Gregg Berhater’s 25-man squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Mexico and Jamaica has been announced, with the players reporting to the training camp in Cincinnati following their weekend club commitments.
As the team’s 14-game qualifying campaign nears the halfway point, Berhalter’s squad find themselves in a solid position to reach Qatar next winter, however face their toughest test so far with a visit from first-place Mexico in one week’s time. After six games, they are situated squarely in the automatic qualifying spots, currently in second place, and will be aiming to make a statement against their main CONCACAF rivals.
There is reason for optimism, as the most prominent star of the squad, Chelsea’s Christin Pulisic, is finally back on the roster after missing close to two months with an ankle injury suffered during the first qualifying window.
While Berhalter could choose to play it safe and save his most dangerous attacker for a substitute role against Mexico as well as in the subsequent trip to sixth-place Jamaica, Pulisic’s presence is nevertheless a boost for a team that largely looked disjointed in the attack in his absence.
Also notable is the first-time inclusion of Joe Scally, who plies his trade at Borussia Mönchengladbach in Germany. The 18 year-old defender has yet to suit up for the senior team, however his call-up has been highly anticipated by fans after he stormed onto the scene for the Foals, and became their lock starter at right back this season.
His presence is needed as one of the usual defensive starters of the team – Barcelona’s Sergiño Dest – was left off the roster this time after suffering a reported minor back injury ahead of their recent Champions League fixture in Kiev.
Likewise, Wolfsburg’s John Brooks has been left in Europe after falling out of favor in recent games, however fellow Bundesliga central back Chris Richards makes his second straight roster.
Both Sam Vines and Reggie Cannon return for the first time since the Gold Cup final in summer, after both returned recently to the fold for their club teams.
Apart from the returning Pulisic, the attack will have a decided Texan flair, with FC Dallas youngsters Ricardo Pepi and Jesús Ferreira both making the roster. The two players have a combined total five goals in only six caps so far.
Of the 25 players called to Cincinnati, 15 of them currently play for teams abroad, with the most experienced being Galatasaray’s DeAndre Yedlin with a total of 69 national team appearances.
They will first host Mexico in a first-versus-second battle in Cincinnati’s TQL Stadium at 9pm Eastern time on Thursday, November 12, then visit Jamaica’s Independence Park in Kingston the following Tuesday for a 5pm kickoff.
DETAILED ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB/COUNTRY; CAPS/GOALS)
GOALKEEPERS (3): Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 9/0), Zack Steffen (Manchester City/ENG; 24/0), Matt Turner (New England Revolution; 12/0)
DEFENDERS (10): Reggie Cannon (Boavista/POR; 22/1), Mark McKenzie (Genk/BEL; 8/0), Chris Richards (Hoffenheim/GER; 4/0), Antonee Robinson (Fulham/ENG; 17/1), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United; 14/3), Joe Scally (Borussia Mönchengladbach/GER; 0/0), Sam Vines (Royal Antwerp/BEL; 8/1), DeAndre Yedlin (Galatasaray/TUR; 69/0), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; 20/2)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids; 42/2), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig/GER; 20/1), Gianluca Busio (Venezia/ITA; 7/0), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 33/8), Weston McKennie (Juventus/ITA; 27/7), Yunus Musah (Valencia/ESP; 9/0), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders; 29/0)
FORWARDS (6): Brenden Aaronson (Red Bull Salzburg/AUT; 13/5), Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 41/8), Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas; 2/2), Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas; 4/3), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG; 40/16), Tim Weah (Lille/FRA; 16/1)