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Berhalter: Pulisic in camp and day-to-day, McKennie also joining USMNT squad

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Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie will both take part in U.S. Men’s National Team camp, Gregg Berhalter confirmed on Sunday, though Pulisic’s availability for Thursday’s friendly against Wales still remains a question mark.

Regarding Christian and Weston, Christian is in camp and he’s listed as day-to-day,” Berhalter told Fox Sports on Sunday. “It really says a lot about Christian that he wasn’t playing for Chelsea but he wanted to come into this camp and be around the team.”

Pulisic was not in uniform for Chelsea’s 4-1 win against Sheffield United on Saturday, marking his third straight missed match since suffering a hamstring strain during pre-game warmups on October 30. Despite that time on the sidelines, Pulisic has still taken the trip from England to Wales for USMNT camp, with the hope of being able to feature in his first USMNT match in more than a year.

McKennie’s inclusion in USMNT camp came into question amid reports out of Italy that suggested Juventus would block call-ups for most of its players.

“With Weston, he’s arriving (Monday),” Berhalter said. “We were able to get him out of Italy. We know that the situations are changing by the hour, and Josh Sargent wasn’t able to join the team, but Weston is able to come, so we’ll see him (Monday).”

Sargent was ruled out of the current USMNT camp due to restrictions in Bremen, Germany, where Sargent plays, that would have caused him to miss Werder Bremen’s upcoming match against Bayern Munich had he joined the USMNT for the November friendlies. LA Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget has since replaced Sargent on the USMNT roster.

The Americans face Wales on Thursday in Swansea, then will take on Panama in Austria on November 16.

Comments

  1. My two cents — I want guys like Musah, Soto, and Cardoso to leave the camp convinced that the USMNT is the best opportunity in the world. I want them to see that the group they might play alongside (if they are able to earn it) at the 2022 World Cup– and at home in 2026 — includes some of the best young players in Europe, and that our project is unbelievably exciting. We don’t get many chances to have camps with our Europe-based dual nationals– this is a great chance and we should make it count.
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    So yes, I want to see us bring in all of our best players in Europe, including (especially) Pulisic. If Pulisic is ultimately withheld from the matches due to injury worries, it’s fine with me. But I’d rather have him in camp helping develop the group in advance of a big year, than twiddling his thumbs by himself in London.

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    • GB was sort of forced to call mostly Euro players for this one. Assuming all of these young ones look great, do you really think the bulk will be called next year for GC and/or qualifiers preparation?
      I for one, will be outraged if GB decides to go half MLS when these kids are better but because the games will be played in US soil he is forced to call MLSers.

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      • I don’t think your question really relates to my point in this case.
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        “do you really think the bulk will be called next year for GC and/or qualifiers preparation”
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        when did I suggest anything like this?

    • I agree with your overall point. I even agree more, (if it’s possible), with your 1st sentence. Personally, I would like those players you named to feel like USMNT is the best opportunity. If it takes an injured CP to help influence the decision making, so be it. It seems, the U20s and others look up to CP.

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    • You’re forgetting this is taking place in a pandemic in a locked down country with spiking and there are other risks to unbubbling and moving about — the ones invoked by Bremen to keep Sargent — on top of do we get him hurt playing a game that doesn’t count when he’s already proven himself. So even if he sits and almost more “coaches” this is not risk free. And I personally doubt we’d be so thoughtful as to call a player to serve as an unused leader. I think he’s there to play — with the associated risks. Like I said below, we don’t usually call hurt people to sit. He’s there to be used. And like I said below on “leader,” while I think he has the resume and honest vocality to command respect — as opposed to Berhalter or Ream — he’s a wing forward who has rarely been given the captain’s armband. Maybe this is GB giving that transition a shot. Or maybe it’s a coach willing to risk the meal ticket in fear of not having any security blankets out there.

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    • I also feel like the selling should be before the fact — if you want to be American commit before you play — and the game is the onus shifting to them to prove their value to us. We have lost like 1 player in several decades after being capped, even in a friendly. So instead of this desperate concern with “make sure they like me,” switch over to evaluating what they offer. This is like January camp. We don’t tend to be desperate about retaining January camp guys. Congratulations, you’re American, now what do you got? It’s a little bit of a loser mentality to be so afraid they will all walk. It should be more like, we’re glad you’ve chosen us and now show me why it’s you and not [Roldan/Holmes/Lovitz/etc.] Act like we’re successful and have some pride.

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  2. Just a thought. If Musah is trying out with us, it is for the first team. Why else would he be doing it since he is already in England’s youth setup.

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    • i don’t know why it can’t serve both purposes. the US had a real bad period in the early 2010s in terms of development, producing basically pulisic and little else. when you think of a frustrating player or position battle, they are usually closer to or past 30. all the talent is young. so the center of gravity with the talent is down around 20. you bring in a bunch of players for a senior game, it morally if not legally binds them to the team. that will solve 99.99% of the dual nationality fights like soto. you then see who stands out from the crowd this week. they hang around for qualifying. the ones who don’t impress so much, they become potential U23 olympians and/or U20s. at minimum the senior cap lightly ties them down. in theory they can escape but i’ve had one guy named to me in like 30 years who backed out after a friendly cap. i have pushed for more experimentalism and this becomes kind of like january camp for europe. there may be a limited amount still around months from now, but to me the idea is steadily identify and accumulate your best players, and do it based on game performance as opposed to assuming conclusions beforehand based on scouting and analytics.

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      • I agree with you as to the MNT’s plan but I was asking solely about Musah, he is already in the 2 or 3 team for England so for Musah trialing with us is only for the first team. The kid has never shown any interest until GB started to talk to him and his family. I don’t think there is much of an initiative for him to switch to our U20 or U23 team. Up to this point his moves has been to speed up his promotion, either for club or national team, he doesn’t struck me as one to wait for his turn for promotion. So, he is either good enough for our 1st team or he will remain with England. That is my guess.

      • In the past we were picking up players generally that other countries had cast off who were in their mid 20s like Jones, Regis, Castillo. US trained players generally went to college and then a few years in MLS so by the time a dual National showed promise we capped them. Green and Zelalem had to file a switch so they were not a risk to go back. By developing players sooner through academies and attracting younger international players the risk of losing someone is higher now than in the past. I agree it’s not the biggest concern but it will happen at some point.

      • LZ: You seem to be saying we have to offer him long term first team to lock him down. Reality is we rarely lose players that way, and when you cap him once in a friendly he can go around saying he’s a “senior international.” He already has the cred game 1 if that’s what it’s about. Now, if we’re saying he needs more of a commitment, all the coach should be saying is we like how you look and see a future, but as you said, it’s a try out. Show me something. Personally I think our approach to Dest — the scared approach you’re advocating — encourages players to play head games to jump the cap queue, “maybe I will play for Chile” when they have a line of USA on their resume, and I worry it encourages also a distortion where you commit to Dest-types with hints of desperation before they earn their spot. I support fast tracking players to caps but not making deals amd ignoring how the game went. If he’s great, he sticks. If he’s no good, you can play age group ball, or you can somehow imagine you will make the 23 for a world cup semi team when you’re marginal here. I don’t buy it.

    • Hi LZ– I think it’s reasonable to suggest that any of the teams looking at Musah (England, Italy, Ghana) would be looking at him as a senior player now. He has played more league minutes than any 17 year old in Europe this season (including Reyna), and appears to be a clear starter for a threadbare but overperforming Valencia side going forward. For comparative purposes, he’s played 3x as many minutes as Dest in La Liga thus far, and played an excellent 87 mins in the 4-1 over Real Madrid yesterday. He’s probably not going to be the kind of guy who gets released for U-23 camps, at this point.

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      • Gomer – England is currently stacked with talented midfielders, so guessing it may be difficult for Musah to break into there Sr. side right now. Not sure about Italy’s current team, but again hard for a 17 yr old to break into what is generally a world power in the sport.
        That leaves the US & Ghana as options if he wants Sr. International Team minutes right now. And if he’s looking down the roster of the USMNT and sees…
        Pulisic @ Chelsea, Richards @ BM, McKennie @ Juv, Adams @ RB, Reyna @ BvB, Dest @ Barca, all getting real minutes as young ages (U-23)….he could be seeing an opportunity to be part of a special group of players for the next 10 yrs.
        Pulisic doesn’t have to play in these games. But his presence in camp…interacting with the rest of these young guys many help sell the unity of the team to someone who’s thinking about his International options.

      • Gomer – I agree, Valencia is not going to release a player for a non-first-team call. So, my argument that he is only trialing for 1st team is valid/

    • I don’t think that Musah lived in England that long so perhaps he doesn’t feel very attached. Berhalter said they’ve been talking with him for a year and a half after Valencia informed assistant Nico Estevez, who used to work for Valencia, about him. I would imagine originally it was much like the pitch to Balogun come try it at this uncapping youth tourney but then Covid closed international soccer for 9 months and in that time he became a regular in LaLiga.

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  3. fighting with clubs over known quantity veteran players is silly. we know what we have and this is hardly the hill to fight over. bringing in injured star players is also silly. do we really need to risk hurting worse a key player, for a friendly? listing sargent without his club’s sign off is silly. i know the situation is unusual and we can’t force attendancee, but go through the motions. i feel like we are regressing in terms of lessons learned about how to run a national team. this was supposed to progress us to new levels not make me think he needs an international coaching 101.

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    • What?!? Our youngsters need all the time together that they can get, even if it means not getting on the field. Team building takes place off the field as well as on.

      CP is now a veteran, and he needs to be there to help acclimate and indoctrinate all the new faces. There are a couple that have yet to commit to the USMNT, Moussa and Soto, and having CP there to talk to them will help make sure that they make the best decision.

      Sargent was being bullied by the team, as so many other US players have been in the past. Using the Bremen health rules is just an excuse. There’s nothing that prevents Josh from joining the others and playing the first game, then going back to Bremen and quarantining for 5 days and be totally ready for Bremen’s next BL game. That’s how Brooks does it all the time, play the first game then get released to go back to his club team.

      GB has his faults with plenty to criticize, but criticizing him over calling up Sargent and CP is ludicrous.

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      • part of the reason for optimism in the team is the assumption CP is a foundation of it. if you get him hurt you undermine that foundation. he also can’t lead from example if he’s playing hurt. and while i like and think kids would respect CP, he’s not actually the captain.

      • again, what you’re missing is this is basic competence. you don’t announce a list without consulting the teams involved. you don’t announce a friendly list with hurt players. that is true whether we agree on specific selection or not. this is basic process. now if you want to get into selection i think we are smug and hype driven and confuse identifying our best players and promoting them with building an XI or 23 of the best players who perform when called upon. i think these games are more important for who else we learn about new than as the umpteenth pulisic showcase or another friendly win. the gold cup 2017 title was followed by missing russia. i don’t think y’all get what actually matters.

      • Sometimes I wonder if you actually read anyone’s comments to you, since your response indicates that you don’t.

    • @The Imperative Voice, we’re in a democratic country, so yes we all agree to disagree and respect each other’s opinion on this platform. you always bitterly talked as if you’re the only human on earth who understands football, and nobody else “get what actually matters”. If you’re as good as what you always claim you are, please go get the USMNT manager job. We all may be cheering for you!

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      • look, i respect that people can disagree about selection, but what is usually beyond dispute is international coaching 101 like you pick up the phone and call the teams whose players are being called to ensure release, you confirm with the players they want to play, and you leave off injured players for anything short of a must win game. we routinely leave MLS playoff players off of call sheets because we coordinate with the teams. maybe bremen bailed on us but i am kind of wondering if we called.

        among the reasons you call about players and/or leave off the injured is you want for your call sheets to stick, not to be desperately back on the phone finding subs for a national team game at the last minute. and to me the whole reason we wait til the last second is to avoid these conflicts and mistakes.

    • Actually, I thought the timing was GB called Sargent into camp (at least made his intentions known) before Bremen refused. After all if GB hadn’t called him, Bremen would have nothing to refuse. Sargent is hardly known quantity since he is still a work in progress; an in-person chance to see him work would be useful. It is hardly a wasted spot since GB called in his next choice. Although Lleget would not be my choice.

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      • they announced the team on 11/3 and by 11/5 bremen was like he’s not released — essentially that no one was being released. what i am questioning is did we bother asking bremen if he could play. this is normal process. my sense is a team with a blanket ban on release wasn’t asked or they would have said “no.” maybe they changed their mind, but i kind of doubt it. and i linked it up with calling pulisic because similarly you just don’t generally call injured players for games that count, or about anything short of a decisive qualifier you have to win or the world cup itself. it’s a stupid risk. the accumulated goofy choices to me suggest the coach is daffy.

    • Clubs are notified weeks in advance both when a player is being considered and when the final roster has been set. All clubs are aware well before it is released. USMNT medical staff has been in contact with Chelsea, they’ve seen all the scans seen the daily rehab updates. IV you show a fundamental misunderstanding of how the process works. Bremen didn’t just find out on 11/3 and Chelsea wasn’t surprised either in fact a club can reject any call up for medical reasons. If CP is in Wales it is because Chelsea said he could. The quarantine restrictions just went into effect on November 2 so it is much more likely Werder wasn’t planning on the quarantine after the window since there wasn’t one in October. When they looked at their roster they realized it would hinder their plans so they made the call late. That we had 4 players who can play as a #9 when we only use 1 at a time shows Berhalter was prepared for the possibility.

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      • What bothers me is that IV didn’t bother to contact Werder Breman regarding the order of events when the mandatory quoruntine went into effect before he made numerous erroneous critical posts wasting his and our time reading them. This is basic competence. Commentary 101..

      • no, i explained the process to you which you repeated back to me saying i misunderstood the same exact thing. this is not a process dispute. it’s a factual question. did he call or not. i think a team feeling bound by local laws or team policies right now would have said “no” if called. you seem to be implying we did call. the one relevant fact you offered is when the quarantine went into effect — though i knew days in advance of our stay at home order that it was being drafted — so let’s not assume they could only have known of a lock down the day it came. the rest is just banging the table when we either factually did our job or not.

    • IV – There currently isn’t a Captain for the USMNT. Gregg seems to change who wares the armband every camp if not every game. Ultimately I think the Captain will end up being a toss up between Adams & Pulisic.
      That said even if Pulisic isn’t a captain he is a Veteran among the players called. He’s been the face of this generation…and as such many of these new players look up to him. His being in camp, even if he doesn’t play this window, will be a positive for team chemistry.
      Pulisic, Adams, McKennie, Dest, & Reyna are all going to be a Major part of this team this Cycle and Next (Core). Masha, Richards, Ledezma, Soto, Cardoso, etc…are auditioning to join them for this Cycle. If they gel with the established core group, their integration into the team will likely be more positive and happen faster. And lets face it most of us are tired of seeing Roldan, Long, Arriola, and some of the other under performing MLS players on the roster sheet.

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      • i am pro experiment and have no problem with that. maybe specific players, particularly in the back. but general concept, run with it. we’ve had one game all year, need to look at a bunch of emerging young talent, and see if they can start or contribute to the 23. and i’ve said 20 times all they need to do to stick is be better than some schlub on the bench like roldan. which is a low bar.

        i actually see pulisic as a leadership figure in terms of the model of his performance and starting to vocally express what he feels about coaching decisions. whether GB sees it that way is another question. thus far he’s rarely been captain. i am fine with him being made into one. i think he would command much more respect as a prime age pro with a resume than faltering or mediocre veterans like bradley or ream. but the argument is of course he’s being brought in camp to teach and lead. possible. not a bad idea. but also not what his role seems to have been thus far. maybe they’ve wised up. maybe we’ve also grown a brain on some of the other formation/system/selection issues evident last season as well. we’ll see.

    • Sometimes you just can’t please people, no matter what you say or do, and you seem to be one of those people unfortunately….god bless you anyways!

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      • what about the results or how they have played so far conveys a coach tapped into genius? they’ve looked awkward and played mediocre. bradley went undefeated for most of his first year. Klinsi they struggled more but looked better, quickly spread out and knocked it around. you could see the stamp on the team and that it was positive. i’m waiting for upset results or us to look more drilled. some sign it’s working. otherwise it’s a lot of talent and arguably a weird coach getting in its way. i think you should be able with this bunch to put them out there in some vanilla arrangement with the right names out there in more or less the right places and it would mostly take care of itself.

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