ranks of U.S. youth teams, and he was hardly a valued commodity coming out of college. He's since turned himself into a U.S. national team staple and a transfer target for European clubs, and he knows time is running short for him to take another leap on the club level.
U.S. U-20 standouts Sergino Dest and Paxton Pomykal and U.S. veterans Brad Guzan and Alfredo Morales join the likes of Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie and others as the USMNT tunes up for the first Concacaf Nations League with two tough friendlies.
MLS is one step closer to its 30-team goal after welcoming St. Louis to the league. There are presently two viable bids for the final two berths, but as the lengthy expansion process has shown, things can change quite quickly.
The Concacaf Hexagonal will remain for at least one more cycle, but the road to getting there has been eliminated for the region's top-ranked teams. As for the minnows–and the fourth-place finisher in the hex–the path to qualification is a long one.
On one hand, the USA fell to a Mexico side missing a slew of big names and settled for second in the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup. On the other, the feeling inside the team is one of positivity, acknowledging the immediate disappointment but seeing a brighter big picture for the first time in a while.