Christian Pulisic Weston McKennie in USMNT squad for September friendlies

Chelsea striker Christian Pulisic, Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie and Leeds United duo Brenden Aaronson and Tyler Adams are among the players selected for the 26-player USA men’s national team ahead of the last friendlies ahead of the World Cup.

The USA play Japan in Dusseldorf, Germany on September 23, followed by a game against Saudi Arabia four days later in Murcia, Spain. On September 19th, the team meets for the first day of training in Cologne.

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The USA open the World Cup against Wales on November 21, followed by games against England and Iran.

“It’s important to remember that this is not the final roster,” USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter said during a virtual media availability on Wednesday. “It’s not the final line-up for the World Cup. A lot can happen before November 9th, when we announce the final lineup.

“That was the conversation I had with the players who weren’t picked in this camp, that a lot can happen. In some positions we want to evaluate certain guys that we don’t have enough information about. Other players just weren’t .” not selected.”

With Berhalter set to see his players up close for the last time leading up to their Qatar clash, the absence of players is also noteworthy. Among the omissions was Union Berlin striker Jordan Pefok, who has three goals and two assists so far this season.

While struggling with a muscle injury of late, he clocked 75 minutes in last weekend’s 1-0 win over FC Köln that propelled Berlin to the top of the Bundesliga.

“As far as Jordan is concerned, it’s difficult,” said Berhalter. “It was a decision that we wouldn’t bring in four strikers. We didn’t feel we had enough playing time to give four forwards a chance. So we went with these three and we’re pretty confident. We know Jordan’s profile. We know what he can do. We didn’t feel we needed to see him at this camp to determine whether or not he could be on the list.”

Fulham left-back Antonee Robinson has also been ruled out with an ankle injury sustained in a 2-1 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur on September 3. His place on the list is safe if he is healthy. Lille midfielder Timothy Weah also missed out due to injury.

Defense attorney John Brooks is another omission. Brooks has long been looking in from the outside and has yet to record a minute for new club Benfica despite his many years of experience in the Bundesliga.

Even with Pefok’s absence, the competition for the forwards seems intense.

Norwich City striker Joshua Sargent has been rewarded for an outstanding start to the season in the English Championship, where he has scored five goals in eight league games. His call-up is his first since the first round of World Cup qualifiers in September 2021.

Ricardo Pepi has received a surprise recall, his first since the March 2021 World Cup qualifying window. Pepi has endured a barren spell in front of goal after not scoring since October 2021.

But Pepi provided an assist for new club FC Groningen in last weekend’s 1-0 win against Cambuur and was accepted.

Pepi and Sargent will be joined by FC Dallas’ Jesus Ferreira, who scored his 18th goal of the season in Saturday’s 2-1 win over LAFC. This means FC Cincinnati’s Brandon Vazquez and Antalyaspor’s Haji Wright, both in good form for their respective clubs, are absent.

“When you’re talking about a guy like Ricardo [Pepi]who scored three goals in qualifying played with us in a number of World Cup qualifiers,” explained Berhalter. “If you think about Josh Sargent – ​​he’s played for us in some really big games, played in qualifiers, played in the Nations League semi-finals, final, it’s been around for a while too.

“The decision was made to give these guys a chance. sorry brandon [Vazquez]. I spoke to him and told him it’s not the end and keep doing what he’s doing and keep himself in the conversation. That’s all I can do.”

The goalkeeping position is another point of concern lately, with some members of the contingent not having enough first-team minutes.

A knee injury suffered by Middlesbrough’s Zack Steffen has seen him miss four straight games and will prevent him from appearing for the Americans. Arsenal keeper Matt Turner, Luton Town’s Ethan Horvath and New York City FC’s Sean Johnson will all be battling for minutes in the coming period.

“Matt Turner, I don’t think fitness will be an issue,” said Berhalter of the former New England Revolution goalkeeper, who has only played one competitive game for Arsenal since joining the Premier League club this summer. “Maybe a bit of rhythm and rust could come into play.

“I think for Zack [Steffen]it’s becoming rhythm, it’s being trained with him,” added Berhalter. “He’s been out a lot and I think the most important thing for him – and that’s the conversation I have with him – is to stay at home with his daily environment, work every day to get back on the field.”

Berhalter also revealed that he has been in touch with dual international midfielder Alejandro Zendejas. The Club America player represented USA at youth level before subsequently appearing in two senior friendlies for Mexico, although questions have been raised about his eligibility to play as he has not signed an official one-off move with FIFA to represent El Tri.

“This is a guy who was in our youth programs,” Berhalter said. “So if you’re asking if he’s on our radar, he’s been on a radar the whole time and he’s a guy who’s played in youth national teams and grew up in the youth national teams [U.S.] youth football system.

“We watched him, we monitored him. I actually got off the phone with him and he’s in a good place. So we will continue to monitor him over the next few months.”


GOALKEEPER (3): Ethan Horvath (Luton Town/ENG; 8/0), Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 10/0), Matt Turner (Arsenal/ENG; 18/0)

DEFENDER (9): Reggie Cannon (Boavista/POR; 27/1), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic/SCO; 11/0), Sergino Dest (AC Milan/ITA; 17/2), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 27/3 ), Chris Richards (Crystal Palace/ENG; 8/0), Joe Scally (Borussia Mönchengladbach/GER; 2/0), Sam Vines (Royal Antwerp/BEL; 8/1), DeAndre Yedlin (Inter Miami; 74/0 ), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; 31/3)

MIDFELD (6): Kellyn Acosta (LAFC; 52/2), Tyler Adams (Leeds United/ENG; 30/1), Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo/ESP; 11/0), Weston McKennie (Juventus/ITA; 35/9), Yunus Musah (Valencia/ESP; 19/0), Malik Tillman (Rangers/SCO; 2/0)

FORWARD (8): Brenden Aaronson (Leeds United/ENG; 22/6), Paul Arriola (FC Dallas; 47/10), Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas; 13/7), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders; 48/11), Ricardo Pepi (Groningen /NED; 11/3), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG; 51/21), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 12/4), Josh Sargent (Norwich City/ENG; 19/3) Christian Pulisic Weston McKennie in USMNT squad for September friendlies

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