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Pulisic, Sargent, Dest headline USMNT squad for September friendlies


Sergino Dest, Paxton Pomykal and Miles Robinson are three of the top young prospects in the U.S. Men’s National Team talent pipeline, and all three will have a chance to make their USMNT debut after being called in to the squad that will face Mexico and Uruguay in upcoming friendlies in September.

Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie headline the 26-player roster for the friendlies, with a total of 15 members of this summer’s U.S. Gold Cup squad being called back into the fold.

Also back in the mix is Josh Sargent. The Werder Bremen striker was a notable omission from Berhalter’s Gold Cup squad, but will now have his chance to stake his claim to a regular place in the USMNT squad.

Dest, Pomykal and Robinson are among the more notable inclusions, as all three are in search of their USMNT debuts. Dest has broken through to earn regular playing time with Dutch champions Ajax, while Pomykal and Robinson are in the midst of breakout seasons in MLS.

“In terms of Sergiño and Paxton, those were two players that were heavily involved in the U-20 World Cup,” Berhalter said. “It’s nice to bring players through our system, see how they’ve done in major competition and then get a good look with the full national team. I think they’re both ready. They’ve both been getting first team minutes and are ready for this next challenge.

“Miles is a guy who we’ve been really impressed with watching league play,” Berhalter said. “He’s been dynamic in the back, is a real physical presence and has been working on breaking lines with his passing. When you evaluate it and look where Atlanta has gone as a team, he’s a big part of why Atlanta has turned things around and are now in first place in the Eastern Conference.”

One player not in the squad is Darlington Nagbe, the in-form Atlanta United midfielder reportedly turn down a call-up for the September friendlies, as well as a call-up for the Gold Cup.

“Every time you have call ups, you’re always going to have guys that you’d like to bring in but aren’t able to for one reason or another,” Berhalter said. “That’s just part of it. That’s one thing I’ve learned as the National Team head coach, those are things you have to deal with and it’s outside of your control.”

Another factor in Berhalter’s roster choices was the MLS schedule, which will see several teams play matches during the international break. Veterans Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore are absent from the squad, with Toronto FC scheduled to have two matches during the international break.

Injuries kept Tyler Adams, DeAndre Yedlin, Tim Weah and Matt Miazga off the September squad, with Duane Holmes also having recently just begun working his way back from an injury.

Berhalter called in some veterans who hadn’t been in the squad for some time in Brad Guzan and Alfredo Morales.

“Brad is a guy that I have a ton of respect for – respect for his career, but more importantly, respect for what type of guy he is,” Berhalter said. “He’s a guy that we tried to get involved in January Camp and Atlanta had some Champions League games that took precedent there, but we’re excited to bring him back. I’ve said all along that it’s important for us to maintain the heritage of the U.S. Men’s National Team by having experienced players that have been through World Cup Qualifying or World Cups.

“Alfredo is a case where he’s done such a good job with Fortuna Düsseldorf, not only through the first two Bundesliga games, but we’ve seen reports from preseason where he’s been an outstanding player. It’s nice to give a guy a reward like that – an opportunity again because of how he’s performing at his club.”

The USMNT faces Mexico on September 5 at Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey before taking on Uruguay in St. Louis on September 10.

Here is the full squad, which will convene in New Jersey to begin camp on Sunday:

GOALKEEPERS: Jesse Gonzalez (FC Dallas; 0/0), Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC), Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 8/0), Zack Steffen (Fortuna Düsseldorf; 15/0)

DEFENDERS: John Brooks (Wolfsburg; 37/3), Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas; 6/0), Sergiño Dest (Ajax; 0/0), Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes; 7/0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 11/2), Daniel Lovitz (Montreal Impact; 8/0),) Tim Ream (Fulham; 35/1), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United FC; 0/0), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC; 10/2)

MIDFIELDERS: Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 9/2), Weston McKennie (Schalke; 14/3), Alfredo Morales (Fortuna Düsseldorf; 13/0), Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas; 0/0), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; 15/0), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; 19/0), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes; 1/0)

FORWARDS: Corey Baird (Real Salt Lake; 3/0), Tyler Boyd (Besiktas; 5/2), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 33/5), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea; 31/13), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen; 7/2), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew SC; 51/10)


What do you think of the squad? Which players would you like to have seen called in who were left out? Who are you happy to see in camp?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Can’t we just say that, as fans, we want everyone called up to feel positive about it, for the good of the team? These guys are all professionals. Thousands of other players, not to mention most of us TV viewers, have never gotten anywhere near their level. Some have more natural ability, others put in good effort and energy. How about thinking of the morale of all of them and toning down the sneers a notch? They’re all young, they’re all human.
    Nagbe is a known quantity and is busy right now trying to help his MLS team keep sparking after a tiring but successful recent run. He’s still a potential asset when real qualifying games come around, as are Altidore and Bradley. Just the rumor that he declined invitations for nonessential games doesn’t necessarily mean that he did so impolitely or without discussing it with Berhalter. Atlanta is still in the running for yet another trophy. (And Guzan has made some amazing saves; he looks fired up, but he hasn’t run around as much as Nagbe has.)
    Johnson and Chandler are also well known and not needed yet. Both have fought their way back to more minutes after recent injuries. Currently their teams are competing well in the Bundesliga, and Frankfurt has a key game tomorrow in the Europa League, evidently not televised here. (Ajax, with Dest starting and Mexico’s Álvarez scoring, was on TNT today in the Champions League.)
    Flying all the way over from Europe, and missing the same amount of time training with their club, and even subjecting themselves to a flood of critical observation and comment, is a fair amount to ask of players just for friendlies, especially when some of their club teams are better than the USMNT is. We’re lucky that Brooks and Pulisic are coming (so far), along with McKennie, Ream, Sargent, Steffen, Dest, and also Morales, whom I too was glad to see called in. It looks like a good mix of European- and US-based players, and they really need the time to practice together. But the coaches may also keep in mind the risk of injury to European players, depending partly on the surfaces. I’m still concerned about Yedlin and Adams.
    Green might still be on the wider radar, but he needs to get to a higher-level club before they’re likely to consider him, along with Wood, Soto, and others. I wonder if Horvath is going to be staying at Brugge now that Mignolet has come in in front of him.
    I have liked Arriola’s energy and impetus too, but DC United probably needs it all the more desperately at the moment now that Rooney seems to have thrown in the towel.
    We can all look forward to seeing a little more of Lletget, Pomykal, Cannon, Robinson, and Long. I’m less familiar with Yueill, Baird, and Lovitz.
    While I can’t speak to US soccer inside politics, from the outside it seems like Berhalter is doing well enough so far, balancing a lot of competing claims and a good bit of flak. What if we just cheered him on for a while as well?

    • Thanks for such a level headed post. The majority of people who chose to comment about this team in the various platforms and forums seem to be filled with such animosity and venom as of late. I’m curious if “fans” of other countries national team have such anger towards their teams. It didn’t use to be like this with USMNT. Maybe it’s the product of a deepening pool with way more choices to for the coach to make and fans to debate. Back in the day the first nine or so spots were locked in. Everyone knew who would be there whether a friendly or a Cup game. Put together with not qualifying (and perhaps the environment and manner in which we now discuss politics in this country thrown in) and it seems having an actual discussion about players, coaches and soccer in the US has devolved into people just insulting one another. I’ve always come her to this sight for more level headed thinking. Ives has always been a grounded writer that stays above the emotion of the game. Despite this comment section being a bit salty it still is better than most and posts like yours above make coming here a breath of fresh air compared to other soccer sites.

  2. I just can’t figure out what Berhaulter is trying to do anymore. These are FIFA dates which clubs are required to release players. Therefore he has the ability to call in anyone he’d like who is healthy enough to participate. Yet we continue to see players from MLS…even though they have games during the FIFA window…who are of a lower quality than many of the European players who are being left with their clubs.
    Lovitz – Proven he’s not an international caliber player. Yet he gets the call ahead of Robinson, a younger LB option who is proving himself in the Champioinship yet isn’t being given much of a chance with the USMNT.
    Trapp – a player who has actually gotten worse for club & country over the last year. I get that Adams is injured, but there has to be someone who else who can be tried. Maybe McKennie & Morales will play the 6 with Roldan as the back-up, allowing Yueill & Pomykal will get used as the 8 over Roldan.
    Roldan – is a useful type of player in that he could be used at multiple positions, but I’d rather have seen Hyndmann or the return of Nagbe in his place.
    Baird & Morris – Neither have shown enough in their multiple call-ups to warrant their continued inclusion. Would much rather see other wide attacking options who could maybe move the team forwards. Weah (injured i’m guessing), Green, Gall, Soto, etc… I haven’t been a fan of Arriola, but would still prefer him over Baird or Morris.
    I don’t have an issue with Miles Robinson getting a look, but I think he’d be better introduced during the January Camp. Would have preferred either CCV or EPB for this camp.

    • Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Take your examples of CCV and EPB, both were late transfers that have just started to get match time after largely setting out the preseason. Better to leave them to assimilate with their clubs than come to play in maybe one match given Brooks and Long are going to play at least one full match. Gall has been buried on the bench and the guys in front of him are likely to be called in for Denmark and Iceland so he should get first 11 training minutes that week instead of 20 minutes off the bench behind Boyd. Green is learning a new position so perhaps his club or he asked to continue training at home. There are definitely some head scratchers but just because we don’t hear the reason doesn’t mean there wasn’t one.

  3. Wiil Trapp and Christian Roldan ahead of Darlington Nagbe and Emerson Hyndman??? Who needs a midfield against Mexico anyway???? Well no Bradley so I guess you cant have it all hahaha

    • The Athletic has a story out that Nagbe has turned down multiple call ups including the 2019 GC. Not sure about Hyndman.

    • i thought hyndman looked good against my dynamo, and he used to be one of the pipeline kids, which should mean something. for that matter, gall, holmes, and green are all healthy and playing. drop yueill, trapp, roldan, and morales and there you have it.

      • Holmes just played his first full match, I believe Berhalter said they left him at Derby so he wouldn’t push to hard and do more harm. I don’t remember for sure if that was Gregg or a writer quoting a source.

      • Being a pipeline kid should mean NOTHING. Being a veteran of the premiere league and in form should mean something.

  4. Soto showed he has the speed and physicality and the finish on goal we need to stop thinking the old way he’s not playing this and that but he is training at a much more demanding rate than MLS zardes by now is not the future Soto is Sargent is weah is. Just call him in to get the experience of being with the Nats also how about all the goals he scored at a good tournament were they eliminated france. All I’m saying is we need to bring in the young forwards the world cup is just around the corner and so is the hex. Altidore is done he’s been done since that 2014 world cup injury. Wood is done. We have to look at the youth forwards the gold cup final showed MLS won’t cut it Morris won’t cut it baird won’t cut it Zardes won’t cut it. The youth is the future and the future is now!

    • Word today is imminent transfer out of Germany for Soto , I think he would have gone to U23 camp but now will spend next week with medical and press conference.

  5. First Ives predicted a European heavy team and Berhalter talks about the limitations because MLS is still playing and not recognizing the break. Yet, 14 of the outfield players are MLS players, which is just ridiculous. At least poor Morales is finally being given a well deserved chance, but Julian Green has already scored twice and he is only 24. I’d take him over guys like Roldan, Trapp, Pomykal, and Baird.

    • Berhalter is well connected in Germany as are one or two assistants. If he’s not calling players based in Germany there is probably a reason for it.

      • Sure there’s a reason, but is it a good reason? Johnny to the rescue with ready made excuses. You are really sounding like a boot licker.

      • by that you mean he looked at transfermarkt like the rest of us. he vastly overrates minutes relative to actual talent. that’s one reason you see MLS “starters” rather than foreign “squad players.” it’s basically we’ve flipped the other end of klinsmann’s big club snobbery. now all that matters are decontextualized minutes.

    • If Yedlin, Holmes, Adams, Miazga and Weah are healthy they likely all replace MLS players so that would swing your numbers to 14 Euro based players. Given that Pomykal, Cannon likely headed to Europe in January, Robinson, Yueill, and Long also rumored to have serious Euro interest this roster could easily have 27 or 18 Euro based players even without more youth progression by next March.

      • you don’t get to do that. he is picking MLS players who are regulars. if they become bench riding euros they will get dropped like weah or sargent. you’re missing the goofy dynamic.

    • We get it Gary you wanted Tata but he didn’t want the US, move on. His boss Bocanegra was on the hiring committee, they knew his interest was all for show to boost his negotiating with Mexico.

    • IV are you trying to say you think Berhalter uses transfermkt to make selections or did the replies get switched around?

  6. These calls for Hyndman and servania are a bit over the top, let them continue to get their feet wet in MLS, I’m cool with guys like yueill and robinson getting the call as they have been high quality performers for 5 months now in MLS. We’re always so prepared to look to the unknown.
    -I’m not quite sure why arriola isn’t in this team, I’m assuming jozy, MB and miller aren’t in tis team due to the MLS calendar, so whatever
    -Don’t hate anything at GK and defense, might be taking a look at lima at left back, would prefer him to lovitz
    -I would think we go with 2 6s in both these games some combo of mckennie with Roldan/morales/yueill
    -Interesting to see if pulisic plays on the wing, then have pomykal get time in the middle
    -I’d like sargent to get the start against mexico and see how he does, everyone talked that he could’ve made the difference in the gold cup, lets see it

  7. I agree with most hyndman servania soto robinson would have been better thank trap roldan zardes lovitz we need to build up fowards soto showed at u20 he is the central forward we need in the past we needed hold up play but this is a new generation who is better in possession and more technical on the ball. This whole overlap thing of a foward holding the ball so midfielders can overlap in final third is something any foward must have. Zardes isn’t the only foward who could do this but he will start :/

    • Soto > Zardes? Really? Based on what? The 8 minutes he’s played for Hannover in the 2. Bundesliga? I get no e of us fans are thinking Zardes is the next great US striker but it’s kind of ridiculous to say Soto is better than Zardes at this point. If your worried about Chile…these games wouldn’t captie him any more than the U20 WC did.

    • true of about half that midfield. gall, green, and holmes are all healthy and playing. and we instead get to watch trapp, etc.

  8. Most intriguing aspect of this roster is that Pulisic is listed as a forward and not a midfielder. Makes me think he will occupy one wing and let a more natural ACM **cough Pomykal cough** assume that role.

  9. Yep we def loosing both games. Why not call on Soto? Who cares if Chile u23 called him up put him in a position to choose. I would rather see Tim Chandler than Lovitz. Why do we get Bull headed coaches who never learn. Klinsmann was the same! So was Arena the last wc qualifying cycle. Corey Baird? Lovitz? Roldan? Trapp? Jackson Yueil? Jordan Morris? Smh this the same team that lost to Mexico in Gold Cup final basically. With Sargent, Dest, and Morales added.

    • Soto has been riding the pine for 2. Bundesliga team. He wouldn’t be cap tied for these matches. There’s 2 reasons not to call him up.

      • Who cares it will show his true loyalty and I would rather see him as a late 10 minute sub than Corey Baird or Jordan Morris. Jordan Morris does not have passion for soccer Jermaine Jones even said it too. He had a offer to go to the Bundesliga and choose to stay in Seattle to be with his dog and family. He could have moved his mom and girlfriend to Germany. Ughhh

    • Posted above but Soto is supposedly about to transfer from Hannover will be with his new club next week. He would have likely been in the U23 camp though.

    • I totally agree on Hyndman. Roldan is another one that Berhalter won’t leave behind no matter what he shows with the USMNT sadly…

    • Roldan is a very good player, who is good enough to get playing time on the Nat team while being played out of position even ( and could fill in at right back if needed, out of position again )
      In my opinion, easily should be starting at holding over Bradley and Trapp.

      • To clarify when the whole team is there, I don’t start Bradley, Roldan or Trapp but I do included Roldan on the bench as a solid option.

      • Roldan is pnly good against weak teams he would get steam rolled by teams in top 20. Facts not an opinion.

      • let me know when Roldan shows actual upside in a game. you should get one or two games based on theories in the coach’s head and then back to the pool if you never actualize.

    • Villafana was thrash when he played under Arena no thanks. Chandler or FJ over Lovitz and Villafana. I would have rather seen 3rd tier English Rotheram defender Olusunde called up over Lovitz.

  10. Well the injuries kind of messed up plans I’m sure, but I would have liked to see him reach out to Chandler and FJ. Both are still strong assets that would improve this squad.

    I feel Green and perhaps Gall should have gotten a chance as well.

    Not sure if Jordan-Siebatcheu is willing to dress-up for us, but he would also improve the striker pool.

    AJ getting some playtime now in Sweden, but still a little early to throw him back in the mix – but he was one of our most promising strikers in the day, so down the line it could make sense.

    Happy to see no Arriola, but frustrated that we still are calling up Morris, Trapp and Rodlan. I don’t think these guys can be real productive for the USMNT beyond lower tier CONCACAF opposition.

    Great to see Morales and Sargent back in there – hope they make the max out of the opportunity.

      • His agent said one time four years ago that he might someday be interested. 15 months ago he turned down callups vs Ireland and France. He was contacted again last fall and never appeared. He has been quoted as saying France is his first choice. If he decides to switch it’s unlikely it’s before Spring of 2022.

    • Do you know for a fact that Berhalter didn’t reach out to FJ and Chandler? Didn’t the latest Nagbe story teach us that fans typically know nothing about what’s actually happening behind the scenes. Doesn’t stop them for whining incessantly.

      • @Panda: I could counter-argue and ask you if you know for a fact that he did contact FJ and Chandler and consequently tell you to stop whining about fans whining, but that would be rude, no?

        Truth is, we will prob never know, though there is evidence that would point to a GB decision.

        In particular, it has been documented that he had purposely NOT selected FJ for the Gold Cup , despite FJ saying he was available basically, so their is precedent in the “coaches decision” realm of possibilities.

        This said, I’m happy to be proven wrong in my assumption if you can provide some inside info that I’m not yet aware of.

    • Hamid has the quality to be at the international level, he just doesn’t have the feet.
      Especially for our current system.

      • dude, the starting keeper doesn’t have the feet and brains to do the sweeper keeper bit. we looked horrible at times trying to build all the way from keeper forwards. at some point the concept should bend to the material actually on hand. unlike club we can’t go buy a keeper with good feet.

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