Report: Pulisic, other stars to leave USMNT squad early

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A report from Doug McIntyre of Yahoo Sports states that Christian Pulisic and four other USMNT players will leave the squad after they play Mexico in New Jersey on Friday.

[ MORE: How will USMNT line up? ]

Per the report, Pulisic will return to Chelsea, while Alfredo Morales and Zack Steffen are heading back to Fortuna Dusseldorf, plus John Brooks will return to Wolfsburg and Sean Johnson will make his way back to New York City FC as all five players will depart the U.S. squad and will not play against Uruguay in St. Louis next Tuesday.

It is believed Gregg Berhalter wants to give the four European-based players a rest and Johnson is needed for NYCFC in their Major League Soccer playoff push.

This all points to one thing: Pulisic, Brooks, Morales and Steffen will start against Mexico at MetLife Stadium on Friday.

Aside from Morales, the other three are genuine starters and Berhalter knows it would be silly to risk injury with Pulisic having a busy start to life at Chelsea, plus Brooks has only just had a full stretch of games with full fitness and Steffen is also a regular in the Bundesliga for the first time in his career after heading to Europe and Brad Guzan is around in the squad to step in

This move makes sense, but trying telling that to fans in STL who want to see Pulisic lead the USMNT to a friendly win against Uruguay next week.

They won’t be too impressed, but with Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani and Diego Godin not playing for Uruguay either, this is good management from Berhalter and gives us a peek behind the curtain as to who he believes are his key players right now.

The fact that Weston McKennie, Josh Sargent and Sergino Dest aren’t being released early suggests they need to show Berhalter more and it will do Dest a lot of good to spend as much time as possible with the USMNT as the Netherlands sniff around the Dutch-American defender.

It is unclear whether or not Berhalter will call up any more players to his squad to play against Uruguay, with the roster set to drop from 26 to 21 players.