Gregg Berhalter has named his roster for the first three matches of the United States men’s national team’s World Cup qualifying run in CONCACAF.
And, to no one’s surprise, there’s plenty to debate about the inclusions and omissions.
Before we go any further, exhale: Christian Pulisic has been included despite testing positive for COVID last week. However, he will not be in El Salvador for the first match, staying behind in Nashville.
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This is a credit to Berhalter’s remarkable success in taking the deepest player pool in the men’s program history and winning tournaments with both his best crew and his perceived “B-side” of mostly MLS players.
Just look at the list of Americans in the Champions League and Europa League group stages.
Berhalter’s USMNT will play in El Salvador on Sept. 2, home to Canada on Sept. 5, and away to Honduras on Sept. 8.
The coach will meet with the media at 1pm ET and ProSoccerTalk will be on the call.
Whose inclusion on the USMNT roster for September’s World Cup qualifiers might surprise fans?
FC Dallas’ Ricardo Pepi is wanted by the U.S. and Mexico so a decision is now in his striker’s hands.
Atlanta United’s George Bello and NYCFC’s James Sands aren’t surprises in that they could use these experiences to grow, but because of that it’s surprising to not see the names Gianluca Busio.
DeAndre Yedlin getting the nod over Reggie Cannon is a surprise, and Konrad de la Fuente and Jordan Siebatcheu Pefok being on the roster while Gyasi Zardes is absent is striking (pun acknowledged but initially unintended), but the Crew man has a hamstring injury.
It will be imperative to monitor the attitudes of the Premier League and La Liga plus the COVID-19 statuses of host nations when it comes to Christian Pulisic, Zack Steffen, Josh Sargent, and Sergino Dest. The PL’s clubs have banned players from international matches in high-spread nations.
Who was left off the USMNT roster for September’s World Cup qualifiers?
There are certainly some surprises.
Matt Miazga (Alaves) and Reggie Cannon (Boavista) have been considered certainties by many.
Paul Arriola (DC United) and Bryan Reynolds (AS Roma) would’ve also fit into many’s expected rosters, with Yunus Musah (Valencia), Aaron Long (RBNY), and Gyasi Zardes (Columbus) out with injuries.
And, of course, no Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley has been an expected outcome but still jarring in its own peculiar way given their import to the nation over so many cycles
Full USMNT roster for matches versus El Salvador, Canada, and Honduras
GOALKEEPERS (3): Ethan Horvath (Nottingham Forest), Zack Steffen (Manchester City), Matt Turner (New England Revolution)
DEFENDERS (10): George Bello (Atlanta United), John Brooks (Wolfsburg), Sergiño Dest (Barcelona, Mark McKenzie (Genk), Tim Ream (Fulham), Antonee Robinson (Fulham), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United), James Sands (New York City FC), DeAndre Yedlin (Galatasaray), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Weston McKennie (Juventus), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders)
FORWARDS (8): Brenden Aaronson (RB Salzburg), Konrad de la Fuente (Olympique Marseille), Jordan Pefok (BSC Young Boys), Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas), Christian Pulisic** (Chelsea), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Josh Sargent (Norwich City), Tim Weah* (Lille)
*Weah was called up but withdrew with injury.
**Pulisic will not play in El Salvador