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?
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