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USMNT roster for pre-World Cup friendlies: Pulisic, McKennie lead squad, Pepi surprise inclusion


With one ultimate probability for gamers to make an impression earlier than November’s World Cup, US coach Gregg Berhalter had just some surprises in his 26-man roster for friendlies in opposition to Japan and Saudi Arabia later this month. The roster is headlined by stars Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams, Gio Reyna and Yunus Musah.

Essentially the most notable inclusion within the squad is that of ahead Ricardo Pepi, who has struggled for enjoying time and targets since shifting from FC Dallas to Augsburg within the German Bundesliga final yr. Pepi, who not too long ago went on mortgage to Groningen in Holland, is again within the group and again within the image to combat for a roster spot at a striker place that’s all of a sudden flush with choices.

Pepi, 19, will be a part of FC Dallas ahead Jesús Ferreira and Norwich Metropolis ahead Josh Sargent on the depth chart at No. 9 on this camp. Union Berlin’s Jordan Pefok (two targets, three assists within the 2022-23 German Bundesliga season), FC Cincinnati’s Brandon Vazquez (16 targets, 5 assists within the 2022 MLS season) and Antalyaspor’s Haji Wright (5 targets within the 2022-23 Turkish Süper Lig season) weren’t included within the squad.

Pepi, who broke out final yr by scoring three targets for the US throughout qualifying, has not scored a objective for membership or nation since netting twice in opposition to Jamaica final October. He began a play that led to a objective in his first look for Groningen final weekend, however his type has been effectively in need of scoring surges for the likes of Pefok and Vazquez.

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Sargent returns to the squad for the primary time since September, when he appeared in the entire U.S.’s first three qualifying matches, beginning twice. Sargent fell out of favor as he struggled to make an impression as a winger for a Norwich group that was relegated from the Premier League final season. Sargent, although, has scored 5 targets in eight Championship appearances for Norwich to begin this season.

There are three notable harm absences within the squad: left again Antonee Robinson (ankle), goalkeeper Zack Steffen (knee) and winger Tim Weah (foot). Midfielder Cristian Roldan, who has been part of each US roster since final summer season’s Gold Cup, can also be out attributable to an harm.

Robinson’s harm has opened the door for Berhalter to study extra a few potential backup for the Fulham fullback on the World Cup. Sam Vines, 23, has been taking part in constantly at Royal Antwerp in Belgium and is a real left-footed possibility. Joe Scally, 19, is a constant starter at proper again for Borussia Mönchengladbach within the German Bundesliga and will present some roster flexibility if he can present he is a stable choice to play on the left, the place he has performed for each Gladbach and the US within the entice.

Steffen’s absence is notable in that he’s in a combat for his beginning job whereas on mortgage at Middlesbrough. His harm and type have opened the door for different goalkeepers to make a declare for a roster spot, with Luton City’s Ethan Horvath and NYCFC veteran Sean Johnson making the squad for the September friendlies and the Chicago Fireplace’s younger star Gaga Slonina ready within the wings. Matt Turner, who moved from the New England Revolution to the Premier League’s Arsenal this summer season, now appears in prime place to begin in Qatar.

USMNT and Arsenal goalkeeper Matt Turner.


(Photograph: David Value / Arsenal FC through Getty Pictures)

Berhalter opted to not convey further gamers for this squad, sticking with the identical variety of gamers he can be allowed on the World Cup. Which means some bubble gamers had been left off this roster, most notably Rangers heart again James Sands, Fulham heart again Tim Ream and the aforementioned forwards, Pefok and Vazquez.

Berhalter introduced simply 4 heart backs on this group: Celtic’s Cameron Carter-Vickers, New York Pink Bulls’ Aaron Lengthy, Crystal Palace’s Chris Richards and Nashville SC’s Walker Zimmerman. Reggie Cannon, Sergiño Dest and DeAndre Yedlin had been named as proper again choices, whereas Scally and Vines will possible compete at left again.

With Weah out injured, Seattle’s Jordan Morris and FC Dallas’ Paul Arriola will look to safe their spot on the airplane to Qatar. The winger depth chart, although, is headlined by a number of the largest stars on the roster: Chelsea’s Pulisic, Borussia Dortmund’s Reyna and Leeds United’s Brenden Aaronson.

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The midfield group was as anticipated, with Leeds’ Adams, Juventus’ McKennie and Valencia’s Musah the anticipated starters in a bunch that additionally consists of LAFC’s Kellyn Acosta, Celta Vigo’s Luca de la Torre and Rangers’ Malik Tillman.

The September squad continues to spotlight the youth of this US nationwide group. 13 gamers are aged 23 or youthful. Via 14 World Cup qualifiers, the US beginning 11 got here in at a median age of 23.82, virtually two years youthful than the following closest group that certified for the World Cup, Ghana at 25.67. Only one participant on this group has World Cup expertise: Yedlin.

The US will convene in Cologne, Germany this weekend. They will practice there earlier than making a fast journey to Dusseldorf for the pleasant in opposition to Japan on Sept. 23, then journey to Murcia, Spain for the pleasant in opposition to Saudi Arabia on Sept. 27. The matches would be the first alternative for 21 gamers on the US roster to play in opposition to an opponent from the Asian Soccer Confederation. The Individuals will face one other AFC opponent in Iran of their ultimate group stage match on the World Cup in November.

Gamers will return to their golf equipment following camp. Berhalter could maintain a camp in October for MLS gamers whose groups fail to qualify for the postseason, however the full US roster will not get again collectively till after the 26-man World Cup group is called on Nov. 9. The US will open camp in Qatar on Nov. 14, then open Group B play in opposition to Wales on Nov. 21.

Detailed roster by place

GOALKEEPERS (3): Ethan Horvath (Luton City), Sean Johnson (New York Metropolis FC), Matt Turner (Arsenal)

DEFENDERS (9): Reggie Cannon (Boavista), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic), Sergiño Dest (AC Milan), Aaron Lengthy (New York Pink Bulls), Chris Richards (Crystal Palace), Joe Scally (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Sam Vines (Royal Antwerp), DeAndre Yedlin (Inter Miami), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Kellyn Acosta (LAFC), Tyler Adams (Leeds United), Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo), Weston McKennie (Juventus), Yunus Musah (Valencia), Malik Tillman (Rangers)

FORWARDS (8): Brenden Aaronson (Leeds United), Paul Arriola (FC Dallas), Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Ricardo Pepi (Groningen), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund ), Josh Sargent (Norwich Metropolis)

(Photograph of Ricardo Pepi: David Berding/Getty Pictures)

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