Christian Pulisic returns to USMNT squad ahead of World Cup qualifiers
Star forward Christian Pulisic is back, but influential full-back Sergiño Dest will not be available for the United States Men’s National Team playoffs against Mexico on November 12 and Jamaica on November 16. USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter named 25 players to the roster on Thursday.
Pulisic is returning to the squad after missing all three of his qualifiers in October with an ankle injury sustained on September 8 in Honduras. He played his first minutes since being injured on Tuesday when he left the Chelsea bench in their UEFA Champions League victory over Swedish club Malmö. Dest, who was one of the best players in the United States in all three October matches, was ruled out after suffering a back injury with Barcelona earlier this week.
Forward Gio Reyna remains out due to a hamstring injury he sustained in the United States’ opening qualifying game in El Salvador on September 2. Forward Gyasi Zardes is also out for this camp due to an MCL injury he suffered in late October with the Columbus crew. .
Berhalter surprisingly selected only one true number 9 for this formation: Ricardo Pepi of FC Dallas. The teenager’s club teammate Jesus Ferreira was on the roster and is listed as a forward. Ferreira has played like a false 9 with the United States in previous windows. The 20-year-old has scored two goals and two assists for FCD in his last four games. Tim Weah, who has mainly played as a winger for the United States but is also able to line up as a striker, has also been named to the squad.
With Dest out, the United States called in additional reinforcements to the right and left rear. Borussia Mönchengladbach full-back Joe Scally received his first call-up, while right-back Reggie Cannon and left-back Sam Vines received their first calls in this octagonal. Cannon was on the Nations League and Gold Cup squads this summer, while Vines was on the Gold Cup squad.
Scally, 18, has been a regular start at Gladbach this season and can play both left-back and right-back. DeAndre Yedlin and Antonee Robinson are the alleged incumbents ahead of next week’s showdown with Mexico.
Notably, veteran center-back John Brooks was excluded from the roster. The 28-year-old was expected to be a key player for the United States heading into qualifying, but he performed poorly in two appearances in September and then had to withdraw from the October roster due to a wound. He plays regularly for Wolfsburg, but the German club have had a series of difficult results which culminated in the recent sacking of former head coach Mark van Bommel. Veteran center-back Tim Ream, who was with the squad in September but withdrew from October camp for “personal reasons”, has also not received a call.
In total, six players who made the October playoffs were excluded from the November roster: injured Dest and Zardes, left-back George Bello, right-back Shaq Moore, midfielder Luca de la Torre and winger Matthew Hoppe. Five new players have been called up: Pulisic, Cannon, Scally, Vines and Ferreira.
USMNT won at home against Jamaica, lost in Panama, and then rebounded with a home victory over Costa Rica in the October international window. The Americans are currently second in the CONCACAF octagonal standings in six of the 14 matches. They lag Mexico, first, by three points.
The first three teams at the end of the Octagonal will qualify directly for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, while the fourth place will advance to the intercontinental qualifiers against a country in Asia, Oceania or South America. for a place in the tournament. .
Detailed list by post:
GUARDIANS (3): Sean Johnson (New York City FC), Zack Steffen (Manchester City), Matt Turner (New England Revolution)
DEFENDERS (9): Reggie Cannon (Boavista), Mark McKenzie (Genk), Chris Richards (Hoffenheim), Antonee Robinson (Fulham), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United), Joe Scally (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Sam Vines (Royal Antwerp), DeAndre Yedlin (Galatasaray) , Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC)
MIDFIELDER (7): Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig), Gianluca Busio (Venezia), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Weston McKennie (Juventus), Yunus Musah (Valencia), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders)
BEFORE (6): Brenden Aaronson (Red Bull Salzburg), Paul Arriola (DC United), Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas), Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Tim Weah (Lille)
(Photo: Brad Smith / ISI Photos / Getty Images)