CONCACAF Nations League

USMNT January Camp Breakdown: DC United's Paul Arriola & Russell Canouse

USMNT January Camp Breakdown: DC United's Paul Arriola & Russell Canouse

D.C. United's Paul Arriola and Russell Canouse had mixed results at the USMNT's January camp under Gregg Berhalter.

Feb 6, 2019 by Wesley Davidson
USMNT January Camp Breakdown: DC United's Paul Arriola & Russell Canouse

As the dust settles following Gregg Berhalter’s first go at implementing his system in training and two friendly matches, U.S. fans have plenty to be excited about in a massive year for the federation. A host of new faces saw the pitch, the team recorded two shutouts and a distinct style of play emerged. With the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup on the horizon, the fortunes of the two D.C. players involved could not be more disparate. 

Canouse Left Out

Fresh off a campaign in which he emerged as Olsen’s most trusted piece in midfield, Russell Canouse had every right to believe he could earn his first international appearance in Berhalter’s inaugural camp. However, things did not go according to plan.

Veteran Michael Bradley was granted the start against Panama and orchestrated play to near perfection before giving way to Wil Trapp, a player with whom Berhalter has extensive familiarity through his time at Columbus. Canouse remained an unused substitute while six other players saw action in the latter stages.

Trapp went on to feature for the entirety of the second friendly. While questions remain concerning Trapp’s place in the national team moving forward, particularly in terms of his defensive capabilities, Canouse’s chances seem bleak due to the fact that he was not even included in the 23-man roster for the Costa Rica match. Headline-producing play from Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie in Europe likely makes his chances of being included in this summer’s Gold Cup squad slim.

Arriola Soars

The 24-year-old will be full of energy and confidence in returning to the D.C. squad to partake in preseason training. The winger logged 15 minutes in a cameo appearance in the 3-0 victory over Panama before taking flight just six days later.

Arriola was awarded the start in Saturday’s match on the left wing and was forced to remain patient as the Stars and Stripes largely struggled to get on the front foot and break down stubborn opposition. 

It was a tale of two halves as the hosts came alive and Arriola was right at the heart of many of his side’s ventures forward in the second stanza. The D.C. United winger timed runs superbly and helped continuously pose threats to the Costa Rica backline.

The U.S. tactician was full of praise for his attacker following the affair.

"I thought he had an excellent game. I thought he was sharp tonight. What we ask of our wingers is to be dynamic, to be aggressive, to take players on 1v1, to try to get behind the backline and I think from roles and responsibilities he certainly met all of that."

Arriola punctuated a standout performance with a deserved goal with less than three minutes left in regulation, streaking through the middle of defense before cleverly lifting the ball over an onrushing goalkeeper.

As the next national team camp looms in the not-so-distant future, MLS and European-based players alike will be aiming to impress and earn places in a gathering that features high-profile exhibition matches against Ecuador and Chile. Arriola appears in prime position to receive a second invitation to compete in the Gold Cup, while Canouse may very well be on the outside looking in come June 15.

Wesley Davidson is a graduate of the University of Alabama (BA) and the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign (MA). He currently works in youth soccer in Austin, Texas, and can be found on Twitter.