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Pulisic, De La Fuente and Pepi headline USMNT squad for September’s World Cup qualifiers


U.S. men’s national team coach Gregg Berhalter has called in a collection of familiar faces for the upcoming Concacaf World Cup qualifying training camp, with one notable exception.

FC Dallas striker Ricardo Pepi has accepted a call-up to his first senior national team camp, and will join USMNT stars Christian Pulisic, Gio Reyna and Weston McKennie on the 26-player squad set to convene for training camp, which begins on Sunday, ahead of qualifiers against El Salvador, Canada and Honduras.

Pulisic has been included in the squad despite a recent positive COVID-19 test that threatened his availability for the upcoming qualifiers. He should be available for the matches against Canada on September 5, and Honduras on September 8, but remains a question mark for the qualifying opener against El Salvador on September 2.

Photo by John Dorton/ISI Photos

The squad features a total of six players who have previously played in World Cup qualifiers: Christian Pulisic (13 qualifying caps), DeAndre Yedlin (10), Kellyn Acosta (6), Tim Ream (6), John Brooks (4) and Sebastian Lletget (1).

Pepi is the lone uncapped player included in the squad, with Konrad De La Fuente the only other player in the group that wasn’t part of either the USMNT’s Concacaf Nations League-winning squad in June, or the Gold Cup-winning squad in July.

Eligible to play for the United States and Mexico, Pepi will take part in his first senior team camp, and is coming off scoring the winning penalty kick in the MLS All-Star Game on Wednesday. Pepi is currently the leading American goal-scorer in MLS with nine (tied with C.J. Sapong).

While the 18-year-old sounds ready to commit to the United States, playing in the September qualifiers would not cap-tie him to the United States under FIFA’s revised rules on player eligibility.

Berhalter focused on calling in players who have been playing regularly, which ruled out a handful of Gold Cup standouts who hadn’t seen much playing time in the weeks since the Gold Cup ended, such as Matthew Hoppe, Daryl Dike, Gianluca Busio, Reggie Cannon and Shaq Moore.

Photo by John Dorton/ISI Photos

Several Gold Cup standouts have been included in the group, including Miles Robinson, James Sands and Matt Turner.

Both Sam Vines and Matt Miazga were left off the squad after recently completing club moves, with Vines joining Royal Antwerp via transfer and Miazga joining La Liga side Alaves via loan.

The injury bug also kept out some regulars, including Gyasi Zardes and Paul Arriola, as well as promising young midfielder Yunus Musah.

The USMNT will gather in Nashville for training camp before traveling to El Salvador on Wednesday ahead of the first qualifier of the Octagonal round of Concacaf World Cup qualifying.

Here is the full USMNT squad for the September qualifiers:

USMNT Concacaf World Cup qualifying roster

(includes national team caps/goals)

GOALKEEPERS: Ethan Horvath (Nottingham Forest; 7/0), Zack Steffen (Manchester City; 23/0), Matt Turner (New England Revolution; 7/0)

DEFENDERS: George Bello (Atlanta United; 3/0), John Brooks (Wolfsburg; 43/3), Sergiño Dest (Barcelona; 11/1), Mark McKenzie (Genk; 6/0), Tim Ream (Fulham; 45/1), Antonee Robinson (Fulham; 12/0), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United; 9/3), James Sands (New York City FC; 6/0), DeAndre Yedlin (Galatasaray; 64/0), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; 17/2)

MIDFIELDERS: Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids; 37/2), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig; 14/1), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 29/7), Weston McKennie (Juventus; 24/7), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders; 25/0)

FORWARDS (8): Brenden Aaronson (RB Salzburg; 7/3), Konrad de la Fuente (Olympique Marseille; 1/0), Jordan Pefok (BSC Young Boys; 6/1), Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas; 0/0), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea; 38/16), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund; 8/4), Josh Sargent (Norwich City; 16/5), Tim Weah (Lille; 13/1)

What do you think of the squad? Who are you happy to see included? Who are you disappointed to see miss out on the call-up?

Share your thoughts below.


    • Foot speed obviously a problem for Ream however it’s not a straight correlation since he won’t have slow Lovitz next to him and slower Bradley in front of him. Also he started at LB the next time and had an assist.

  1. Like most of the comments here there are 2 names that clearly don’t belong on this roster. Neither Ream or Roldan have any place in a 30 man roster at this point…
    Ream – There are already 5 other CBs on the roster so why bring a 6th CB who’s too slow and a liability against anyone. I get that Richards, CCV, EPB, & Miazga are in club limbo….but Ream is a wasted roster spot even if he never plays.
    Roldan – Has shown time and again that he’s not an international caliber player. There are a wide range of better options (Williams, Luca De La Torre, Green, etc…) who should have been given the opportunity. All have recent experience with the national team (except Green), and all have earned opportunities ahead of Roldan.
    Like some others on here the midfield seems a little thin depth wise for this window….and to have wasted a roster spot on a player who’s proven unable to provide anything at this level is disappointing.

    • i think he may see ream as doubling as LB cover if his risky LB choices blow up on him. makes me nervous when a coach almost prices his anxiety into the roster. if you’re sufficiently uncomfortable at LB that ream gets the call as the fallback option then maybe pick different people to start with. and i’m not sure why vines isn’t the fallback, if performance matters more than just experience. maybe it’s a little standard US veteran bias coming back in. IMO often enough the veteran bias encourages us to do dumb things like lewis as a back, reyna one cycle too many, omar brought back, bradley on into this cycle.

      i think we are a little too one size fits all about how to handle club benching situations. (1) there are players like weah and horvath who seem very professional and ready to perform when called upon, despite being basically bench players in club. other benched players may in fact be slumping. don’t treat them the same. know your players. (2) similarly, a player fit and form enough to excel in gold cup, now on the transfer block, is being benched for asset protection reasons, is not a slump or fitness issue. treat that different. (3) what about talent? personally unless they haven’t played in 4 months, look gassed, or can’t kick a ball straight, favor your talent. to me by the point roldan makes it over green club form has gotten silly or you’re going way too circularly with “he’s my experienced regular,” which begs the question.

      if i had to get more punchy, get your head out of the analytics spreadsheets and remember what these players looked like in person.

  2. Not sure anyone included was a big surprise. I think most people predicting the roster has 28-30 guys included so only 26 accounts for the “snub.” I believe any of these guys could still be replaced as long as they were on the unpublished provisional roster so if Pulisic isn’t cleared Hoppe could still arrive. It appears guys with a deadline day move upcoming were left off to start training with their clubs. Ream is somewhat disappointing but given CCV, Richards, and EPB are all on the move it makes some sense. With 5 MF it seems will either see a 3 man backline or some combo of Sands, Reyna, Aaronson, or Pulisic will play MF some. Roldan like Lletget will be fine mixed with the Euro players as long as they can be the secondary player they’ll be fine. It’s not a perfect roster but it should be plenty good enough for 7-9 pts.

    • I think I would be happy with 5 points; win at home draw on the road. What team do u see Canada feilding against US? Strong for 2 home games or strong in US. Tough call; a lot of strategy. I think if win first at home, prob rest most of starters against US and try to get 3 in 2nd home game.

      • Herdman has tried to be “crafty” in the last two GCs, resting players against Mexico in 2019 and have Eustaquio pick up a time wasting yellow to sit US game so he’d be clear of yellows for knockout. Logically Canada needs to win their 2 at home and any point against US is gravy. BUT they would really love to poke us in the eye so who knows.
        I think 5 pts would be disappointing you need to get more than a draw against ES who is 7th or 8th best team in the Ocho even on the road.

    • i agree 5 MF = 3 backs but 5 MF would be a short stack for a 23 man much less a 26 man. and you don’t normally roster as though there is one possible formation and tactics. what if you are ahead or chasing? what if you

      i mean, the whole point to a 26 man is “more than you need.” to end up sucking air to start is goofy. little arrogant on his part, kind of like the 23 man stalemate squad arena had for couva. what if the game goes different than you drew it up? arena had very little on the bench to chase that game. so, what is your plan if an opponent requires more offense but not 5 backs. or gets a lead on us and you need more attackers.

      a lot of it, to me, is how on earth do we need 10 backs? that’s another tell we’re 343 or 352, is it’s like doubled bagged each spot. but since most of these back spots are interchangeable i don’t know why you need more than 8 or 9.

      and if 26 men leaves you with 28 people and 5 mids including a LF positive for covid, crap, call 28. are we saving money on plane tickets? like i said, whole idea to a long roster for a 3 game window is CYA. to still be dangling in spots is odd.

      • for comparison’s sake, canada listed 7 mids in a 23 man, honduras has 8 mids in a 28 man, and ES has 9 mids in a 27 man. regardless what your plans are, or who is double counted, 5 mids for 3 games is goofy, and with 3 games in a week or so we are calling fewer players than 2/3 of our opponents. they seem to be preparing for more rotation than we are.

      • I get your overall point but if we play a 3 man backline Dest and Robinson/Bello are going to be your outside midfielders with Wes and Tyler central and then Reyna and Pulisic underneath Sargent. Your not going to put all 5 midfielders on the field at once. You’ll still have 2 to 3 on the bench not matter if we play a 3-4-3 or 4-3-3.

  3. Acosta over Green is nonsense and mls politics. Where is Sabbi and Theo Sab (he hurt? Kid from Switzerland)? Mls hurts this team. Play ur best players.. even those not getting first team min in Europe are playing vs better players all day. Acosta is good but not on Green’s level. They should ALL go abroad.

    • I dont think Acosta is instead of Green who I believe is an attacking player. Right now, like it or not, Acosta is Adams backup. I don’t think we have a better player at that position to back up Adams. He tried others at Gold Cup (Yuell and Busio) and IMO Acosta outplayed them significantly. Who would you want as Adam’s backup right now? I think you need at least 2 on the roster as I dont see Adam’s playing all 3 games.

    • acosta is rostered to be either a single or double 6 in some order with adams. i will be interested which or both start. that is a destroyer position. green is an AM or forward. i think he would compare unfavorably to some of the starters, mckennie, pulisic, reyna, but still be roughly the same level as plenty of the konrad roldan sargent lletget types who also got rostered. he’s better than roldan. that’s your real beef there. and that also suits MLS conspiracy theories, though i think the coach’s actions can more easily be explained as circular veteran favoritism or his numbers fetish. though i am lost how 15 goals isn’t “form” if 6 goals is.

  4. Great! All these guys can handle this assignment. Fun to debate our preferences but everyone here can handle the CONCACAF opponents. LFG!!!

    I love GB trolling by including Ream. He probably made that selection while choosing which sneaks he’ll be wearing for each game and chuckling to himself.

  5. No Eryk Williamson? I would remove Roldan and replace with Williamson. A head scratcher selecting Ream I thought he came off in the first half of last weekend’s game with Fulham with what appeared to be a hamstring injury. Also selecting Robinson makes Ream unnecessary.

    • hurt back was what i read. two reasons to omit, other being suckiness. at CB he already has his 2 NL favorites, plus 3 guys who played well at GC. i half think it reflects he knows he is taking a LB risk. hint: ream ain’t fixing that one either. when you call “old reliable” the premise is they are in fact reliable. eg when old man beasley would get a call he hadn’t shipped a bushel. he was just slowing down.

    • personally i think we’re undermanned at mid and would have like both green and holmes in. but that groundwork needed to be laid this summer. if they are playing “8” i kind of want someone better going to goal.

      personally i see a contradiction between roldan as a stalemate kind of choice vs the wingbacks picked to go forward. to me GB still hasn’t decided whether this is a NL team (take attacking risks and allow some goals) vs a GC team (more like italy, 11 men defend, play for 1-0). roldan is 1-0. dest is 3-2. we’re kind of schizo.

      • Reyna and Aaronson both playing lots of mid for club… maybe GB is thinking that way too… and maybe 3 man back?

      • 10 backs and 5 mids screams 343. i do think he’s double counted some of his forwards as mid depth. all well and good unless pulisic misses games or you have to make formational/tactical shifts. you can’t play people in two positions same time. what if you are chasing a game, 343 isn’t working, and you have pulisic and reyna wide already, and want to leave them out there to create? you run out of mids to sub in. or what if pulisic is out and you can’t move aaronson? odd to me to call in more than 23 but still not have your contingencies and tactical changes covered.

      • Well- if it’s me and Puli and Reyna are in wide and I want to leave them in- I bring in Weah or Konrad on the right- bring Reyna into the middle for Lletget. Then again- if it were me- I would start the game that way or with Aaronson in the middle as he has clearly surpassed Lletget being creative, dribbling, pressing in the middle.

  6. – Timing is everything. With Dike and Zardes out, the door is wide open for Pepi. Here’s hoping the youngster just goes for it and impresses. With three games this window, he has a good shot at the field.
    – Note to Richards and Hoppe: Get your club situations in order. The transfer window closes at the end of the month. Playing time=WCQ selection. Ream is here because Richards needs to move to a team that will play him.
    – De La Fuente benefits from a timely transfer to Ligue 1, raising his profile. Weah breaking into a more prominent role at Lille certainly helps his cause. They are both ready to be big contributors.
    – We now see as many as three MLS players on this roster who are strong candidates for a January transfer: Turner, M. Robinson and Pepi.

    • apples and oranges. weah was the productive understudy to reyna the first part of the summer. not sure how his club form did a thing other than he showed up and played. conversely, konrad missed the whole summer, has 1 iffy cap total, but he gets ahead of hoppe based on 1 assist. you’re really pimping “club form” when “international form” would dictate opposite choices — and it’s the international team playing.

      • negative…Hoppe is not here because he just started training this week with his club team after being out since the GC with a stomach bug, plus he is still not sorted with hi club situation…you don’t bring players into wcq who are not in form/game shape, that’s soccer 101 I thought?!

      • Playing the last two weekends in any European league doesn’t mean you’re in form. My applause to those guys who are starting in one of the big five leagues in Europe but let’s be honest two games and a few preseason games, Hoppe played in preseason And had an extended stay in the US men’s national team where he was garnering minutes. Kind of hard to see how Konrad is more in form than Hoppe or how he better fits a team he has little to no experience playing with. At some point God willing Berhalter will call Julian Green and ask him to come in and hopefully Julian will be receptive. Part of me thinks hell I’m wearing the money in the Bundesliga why wrist that for an injury with the national team where I might only play one game anyway. By playing favorites Gregg is possibly alienating guys who were needed in the future may decide just to say no thanks. I understand Yedlin‘s inclusion due to his vast experience but there are three other guys not on this roster who performed fairly well is outside backs over the summer for the national team. DeAndre Really didn’t see much playing time last season the fact he started to games this season really makes me wonder and hope that he still has it.

    • also, while richards’ career is a work in progress, hoppe was contributing both places. i like richards but you can say he’s unproven, and a lot of that has to do with bayern. hoppe it’s like you’re punishing him and vines for doing well last caps and being in demand and thus bubble wrapped for transfer. which is an absurd way to run a NT. “let me sit the people who looked good enough for me a month ago people want to buy them so they’re not getting club minutes.” self defeating.

      • Yeah it makes you wonder would the European based guys like Hoppe, Busio, Vines, Cannon, Moore, all would have been better off having a preseason for a club like De La Fuente and just skipping Gold Cup

      • I find Hoppe to be a desirable “Spot” Player because he shows me that ability to be in the right place at the right time. That is something you can’t teach anyone, but all top goal scorers have it. There will come times where you need a goal to reach a certain plateau, and that is when you need to have someone like Hoppe who will find a way to score.

    • This is the first of several WCQ breaks, so there will be other opportunities to impress. KDLF ransfer and good play in Lihue 1 coincided well with this first roster selection. Doubt he would’ve gotten a call if still in Barcelona. If he and Pepi impress, it helps improve roster depth early in the WCQ cycle.
      The summer transfer ends in a few days, so wouldn’t be surprised to see some last-minute negotiating, and idle players like Richards and Hoppe suddenly moving, and possibly McKennie and Cannon. Teams wait until near the deadline to improve their bargaining position. By the January window, teams will be more financially stable and we could see more.key MLS players move.
      I’m pretty sure Ream knows his opportunities are reducing, and so where during this WCQ cycle he may be expendable.

      • i want talent there, i could care less how he assesses their last club game, that gets a bit silly of a roller coaster.

      • elaborating, sorry, i think it’s fake news that a player whose club situation is more stable in october is really that different a player than one unstable in september. several played GC as late as august 1. they are doing high level intensity club practices just not playing games. some may have played preseason games. talent is talent and they haven’t been sitting so long i buy they are unfit. it’s watching club form too closely. you aren’t literally a different player week to week or month to month. if you are sitting in late october still then we can talk. then you haven’t played in 2-3 months and are probably rusty and dragging. 3 weeks? no. you probably feel refreshed.

        by this standard all the euros teams should sit their players for quali who got long post-tournament vacations and sat the first league game or two. absurd. that’s actually a good way to identify your best players.

  7. At this point, it’s hard to say that Julian Green has any place in a berhalter selected team, which to me feels really unfair. i think he’s done a lot to earn a call-up, and seems to be held to a higher standard for club performance than others. Julian has as many goals in 3 matches (cup and league) this season as Lletget does in 10+, and that may not be an apples to apples comparison, but it is indicative that Green, who was really good last season and has played well so far, just isn’t in the plans.

    • Green is a good but limited player. End of story. This isn’t the mid 2000’s where his play would guarantee a call up.
      He was good in B2….not great. I watched many of his matches. He looks a clear step below in his first two Bliga matches. Furth is a B2 team playing in B1 this year. They r going right back down. That is not s shot, it is reality. Also, Green is not the type of player I want in Central America. Just isn’t up to it physically. If he was on the roster as a fringe player it would be fine, he isn’t and it’s fine. He was never gonna play much and isn’t an impact player TBH. This is going to happen more and more and the US roster deepens. Just because he plays in B1 this year, and scored a goal in 2014, doesn’s mean much anymore.

      • we’re calling sargent on modest production, pepi on a flyer, roldan, lletget. it is not inherently obvious green is worse. personally i would defend lletget from that group as quietly productive in an A team scenario. but there are several questionable choices he could beat out. i kind of think this decision was made when he didn’t play this summer, but then you have pepi and konrad out there.

    • well, Julian was called in for the NL camp and then was wanted for the Gold Cup, but his club declined his call up so they could keep him for preseason after their recent promotion, so that doesn’t sound like Greg doesn’t rate him to me

      • re “isn’t the type,” in central america i want a player or two who can put a shot exactly where they mean to. i think i can trust someone who can score on france or belgium for an “AJ against panama” style late winner. and if you look at the wingbacks i question how “rough and ready” we picked this. i like the CBs. i like the 6. weston would fight. i question how much of the rest are squabblers.

      • I keep hearing this from Berhalter defenders, but the fact is that Green has rarely played while Berhalter has been coach. I said this recently about something else but it has universal application–you can always find reasons not to do something. In other words, GB doesn’t rate Green for whatever reason, so he can always find some excuse to leave him out regardless of how Green is playing.

    • TK is president of the Julian Green haters club! Apparently, TK only watched Green in person, only to say his biased opinion. He never talks about Green’s quality. He’s been pushing this Green sux narrative for at least 4 years, now! Who scored has green in top 3 midfielders in B2 last year. Green, in front McKennie & Adams would be a CONCACAF nightmare.

      • my guess on GB on green is he has typecast him as a mid and then wants more of a two way grinder. he could also play F and god forbid you rostered some tactical flexibility into your roster, like sub mids whose mission in life is to score and not just hustle, if, say, we fell behind. it’s like arena in couva with mccarty and co. on his bench. your bench shouldn’t be identical player types that assume your game plan works perfect. some people in the bench should be there as offense if it goes badly. if roldan is the sub all you can do is grind.

  8. 10 defenders for 3 games strikes me as overkill. conversely, 5 mids for 3 games strikes me as insufficient. now, you could double accounting aaronson but you can play him both places; he’s the only proven LF sub and listed as a forward on that basis. if he plays mid — and he wasn’t so good at that — then konrad becomes the wing sub, which, he has 1 ok cap, and people don’t seem to consider you might be asked to sub in a tie or losing game and try to impact. and you could as i have suggested, push back reyna and/or pulisic, but that would be untested in NT games.

    nope, you only needed 8 backs — it tends to be a continuity position, and the starters are the emergency subs for the rotationals — and you probably should have 7-8 mids. maybe suggests we’ll see plenty of 343 which works out as 5 backs and 2 nominal mids. not sure if that’s a wise road quali idea.

    • there is also a house of cards risk to pulisic as LF (covid test) backed up by aaronson (who is also your MF sub when you only rostered 5) backed up by konrad (1 cap). if a guy might miss the whole set his backup needs to be a dedicated player, not your double counted MF sub. and if aaronson might also be used as MF meaning konrad could see the field then maybe not a guy with 1 OK cap as the last ditch choice. that’s not well thought out.

      • the forwards are generally decent, i think omitting zardes and dike shows some coaching maturity, but i think LF is a potential mess for the reasons i just said. the names would be fine if everyone was healthy and he had 6-7 mids called. he’s not sure when pulisic comes in, what shape he is in, and he’s double counting aaronson in two places.

    • hard for me to believe we can’t do better than roldan at mid, particularly if you call 5 people ensuring everyone needs to play a lot. odd that busio appears on the website’s array of rosterees (if you scroll over USMNT on USSF site) but none of the lists. uninspired. people who thought he looked ok in group miss that final round qualifying is a step up from group play. he has always looked anonymous when asked to step up.

    • Reyna could also play in the midfield. The line up to me suggests we will play a back 3 at least once. With 5 subs I would expect several players to play all 3 games.

      Leaving Zardes and Dike off is almost certainly because of injury (at least in Zardes case) so i don’t think you can credit Berhalter who in the same roster has taken Tim Ream.

  9. Many commenting on Ream. I mean, looking fwd to moving on BUT the guy brings experience and overall a solid player vs the level of competition this window.

    Its Roldan that gets me. WTF!
    What did he show during a month long tourney to warrant a call. He tried his best to lose games when he was out there.

    • in games this cycle that he played, we shipped 1 and 2 goals (mexico split), 2 goals (panama), a goal within 2′ of him subbing in (swiss loss), 1 goal (northern ireland), 1 goal (jamaica loss), 3 goals (venezuela loss), and 2 goals (canada loss). does quality of experience matter or does mere quantity suffice? and a few of those, canada, panama, personally responsible off the top of my head, and three of those teams are qualified regional opponents. for that matter, while holding over competent, fit, and young players they are being sat, he was just out for a game with a back injury. i guess we are carrying hurt players again.
      complete loss.

    • Let’s hope Ream is not deployed as a LB at any point. He’s speed or should I say lack there of is highly concerning I can only imagine him getting grounded grabbing a jersey and having a penalty kick called. Deployed centrally is decent out wide I cringe. I’m just really confused that none of Cannon, Vines or Shaq Moore were called in

    • Met Roldan in person, wonderful guy, really nice to chat with, easy going, would play pickup or train with anyday, but I must agree he does not belong on national team. Character/good teammate pick maybe, along with the Ream choice?

  10. Definitely a lol on Ream…. Not sure how a Richards getting minutes, even a few, for Bayern isn’t a better choice than Ream, specifically. There are three players who can play left back on the roster without Ream. Same for LCB. Richards could play there as well as he did for Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga last season.


    Pulisic Aaronson Reyna (all three switching up positions during the game)
    McKennie Adams
    Dest Brooks Robinson Yedlin

  11. I don’t get how we can leave home players who demonstrated in the Nations League and / or Gold Cup that they can prevail against the very teams that we will face this window in favor of players that did not contribute at all and may have never played for the team or have been absent for many months. I am all for Yedlin, Ream and Pepi being (re)introduced in a friendly but not when the games actually count.

  12. As I feared, no Julian Green. And a couple of people admonished me for worrying. I’m really unhappy with some of his defensive picks like Tim Ream, which is a joke. I don’t like McKenzie and I thought Zimmerman was so bad last night he played himself off the team. Even if he has only been on the bench at Bayern, Richards showed himself to be a top player at Hoffenheim. I would take him and Miazga ahead of any of the 3 I just singled out. Even given all that we should get at least 7 points out of the 3 games.

      • when a player is hated by this fanbase, circumstance, logic or any other tool that measures sound decision making doesn’t matter unfortunately! Fans want what they want, even to a fault!

    • well, Richards isn’t at Hoffenheim right now, he’s stuck on the bench at Bayern, and there continue to be rumors that he’s getting another loan or a transfer, so him not being here makes sense. The bigger point is that this is just ONE window guys, chill geez!!

    • i think richards on paper should fit in with this group. mckenzie is not incredible or flawless. i like robinson, sands, and zimmermann, but that’s roughly his prospect cohort. it boils down to certain ones played and others didn’t. i think it was his choice and hasn’t played out well. i think a brighter coach would have fought him on it. to be fair, if you dropped ream and brooks i’d say the CBs are solid and richards would have to outplay someone. unlike mid i’m not nervous we have enough people or enough quality called. i do agree richards might be better than one or the other but he made a silly bet bayern camp would leap him past a group that then played well in GC. he’s a sub for bayern.

      reynolds made the same bad bet, though ironically it played out different.
      cannon and moore looked good but it didn’t matter one bit and the coach circled back around to dest and yedlin from NL. so we’ll see if they can mark in a qualifier.

      with this coach i see richards as a 2026 guy. i don’t think that’s an accurate talent assessment but club form matters too much and even if he sorts that out it will take half the year to prove it did. so his best chance this cycle is maybe next year trying to shove out people who get half a year of caps. he has not set himself up well for short term success. maybe if he transfers.

      • One thing that I saw, in the limited games I’ve seen Richards play, is that he has a propensity for making knuckle-headed giveaways, much like Sands did in the Gold Cup and in the MLS Alstars game. Maybe CONCACAF teams won’t punish those bloopers, but better opponents will. Robinson and Turner can’t bail them out every time. So I have no problem leaving Richards out, but wonder why Sands is still in. Sure they are both young and they may clean up their mental/concentration errors, but I would like to see fewer errors from them before I included them on a WC roster.

      • This is a bit harsh on Sands. He had one clear bad turnover that nearly cost them vs. Mexico, but this idea that he had a bunch of such turnovers just isn’t reality, not at the Gold Cup.

        And to be clear, all defenders make bad passes. Even John Brooks, who sets the standard for passing among American defenders, has been known to hit a bad one or turn one over.

        That being said, I agree that you don’t want to have a player who makes that a habit, but I also think sometimes people get it stuck in their head that someone is prone to them just because they commit one that you happen to remember, in a big moment or game.

  13. Interesting that none of the European guys that played in Gold Cup are here. Hoppe, Busio, Vines, Gioacchini, all left off. Makes you wonder if they would have been better served skipping Gold Cup to have preseason with their club.

    • I think that Berhalter is consistently inconsistent. If he was serious about the only players playing rule, he wouldn’t call in Horvath.

      • ?? Horvath has started in goal 2 out of the 5 matches contested for Nottingham Forrest! I wouldn’t call that “not playing” at all!

    • You have to look at quality over replacement. Vines just got to Belgium and could use the time with Anderlecht, is he significantly better than Bello or Robinson? No. Hoppe had a week off then got sick and missed more time and is likely to have a new club in the next week. Is he better than CP, Weah or Konrad? Probably not significantly. Busio and Nico the same haven’t played yet this season, are they significantly better, no. Does Busio have more potential than Roldan of course but they both played in MLS and Roldan has played better than Busio. Horvath has played a couple matches as RonnieT pointed out but also is he significantly better than Sean Johnson? Yes, yes he is.

  14. it is idiotic to leave off players who played well, were fit, and were getting gold cup minutes in a tournament that lasted until august 1. anyone has played could tell you they did not magically lose all fitness in 3 weeks. you were game fit as of august 1. you have been practicing regularly since then, as your team is in action. if anything they are probably fresh.

    i also think it’s laughably indicative of the absurd “club form” mentality to think someone you liked as of august 1 magically sucks now. to be fair, dike sucked then so that’s no change. but some of the players “sitting” are “sitting” because they showed so well they have transfer interest. to leave someone off of quali because they showed well enough at gold cup to garner transferability, as though they are playing poorly, is moronic and literally self-refuting. horvath isn’t playing either, why’s he on here? well, because we assume someone who was a stud 2 months ago for this same team doesn’t suddenly suck. i mean, really. man is an idiot. more talent around than he can shake a stick at, which is why we win, but he’s an idiot. who leaves off perhaps 1/5 of their team on club form grounds. like “let me fight you hand tied behind my back.” silly.

    • this is full of so many wild takes and overly-reactive, incendiary nonsense that it’s hard to even address point-to-point, but lets try.
      I’ll answer some of these quotes of yours “when they signed you based on gold cup (vines) i kind of think they assumed you’d be called for qualifiers. that feels like a PR dodge. he took a risk on robinson (lousy defender, poor recent games) and bello (barely used)” – Neither Robinson in the pool, Jedi or Miles, is a “lousy defender” or has been poor recently. Clubs also don’t assume players will be called into X intl games when they sign a player, and Sam Vines was rumored to be on his way out of MLS to Antwerp before the Gold Cup barely after the USA squeaked out their first match vs Haiti. This idea that the Gold Cup earned his transfer is nonsense. “it is idiotic to leave off players who played well, were fit, and were getting gold cup minutes in a tournament that lasted until august 1. anyone has played could tell you they did not magically lose all fitness in 3 weeks” – You clearly have no idea what goes into professional-level match fitness, sharpness, etc. “horvath isn’t playing either, why’s he on here?” – Didn’t catch the recent Nottingham forest match, did you…? “i think omitting zardes and dike shows some coaching maturity” – Zardes is out 2-4 weeks with a hamstring issue…”aaronson but you can play him both places; he’s the only proven LF sub and listed as a forward on that basis. if he plays mid — and he wasn’t so good at that — then konrad becomes the wing sub” – This is a great example of how to show everyone you don’t watch our players matches at club level without telling us you don’t watch them at club level. Oof.

      • you’re just missing my coaching point. you can’t set up a team with a covid-test problem as starter, a guy you also want to play mid as his backup, and a third guy who has 1 OK cap. if you can’t follow how that could blow up on you, not my problem. it’s kind of like having too few wings for gold cup when arriola got hurt. i don’t care if you like konrad, i think he’s an interesting prospect, the point is 1 cap that did ok and it’s too too easy for a scenario to play out where he gets relied upon to do something.

      • antonee robinson is a poor defender. he gets caught way up. he is a winger posing as a back. i would never say miles sucks on defense, he was probably the best defender at gold cup.

        bello has 1 cap and likely has to play in rotation. if you shift dest to LB then cannon and moore got left off. yedlin sucks these days.

        you don’t see how wing back is a mess the way he arranged it?

      • sorry, you can baldly state “i don’t get professional match fitness” but someone who was fit and quality august 1 is not huffing and sucky august 26. complete malarkey. and it particularly does not convince when they were playing well 3 weeks ago. as with many club snobs you are reading what you want into omissions that may in fact reflect the positive evaluation of “you are so good i can make money selling you.” be like saying messi sucks if barca sat him before they sold him. it does not mean that at all. one is protecting an asset. the other is sitting someone for sucking. there is an obvious difference.

        basically, he takes club form waaaaay too serious. you don’t start to suck in 3 weeks. you don’t erode fitness that fast. you don’t lose quality that fast.

      • IV: As for Pulisic the US staff has access to Pulisic’s medicals. They will know if he is still positive and if he has had any symptoms, likely even have reports of his vitals from any solo training he’s done. If he developed symptoms it would one thing to take a risk on him but USSF would know if he had, where we do not.

      • my point is konrad is a riskier LF choice, fewer caps, less proof of concept, and he is in line behind a player with a positive covid test and a player being double counted as a mid. knowing that scenario, why not hoppe who has more caps and proof of concept. and why not 6 or 7 or 8 mids so that if pulisic is out for covid you haven’t boxed yourself in with aaronson double counted at another spot. the problem with such double counting is you then literally need to be able to move as needed. if pulisic can’t play then you can’t double count aaronson. he has to be LF. you then have 5 MF and that’s it. i am trying to avoid his GC scenario of running out of wings. he may have system ideas but the man rosters goofy. you can see ahead of time how it could go bad.

        i understand you’re saying they are possibly in contact on pulisic’s testing, but i am saying that is a dynamic process about which the roster makes risky assumptions. and regardless if asymptomatic, hoping he tests negative is not the same as “he watches the practices” in the sense of planning ahead. we can’t control his viral load and how he tests. we can control rostering for the contingencies. i explained why i see it as a potential house of cards.

    • you can’t say out of your mouth that people are reading into these “omissions” what they want to, when that’s exactly what your doing and have a history of doing! No one knows for sure why certain players weren’t called in but you can make a logical, educated guess on some that make a ton of sense. For instance Hoppe not having a single training session or game since Aug 1 means he’s not in shape to play in a game like a wcq, i this was a friendly match, sure, the same goes for Shaq Moore, Reggie Cannon and even Chris Richards. Richards got his first 45 minutes in Bayern’s last game but he’s clearly not in the type of shape to play in wcq, plus there are “rumors” he’ll be loaned out or transferred any day now(for what it’s worth). At the end of the day this is ONE window as I’ve been saying, so I don’t understand the need to bitch about one or two players not called up when wcq is a long process with multiple windows.

      • you’re having a logic problem. all due respect but when you have one mediocre cap and missed all summer he COULD ONLY POSSIBLY be reading things into club form. there was little to read into his international cap at all, besides meh. and last year he was at barca B, which was not enough to get this coach to call him, no matter how well it went.

        BY PROCESS OF ELIMINATION, HE IS BEING CALLED BASED ON ONE ASSIST IN 3 WEEKS OF FIRST DIVISION SOCCER. what other calling card does he have this coach is responding to? he had hoppe in for a month if it was about international play. it’s club ball. and a very small sample size. ending in his last game he was back on the bench……

        you’re acting like i am speculating but it’s actually an easy matter of logic, of crossing out the boxes that don’t explain his inclusion.

  15. Not my favorite choices. But getting Pepi in rather than Hoppe makes sense.
    Richards in place of Ream/McKenzie will just have to wait until he gets playing time.
    I get that Roldan is a Berhalter fav, but I think Julien Green or Luca Dela Toure adds more to the team.
    The inclusion of Sands and so many centerbacks leads me to think we will see the 3-4-3 at some point.

  16. Can’t argue with any of those except maybe Ream and I guess as long as Berhalter is coach we’re going to have to suffer Ream call-ups.
    So be it, I guess. Good to see Pepi and La Fuente included. One guy I think might take this opportunity to make a real case for himself is George Bello; the guy was in absolutely rampaging form last night against the Liga MX guys and if he can continue playing like that I can genuinely see him on the plane to Qatar and maybe even starting there. Shocked me; I had no idea Bello had that kind of ceiling – always had him in the “athlete but needs work” category – but he was flashing mad stuff last night. Whatever, he’s got a window now and could really make a case for himself. Zimmerman did not look 100% last night and you can tell he’s been out awhile.
    At some near point in the future I’d also really like to see Gio Reyna bump inside and let either La Fuente or Aaronson start on the wing opposite Pulisic; a Reyna/McKinnie/Adams central midfield would be as good as well, anybody’s, IMHO, and it’d give us another lethal dribbler on the wing as well opposite Pulisic.Be real interesting to see if La Fuente and Pepi can put their feet down on some spots. Big window here for them I think they may.

  17. What does Ream have over Berhalter? Ream is not going to be any faster. The emergence of Milles should have made Ream obsolete.
    I do like the selection of Bello. He is playing with confidence. He showed it last night in the All-star game. I thought for sure Hoppe was going to make it, but I guess he hasn’t played since the GC put his place in jeopardy.

  18. Lleggett is no game-changer, Lleggett is good when the midfield is control by Adams or McKennie.

    Roldan plain sucks.

    Pepi could still be mold and gain from experience.

  19. when they signed you based on gold cup (vines) i kind of think they assumed you’d be called for qualifiers. that feels like a PR dodge. he took a risk on robinson (lousy defender, poor recent games) and bello (barely used) and vines is healthy. i don’t buy vines’ team was like please leave him off so he can bed in here. i assume half the reason they went to MLS and picked vines from a hat is “national team starter.” i am watching la liga this fall and see plenty of euros players feet up in a barcalounger as they are eased back into their teams. if they like you they don’t tend to care, unless you come back dented. then they whine.

      • you’re assuming he goes straight down the depth chart and doesn’t put in ream as “experience” if the starter has a rough go. i could see any of the 3 starting for this coach. i could also see him starting one of the younger players with ream as his “reliable” fallback. i kind of doubt the premise would be if robinson sucks put in the relative new bello to stabilize. there is no overtime here so i doubt the young player is subbed in to chase a late result. i think the whole way this was set up was dest backed by yedlin and then the kids with ream as reserve. that better explains vines, cannon, and moore — “been there before” — than the rubbish for public consumption about club form. but yedlin and ream while veteran quali guys are worse players so he came up with an excuse. but the whole idea is if robinson or dest blow up this is your in case of fire break glass contingency. which, like i said elsewhere, goofy to build your own nerves in your roster. courage of your convictions, roster the talent, trust the kids.

  20. It sounds like GB did the obvious with Pepi. Invited him and told him he was/would be an important player for the US. Still. Playing does not cap tie him to the US because of his age, he could still make a onetime change to Mexico later. It does sound like he and GB have developed a good relationship, something that will matter in the future.

    • Actually, if Pepi plays in World Cup qualifying, that does officially cap tie him, since any official senior match (outside of friendly) cap ties players.

    • True but once he plays a game, he’d have to then not play for the US for 3 years to then switch to Mexico. So that scenario seems unlikely if he’s even half decent.

    • Clover, most likely. You could have a situation where he has a falling out and doesn’t except another cap or the coach never calls him again for someone reason. The revision to the rule was just to keep teams from promising playing time, playing for 10 mins at the end of blowout match against a minnow and not calling again.


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