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McKennie returns, but Pulisic and Reyna to miss USMNT October qualifiers


The U.S. men’s national team will have one of its biggest names back for the October Concacaf World Cup qualifiers, but will also be missing its two best attacking players for the upcoming matches against Jamaica, Panama and Costa Rica.

Weston McKennie headlines the roster for the upcoming USMNT qualifiers, Christian Pulisic and Gio Reyna have been ruled out of the upcoming USMNT qualifiers after neither recovered from injuries sustained during the team’s September qualifiers.

Gregg Berhalter has called in a 27-player squad for the October qualifiers, a group that features the return of veterans Gyasi Zardes and Paul Arriola from injury.

McKennie is back with the team after being suspended from the squad in September after violating team rules, which caused him to miss the team’s draw with Canada and win in Honduras.

Concacaf Gold Cup standouts Gianluca Busio, Matthew Hoppe and Shaq Moore have made their way back to the team after they all missed out on the September qualifiers.

Among the notable omissions are strikers Jordan Pefok and Josh Sargent. The duo both started qualifiers in September, and both have been playing regularly for their club teams in the weeks since, but Ricardo Pepi’s emergence, Zardes’ return and Matthew Hoppe’s ability to play striker gave Berhalter some other options to turn to.

The USMNT will convene in Austin, Texas next week ahead of the October 7 qualifier against Jamaica at Q2 Stadium.

Here is the USMNT roster for the October Concacaf World Cup qualifiers:

USMNT roster for October’s World Cup qualifiers

GOALKEEPERS: Sean Johnson (New York City FC), Zack Steffen (Manchester City), Matt Turner (New England Revolution)

DEFENDERS: George Bello (Atlanta United), John Brooks (Wolfsburg), Sergiño Dest (Barcelona), Mark McKenzie (Genk), Shaq Moore (Tenerife), Tim Ream (Fulham), Chris Richards (Hoffenheim), Antonee Robinson (Fulham), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United), DeAndre Yedlin (Galatasaray)

MIDFIELDERS: Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig), Gianluca Busio (Venezia), Luca de la Torre (Heracles), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Weston McKennie (Juventus), Yunus Musah (Valencia), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders)

FORWARDS: Brenden Aaronson (Red Bull Salzburg), Paul Arriola (D.C. United), Matthew Hoppe (Mallorca), Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas), Tim Weah (Lille), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew)


  1. Overall the roster is what I’ve come to expect from Berhaulter.
    – There were the usual group of players that make us fan’s wince in pain (Ream, Roldan, Arriola, Zardes).
    – There are the head scratching omissions (Scally & Green)
    – There was “A” player I was pleasantly surprised to see (Luca DLT)

    Considering Pulisic & Reyna haven’t really returned from injuries sustained during the last window, I get keeping them home with their clubs. However, with no limitations on # of players invited to the camp…I don’t get not including a couple extra names. Especially if they could provide cover at multiple positions (Scally & Green). We have 2 home games against teams towards the bottom of the table, so why not include Sargent (who could use a confidence boost) or Jordan (who’s actually doing fairly well with his club) to get them more experience in a friendlier environment?
    Gregg’s decisions and selections continue to leave a lot to be desired.

    • You should only speak for yourself about wincing in pain about players like Arriola and zardes being on this roster. These are more than solid selections and if there is a reason to wince in pain. It is that US fans, a good segment of em, can’t see this.

      • Everyone here, including Space, is speaking for themselves.

        But if he was trying to speak for a large segment of the USMNT fan base,he’d be on solid ground.

        You seem to believe Ariolla, despite strong evidence to the contrary,is worth calling up.

        Zardes’ value is less clear mostly because he’s been away so long it’s difficult to know what to expect.

        But historically they are two players who are painful to watch amd whose most productive moments for the USMNT have come vs weak teams.

        Ariolla for example played miserably vs Trinidad at Couva.

        That would have been a great time to prove his critics wrong.

        In terms of overall performance he’s going to have to go a long way to make up for a thoroughly less than mediocre USMNT career.

    • Vacqui, it didn’t sound like he was speaking just for himself. It doesn’t matter, the larger issue is whether these players mentioned are worthy of wearing the jersey, and there is a simple answer. They absolutely are! Zardes has improved his game over the years, and is right now, a dangerous weapon for the national team. His numbers prove it. Arriola, has a motor that is unmatched in the pool, and he has chops. He’s a finisher, and another player who has improved over his career. Sometimes it seems like many US fans can’t appreciate a player who might be smaller, or slower, or whatever. Kyle beckerman, great player, under appreciated by many fans. Eddie Lewis, Tony sanneh, there have always been players under appreciated, or that were late bloomers. It gets old hearing fans have an opinion about players, that might not be as sound as they think it is. How many US fans just could not stand Michael Bradley. MB90? Wow!!! It just seems like maybe when it comes to the national team, there can perhaps be to many opinions.

      I went back and looked. Arriola only played the first half against TNT. He played the full 90 in the game before, against Panama. 4-0 USA, 4th goal assisted by Arriola

  2. I’m confused by the 27 number. Hopefully they have plans ready to replace players who are injured/ill and actually get guys in in time. Had heard they thought either Reyna or Pulisic would join at some point which would be 28 or 29 but Berhalter seemed to put that as a low possibility. Gregg also to me seemed to indicate Scally might be in for November when it was only 2 matches so he had more training time to learn, having never been with the group. Bob Knight wrote a book about 10 years ago where he said he always planned for the worst case scenario because then you were still prepared if everything went right. I think Gregg is the opposite plans assuming everything will go exactly how he thinks and then has trouble adjusting, both in games and in roster builds. Both in GC and first window we had injuries to the wing group but yet again we have few natural wingers if say Arriola gets hurt. Player wise there certainly are some personal preferences but I don’t think there’s great differences between fringe guys on and fringe guys off.

    • At least it is a little more balanced positionally with 8 midfielders. Yedlin and Dest could play wide midfield in a pinch. Maybe US soccer limits the total number of players he can call in. I counted 8 MLS field players so that is a good mix with 16 European since travel is tough and there are three games in window. Hopefully he has a backup plan to bring in MLS players in the event of injury but I dont know who they would be as I dont know too much about MLS other than the pkayers I see on Nats that ate already called in.

    • This is the most puzzling thing to me. He brought in 26 last time then lost 4, had to bring in 2 more. So the response is to bring in only 27? USSF must have tons of $, so I can’t understand why he doesn’t bring in 30 to be safe. What does that hurt?

      • As I said it is baffling, especially considering Steffen, Ream, and ARob will not be able to travel to Panama. I don’t think USSF has tons of money given Covid has cut attendance profits, no MWC payments, lawyer fees from women’s lawsuit. I don’t really think that is playing a role though. I think it’s more GGG is concerned with having too large a group that they are losing reps and/or focus in tight windows with limited training and prep time.

      • For some unknown reason, MLS plays through the FIFA windows, which means bringing in extra MLS players in case of injury would cause them to miss club games and could impact their standing and playing time with their club teams so while I agree it would help the US team, it could be bad for those individual players. I hope he at least has a list of people he could call in from MLS in the event of injuries or suspensions.

    • So your advice to Gregg is to through a huge fit, use every cuss word there is in an epic tirade while throwing a chair onto the pitch…if everything goes wrong. That kind of preparation?

      • A. Rob and Ream are from the Full Ham. They are in the Championship. As with last round in Honduras, A. Rob can travel to the Central America, which includes the Panama.

      • Being that negative obviously has impacts on your personality, but it didn’t feel like we had a plan to replace anyone if someone got hurt. This was a foreseeable problem because it basically happened 15 minutes into the GC too.

    • Quaker Otis: it goes by country not region, Panama is a UK Red List country. Mexico and Costa Rica are also on the list, Honduras is not. Both the EPL and EFL Championship blocked players from playing matches in those red list countries because UK rules require all travelers who have visited one of those countries to quarantine for 10 days regardless of vaccination status. It does not sound like those decisions will change before next week unless you read updates information I didn’t find. Jamaica’s Championship players did not travel to Mexico or Costa Rica last window.

    • Adams, Brooks, Yedlin, and McKennie are all on a yellow card and would be suspended for Panama if they pick up cards against Jamaica. Unlikely they all get one but I’d put decent money at least one will be unavailable.

  3. So, based on these selections, what do we think the starting 11 will be:

    dest, brooks, mckenzie, Robinson
    Adams, McKinnie, Busio
    Weah, Pepi, Aaronson?

    • It will change with each game.

      For me, best XI is:

      Dest, M. Robinson, Brooks, A. Robinson
      Musah, Adams, McKinnie
      Aaronson, Pepi, Weah

      • Or, with a 3-back system discussed below:

        McKenzie, M. Rob, Brooks
        Dest, Adams, McKennie, A. Rob
        Weah, Pepi, Aaronson

        I could easily see GGG puting Adams at RCB in this system and then Musah in the midfield, or taking A. Rob out, starting Dest at LWB, and having Yedlin at RWB. My invaluable two cents.

      • I think you have the lineup against Jamaica except I think Berhalter will go with Acosta instead of Adams to try to manage his time since coming off an injury, Lletget for Musah since he is likewise recovering from injury, and Hoppe instead of Weah based on Gold Cup performance and his ability to go find the game if it isn’t coming to him, but I’m usually wrong.

    • Finally, a thread that is forward thinking! The trio of Weah, Pepi, BA ; or Weah, Hoppe, BA; or Hoppe, Pepi, BA or even Weah, Pepi, LDT should excite fans. Musah, LDT, Richards inclusion would bring some excitement because these 3 will connect the defense with the attack. Waiting for the proper article to drop my XI v Jamaica, but Acosta definitely starts at the 6. He’s always game to play Jamaica.

  4. Lots of critics, but these players make their living from their club teams, not playing for the US. The European based players that aren’t included may have been involved in the decision. If there is very little chance of them playing or they are there just there in case someone gets hurt, they might not want to come. Brad Freidel basically gave Arena and ultimatum to play him or he wasn’t coming. The travel is difficult, they don’t get paid if they don’t play, they usually have to miss club games on return, and COVID restriction on travel complicate it even further.

      • I agree with you that 30 would have been a better number with a few more MLS players. I was responding to the numerous negative posts about specific European players that were not included.

  5. I think that a 30 man call-up would be best. It would allow for Pefok, Scally and Green to be added without the need to drop anyone. I am not a fan of Roldan or Ariola, but OK. I do not know what Ream brings that Zimmerman does not, but neither should start when you have Robinson, Brooks, Richards and McKenzie. Sean Johnson over Horvath is also a head-scratcher, but Turner should start all 3 games and Stefan is a capable back-up so that probably is meaningless to argue about.

    • I think it’s likely he’s the 3rd in line behind Turner and Steffen and either Ethan asked or Nottingham asked for him to stay since he’s unlikely to play.

      • And if they called in Horvath they’d have had to call in a 4th keeper/Johnson so they would have a backup in Panama since neither Horvath or Steffen will likely be permitted to travel there. Juice ain’t worth the squeeze to be a deep backup for 2 matches. May as well let Horvath get settled with his club.

    • Rico, Good point about the Panama game where Steffan and Horvath are likely unable to be able to play.
      Doesn’t the same logic rule out A. Robinson and Ream there? All the more reason to have included Scally.
      For the Panama game the US is down to 24 to chose from.

      • Yeah it does stand to reason- not quite as thin as the prospect of having no backups- but… Scally with his versatility/ability to play left and right would definitely help in that scenario. I suspect for Panama we’ll see GB put Dest on the left and Yedlin on the right. That gives A. Rob the starts on the L for Jamaica and Costa Rica… Dest on the right for Jamaica- maybe Shaq v Costa Rica. Like a lot of people- I’m not sure why we’d go w/ 27 on the roster after being caught out last go around. Can’t say I’m surprised though. Adding Konrad and Scally would def make for a more balanced, complete roster, but… LoL same-ol same ol. For my sanity- I’ll assume I’m not privy to critical information GB has which would make sense of this.

  6. I love how everyone on here has their drop dead opinions on roster selections. Of course none of you are privy to discussions between player, club, doctors and now even leagues regarding what is best for players. Tough to call for someone’s job when you don’t know all the Information. Well I guess that is just how the world operates now.

      • I’m so sorry. My sarcasm wasn’t clear enough. Of course people are going to have opinions! What’s wrong with you? This is a fan site! Ives even regularly invites opinions. Arriola sucks and couldn’t even break through on Swansea. What’s he doing on the roster? There. I have an opinion too.

  7. when i say sometimes i wonder if GB watches the games, how do you pick arriola over nico after gold cup? like he obviously thought that “before” based on who he ran out for game 1. but still thinking that “after?” i could think of other, better wings (IMO) but i think he picks for types and as such it takes aeons to catch on that some other slightly different “type” is simply a better player and fudge your “type” obsession then. also the “type” thing would be more convincing if they looked better playing his way. anyhow, arriola over nico would be he will run around like a madman. same reason zardes over pefok. but where will the goals come from?

    to me the harder he tries to hammer this into his frame the worse it gets. just run out the best 23-odd players you have against jamaica and CR at home and the results will take care of themselves. this 5 point business is what happens when tactics get in the way.

  8. keeper basically underlines how we inconsistently use club form and even elevate it above NT games. horvath has played more recently for the NT — against mexico — and played very well. johnson basically plays camp cupcake games and is untested. but because he’s seeing regular club minutes and/or how the one boro game went, he gets in instead. except the only team johnson beat in a month is cincy, and it’s been that month since he had a clean sheet. and then steffen is in over horvath when he hasn’t looked good for the Nats in years, because he is assumed better because he was the 1 — except no longer — and he plays even less than horvath, and played for the first time in like 6-7 weeks in a cup game with third tier wycombe.

    sorry, but this mentality is nuts. your best three keepers coming in were turner horvath steffen and that should be your 3 keepers coming out. we vastly overrate club form as some sort of indicator that should override recent NT caps or general ideas of your talent.

  9. Hope Weston doesn’t hurt himself proving himself worthy, but I’m looking forward to watching his response with some amazing efforts that he’s not only capable of but has delivered for the uniform before. Don’t care what league or team anyone plays for, do it in THIS uniform, like Weston has when not getting himself sent home. Love his game and looking forward to his expression this window…along with all of them of course, including GB

    • who knows what the deal is, could just be a healthy scratch. but if he’s unwell and it didn’t manifest today, i think you’re not keeping up with your players well if someone is out hurt same day you publish your roster list. i always thought the idea on waiting til the weekdays was to reflect the weekend’s destruction derby. would be two straight windows we have announced someone with an injury. that to me is communication. and if he’s out there better be a new 27th man if he learned from his attrition failures last time.

  10. What this roster boils down to for me is pretty strait forward:
    1- where are our goals coming from?
    2- midfield is super solid and should be fun to watch.
    3- GB clearly has not learned his lesson from last month. Scally can play on both sides effectively where Moore can’t. Arriola over KDF is just wrong especially considering he is coming off an acl and playing like crap.
    4- Horvath saved our asses this summer so we left him at his club with an aging nobody to replace him? No logic to it other than club issues.

    And I think what bothers me the mos is that we have a lightning quick Regge boys and we still brought in team….

    • Seeing quite a few admissions on the roster and it Hass to make me think the clubs are pushing back and Greg is yielding not calling guys in I don’t want unless the few names but it just won’t be worth it but why no De La Fuente? No Pefok? Pulisic can continue trading with the Nats. I am sure he’s got at least 10 minutes to 15 minutes worth of legs in an emergency if you want to put a super sub in even for game three vs Costa Rica makes no sense why he wouldn’t come in to camp he’s not completely injured he’s getting fit per Teuchel.

  11. Boy, this selection annoys me even more than Berhalter’s last couple. First, why limit the roster size again? No Pefok is just insane. The guy has been scoring not only in league, but in Champions League. Bello was clearly over matched last time he played for the Nats. Although he looked good recently for Atlanta, it’s his performance in qualifying that’s more important. Bring in Scally or even Wingo instead. Also, Shaq Moore doesn’t belong because he hasn’t been playing for his club team, which is second division. With an enlarged roster I’d also bring in CCV, Miazga or both. They have been playing at a higher level than Ream. Once again I will be a voice in the wilderness asking for Green. Put him in there instead of Arriola or Roldan. Personally I think player selection is more important than formation and I’d give Berhalter an overall grade of maybe C+ when it comes to this all important role. We have so many good players now it’s painful to see a lot of that misused or ignored.

    • It is a straight F solely on not bringing 30 players. Could’ve brought Horvath and. Could’ve brought Pefok and… Could’ve brought scally and… etc.

    • my thing is give yourself some tactical variety. too many people he calls are basically the same type MLS hustle player. it has its value. it may even reflect his idea what the mids should be. but as discussed below i thought couva should have been a lesson in the dress roster has to have some tactical variety on the bench and not just be 23 guys for 1 strategy. you’d think honduras and how we used different people and played a different way would have sold this lesson as well.

    • In retrospect I think my grade of C+ is too generous. Some choices should be obvious, but on choices for spots that are questionable or for backups he just has it wrong too many times. C- or D is more accurate.

      • Gary, I had to come back. I thought I didn’t have any more to say… but Gyasi Zardes? He might be the nicest boy in the world, a real decent guy, a great locker room presence. I am sure he has desire like you have never seen in anyone else.

        But aren’t we past him as a team and a footballing nation? Is there no one else? Is there something I don’t know? Is the plan to play mostly MLS down in Panama and so that is the reason? Are there no better options in MLS? What possible tactical purpose does his inclusion (over available and healthy alternatives) have?

        These are serious questions, I just truly can’t grasp – and it may be because I don’t have all the information, or because I don’t remember some hugely important statistic, like previous goals against panama in the second half of away games during World Cup Qualifying when Taylor Twellman isn’t announcing and there is a full moon…


    • Turkemanbashy–I guess you haven’t been paying attention. Zardes is currently MLS player of the week after scoring 2 last weekend against Montreal. The second was a real screamer that was a golazzo. In his first game after returning from injury he scored a goal (9/18) and then the 2 on 9/25, that’s 3 in the space of a week. I don’t think any other American playing first division soccer anywhere has done as well over that time.

  12. This roster is one injury away from playing Adams at RB again. Why create a scenario in which we end up calling in Jackson Yueill or similar when you could include an extra back to begin with. If I were Pefok I’d have to wonder what I have to do…the guy is in form, playing and scoring. Nevermind how he stacks up with the other options, there are open roster spots for crying out loud.

  13. This seems like a more versatile roster than last one, so I’m not as worried about the numbers as others. More players that can fill different roles. I don’t disagree with who was brought in, but do have to wonder if we could have added Pefok as #28, I mean the guy did just score a CL winner for an underdog team, he has to be full of confidence right now…

    • the problem is double accounting. it’s nice in theory to have “slash” players who can play multiple slots. but we saw last window where the wrong sequence of injuries or illness means a “slash” has to become a committed “x” position player. pulisic is out and then weston is suspended, and you can’t count aaronson both places. you still have to roster enough dominoes where if you have need in one place you still have the reserve in the other spot.

      for that matter 10 backs still feels excessive. that would be 1/3 the roster if we called 30 people.

  14. – I like Sargent’s game, but Sargent is positioned here as a striker, and he has not been producing for Norwich. On the outside, players like Weah and Hoppe right now are better at the wings than Sargent.

    – Arriola, despite the slight of playing in MLS, has a motor, and can play an effective two-way game. That is what is needed against some CONCAFAF opponents. Expect him positioned for Panama.

    – Pefok’s strength is finishing, and weaknesses appears to be a lack of hold-up play and inability to create his own chances. A similar player to Pefok is Zardes, who is a bit stronger than Pefok in those two areas. Plus, he can play outside, although he is likely sharing striker with Pepi.

    – Luca de la Torre is the most likely the replacement for Reyna. Not a scorer, but can definitely create chances, and is impressing at Heracles. Looking forward to seeing either Musah and de la Torre getting a run this cycle. If not, blend in with the team.

    – Musah is likely a 2nd half sub, as he has not quite regained full match fitness at Valencia. But like de la Torre, can disrupt a tired defense.

    – All can agree Busio has earned the callup. His major weakness right now, like de la Torre, is body strength. He may not see the field, and a good opportunity to blend him with the team.

    – Like Scally’s progress, but he will get his chance. Jamaica’s game is speed (think Yedlin, A. Robinson), and Panama City is not the place to break in an 18 year old first-time callup.

    – The center defense is as strong as I can recall on any NAT roster. A strong player like Zimmerman didn’t make the cut.

    • Per Scally: Why bring in Yedlin and Moore to back Dest up? Why not call in Scally over Moore (who isn’t playing… despite having a solid GC)? Scally may get bit minutes, but he’s able to get integrated into the system and start developing chemistry with the rest of the team?

      Personally I think Scally should have been included over Moore and likely offer 2nd option over both Yedlin and Bello. Yedlin has the experience, but Scally is excelling in B1 week in week out at both LB and RB.

      Just my take, and I know he’ll get his chance. But no time like the present to work sh*t out… 😀

      • Scally should get a chance but the problem is six games will be out of the way with only eight left in qualifying. What makes anyone think if Greg gets halfway decent results then he’s going to try Scally out at some point even if he still crushing it in the Bundesliga? I don’t disagree with all of his choices but man there quite a few head scratches for guys that are there and they didn’t make it. You just scored a CL goal versus Manchester United to win the game he’s good for a super sub off the bench Greg’s thinking if you can’t start I can’t call you up doesn’t make any sense. Let me be the first to call bullshit on Pulisic he’s training he’s just not game fit for a store but over the next week you’re telling me he wouldn’t be good for at least 10 to 15 minutes in one game when you might really need a goal? So who is that super sub if you need a goal in the last minute to tie in Panama?

    • – Not a big Ream fan myself, but he acquitted himself well in Sept WCQ. Sense GB favors FBs who can distribute from the back, and that is not Zimmerman’s strength. Ream will soon see a reduced role and age out, probably by 2022, with the younger players progressing.
      – What does KDLF bring to the team that you don’t already get from Weah or Hoppe? GB tends to favor strong two-way players who can effectively press in, and Arriola brings that to the team. Maybe KDLF tracks back and presses well, but right now Arriola knows his role and fits in his system.
      – Agree Scally is a tough cut, but sense his time will come. There is very little time in WCQ for practice, and we know Moore and Bello have already played with the team.

  15. Hold up: does anyone not see the political influence MlS has on the USMNT? There’s a lot of stats and nonsense here to justify their inclusion but the end result are players that are simply not as good as the guys in Europe. Field team of all players from Europe and play a hypothetically against this team and see who wins every time. Where’s Sabbi? Of course Pefok, even Harkes and Konrad. This is embarassing

    • OMG! I thought that we got rid of such nonsense outlooks, but there is always that guy!!! Really? Did you watch the USMNT over the last several months?!?! At the very least an average MLS-based payer performed on par with a euro based average player, but likely better. To say that all our best players 1 through 27 are all better in Europe including leagues like Denmark and Scotland is absolutely a very biased take. Considering the opponents, it’s just beyond delusional

  16. delaTorre is a goofy pick. he has been a fashionable pick dating back to sarachan and i don’t see it. he only looked good in the jamaica laugher. and as usual his club stats are nothing to write home about — playing mid in no-defense holland where jozy scored 30 or whatever. green would be better, some of the guys in the championship. if you’re gonna take a flyer it’s odd to favor the no production guy from the fast break league over the production people from harder leagues where the other teams play defense. i also am somewhat concerned from a broader roster structure standpoint that with adams an injury risk and musah potentially “double booked” like aaronson was last time, as also a wide sub — we didn’t call many wings — that we really could have used some more dangerous AM selections. i see some roster redundancy for adams but then really not enough mid offense. it kind of feels like gold cup bus-parking choices. which is all well and good but a smart coach gives himself some tactical variety to work with and not everyone is of a “type.” arena used to make this mistake, like the whole roster would be to execute a couva strategy. TnT then gets up 2 goals and you have basically dempsey left to respond. everyone else is there as though it was going to be a 0-0 stalemate that no longer exists. poor coaching. you need some dudes rostered like you might have to chase a game.

    • Among other things, if you’re rostering Adams, why not 28-30. I am pro taking the risk if he told you he felt fine and it was a precaution. But the smart coach here would quietly pad the roster with more players in case Adams is wrong about himself. You trust your player, but only “kind of.” I thought we already had this issue first window, and, again, it’s like, dude, do you learn.

    • I get dropping Sargent but Pefok is on form for both country and club. And for Zardes? Also, while some rotation might make sense over time — but from a position of strength — I don’t think missing your wings is also the time to leave one of your best 9s off as well. And while we are midpack and not sitting on a cushion. Just odd. People get on my case for criticizing but he’s a strange coach and “cute” is earned.

      • Lois: trust me, “Zardes over Sargent and Pefok” is not the debate you want to make into an argument about my personality. it’s an objectively crap decision. and as i argued elsewhere, i think he did it to have a bunch of hustle forwards pressing rather than playing actual offense. that team defense approach doesn’t fit with his defensive choices, some of whom are poor at that part of the job.

        also, as i said, maybe don’t pick the window when your two best players on the wings are out, to also get cute on your central choices. as someone said, how do we plan on scoring goals?

        and, yes, i played and did some coaching also. some other arguments i make are more controversial but this one is just common sense and plenty of people will agree with me. pefok only personally beat manU with a goal this month. it’s silliness.

  17. Surprises for me:

    – No Horvath
    – Moore is in despite losing his spot at Tenerife
    – No Pefok is the biggest shocker
    – I didn’t realize that Sargent was injured. He played 90 on the weekend. Maybe he is just left out due to not scoring?
    – Maybe even a bigger shocker is no Scally. Maybe he doesn’t play, but should be in camp. Just 4 fullbacks:

    -Dest is always a question mark with his play for USA
    – Bello is still young and raw
    – Moore not playing in Spain
    – Robinson should be ok, but he is unlikely to play 3 games at a good level

  18. I like Arriola, but don’t see him as national team material much anymore. I was at the Qatar game, and he looked so out of sync, especially with his touch. At the same time, hope he’ll improve, but just can’t see him as a viable option anymore.

    • I’m not crazy about him either. I can deal with ONE of either him or Roldan but choose, and right now I think Roldan’s the better of the two hustle/effort/not-a-ton-of-skill guys. At his best when he’s playing well Arriola can be relentless and a nagging, high-effort player who just clings to you like a lamprey and gets results by running himself into the ground but he can do that for maybe ONE game, over a stretch of games in a row he seems to wear down and vanish and you’re back to that too-small guy without a ton of skill again. It’s why he didn’t make it in even the Championship.
      Konrad brings something extra. Maybe not in CONCACAF but I’d still strongly prefer Konrad on the plane at the World Cup over Arriola, and it wouldn’t be close.

    • Arriola is a goofy “experience” pick. I can think of better wings than him. Some of the names he’s picking at mid and forward suggest he may tilt towards a GC-style team defense concept with forwards picked almost as much to chase as score. He then needs to realize that held up because he also picked defenders capable of defending so the whole package worked. It makes no sense to have Arriola and Roldan chasing around only to get to Dest and Brooks if you work past them. You kind of need the Gold Cup type backs to execute the 1-0 strategy. I don’t think he quite “gets it.”

  19. Was really hoping to see Scally. Probably my big regret. And Arriola/Roldan over Konrad de la Fuente? Meh. Hopefully not forever.

    Still excited to see Luca del la Torre. I think he adds something as that connecting 10 and potentially unlocks the middle of the park for us. Clearly Gregg got tired of watching in envy as the likes of Mexico, Spain, and Argentina zipped balls around in shoebox spaces in the attacking third and decided he wanted some of that. I myself do as well. Musah’s another guy who could potentially add some of that quality in the middle as well though I do wonder if ultimately he’s our starting right wing, especially if Reyna ultimately moves inside to that 10 spot as well. I wonder if our attack in the middle and combo play is much better this window, especially with the likes of Pepi and Hoppe now up top…and based on the guys called up you have to think Hoppe’s likely at least getting a look at CF since Pepi, Hoppe, and Zardes are really the only three that can play CF and you need at least three. (Personally I think Pepi and Hoppe are far and away our best CF’s and it’s not close, and I myself might take Zardes over Pefok just because he can also play right wing and he’ll rip his own guts out to win even if his feet do look like wooden paddles sometimes.)

  20. I, like EVERYONE, have my own opinion. While that doesn’t matter, I do want to share it. Scally is playing for a good Bundesliga club week in, week out. Surely, SURELY, there could be a fifth fullback. I am generally fine with the midfield options. Hoppe is a headscratcher for me. He has two appearances so far for Mallorca, only starting once. He has only ever played on the wings as far as we know during the Gold Cup. Pefok is also scoring. So why is Hoppe here and not Pefok? Just for the wing option where he doesn’t play? Konrad could do that even if his form has dipped for, oh, two weeks.

    • Hoppe’s by far the better CF over Pefok, IMHO. He’s vastly better with the ball at his feet, he’s almost as good in the air, he’s a more relentless runner and has more than a little Clint Dempsey in him as far as swagger.
      Pefok has grown on me a bit and you can see him be useful as a guy who can overcome teams that play all eleven guys when you absolutely, positively need a header smashed in and he is the best in the air of any of our strikers. (The problem is, Pepi and Hoppe are also pretty durn good in the air, and they’re vastly more skilled and technical players and their movement is vastly better, which kind of limits the need for such a specialist.)
      When it comes to grit, work rate, and sheer will, he’s also not a Gyasi Zardes, who is basically the Energizer Bunny and will still be running at you in minute 90 and is one of the most rugged strikers I’ve ever seen; the dude can take some abuse. Which is a more than passing consideration in CONCACAF, where the ability to play through pain after you’ve been kicked repeatedly is honestly more important than raw skill on the ball.

      • “(The problem is, Pepi and Hoppe are also pretty durn good in the air, and they’re vastly more skilled and technical players and their movement is vastly better, which kind of limits the need for such a specialist.)”

        You’re exaggerating their “superiority”. They are prettier stylistically.

        The movement part is debatable. Pefok is a different player from the other two, not worse. He moves and gets into positions as much as he needs to score. He’s very “long” and a more directly physical pain in the ass for CB’s than the other two.

    • All this talk about Hoppe being “able to play striker” is such a joke.

      He’s a pro because he can play striker. That’s where he made his name at Schalke.

      He’s among the most clinical finishers in the entire pool.

  21. I agree that Moore instead of Scally seems like a puzzling choice. I’m hoping there were some behind the scenes factors in play that we aren’t privy to.

    Otherwise, no real issues. Our midfield will be strong, however we’re set up. I’m looking forward to seeing Weah back in action. I think this is the year he finally breaks through for club and country; it’s got to be.

  22. Possibly the most important “move” on this roster is the omission of Sargent. Not scoring for Club or Country is not USMNT worthy anymore!

  23. Odd not to see an RB starting for a Bundesliga team on the roster, yet an RB short of the playing time for a 2nd division team in Spain on it… is Scally thinking of filing a switch to Mexico???

    Also, Arriola? Cmon. I’m not a fan of Zardes at all, but at least he played well when given a shot at the GC. Arriola? Not so much. Pefok should be there, but if for some reason a wing is needed, I’d rather have KDF or Gioachinni

    • “Odd not to see an RB starting for a Bundesliga team on the roster, yet an RB short of the playing time for a 2nd division team in Spain on it… is Scally thinking of filing a switch to Mexico???”

      Scally has like 4 MLS first team games and 6-7 Bundesliga starts, He got the BMG starts because the starters were hurt. Good for him playing well so far, but everyone might want to wait a minute to see how he progresses.

      This is a kid who is not an experienced MLS or Bundesliga professional let alone an experienced international.

      With everyone crying about the extreme lack of WC qualifying experience and these kids not knowing what it going on, Scally is the answer?

      Not when you have Dest,Yedlin, Antonee and Moore around as well as Bello.

      • Still would like to at least see Scally in camp. Why not carry 28 instead of 27 and start working him into the mix? I’d definitely want a look. The quality definitely appears to be there.

        Odd. For true.

      • “Good for him playing well so far, but”

        No “but”, that’s the whole point! To bring in players who are playing well in top leagues to give the team the best chance to win!

        What else is point?

        I don’t care about sacrificing performance for experience. If it was about experience, Bradley, Bedoya, Altidore and Zusi would be here. It’s not, and rightfully so.

        The idiotic “logic” of not calling in well- performing, but “inexperienced” players because they lack experience only perpetuates the problem itself.

      • Blokhin,

        Playing well for BMG guarantees you that he will get more chances at BMG.

        It doesn’t guarantee you that he will play well for the USMNT, a much lousier, more chaotic team where Scally will have far less support and inept, comparatively inferior coaching,tactics and organization.

        Scally has an idea now of how to play in the BL for BMG but he knows jack about WC qualifying,CONCACAF or the USMNT.

        The level msy be “lower” but that doesn’t guarantee that Scally can just waltz in and play like Dolo.

        He might but we have competent fullbacks who are not playing well for the USMNT because, I suspect, this manager is mishandling them.

        If I am correct then he’ll mishandle Scally too.

        Better for Scally to gain more experience as a full time pro so he can better handle being mishandled by this manager who has made better players than Scally play well below their potential. It would be better for Scally if he didn’t have to save the USMNT WC qualifying campaign in his first few games.

        I would be in favor of calling Scally in if there were a more competent manager in charge but that won’t happen until 2027 at the earliest.

    • Quozzel, Why not 28? Why not 30? you could add Scally and Pefok and so what? Maybe it is a club issue? but find 2 other guys. jeez.

  24. I like the roster. It’s amazing to think the US is missing its two best players and still has lots of firepower to be excited about. Looking forward to seeing in form Weah, Musah and Hoppe.

  25. Excited about the midfield. There should be ample opportunity for rotation in this window. As Ives replied – most of the forwards have lots of experience on the wings. A little surprised Pefok was left off and its only 27 though. Overall roster looks good even without Puli and Gio. Scally is on my wishlist.

  26. …..and why only 27 players? This has been a constant theme w GB. Watch an injury or two switch players out of their best spots and throw the team off balance. It’s maddening and quite indefensible IMO. Just balance the roster from the beginning and call enough players to cover spots. In this regard GB has a major issue. Just indefensible IMO.

    • “…..and why only 27 players? ”

      If this manager had for example 29-30 players that would be 2-3 more players he would have to pay attention to and coach.

      Maybe his attention span can’t handle that much work.

    • “but these are the type of fighters needed in qualifying.”

      What makes you say that?

      You don’t think there are USMNT players, glue guys, who can work just as hard and also have more skill and talent? Hard work is the only redeeming feature of Lletget and Paul while Roldan has a bit more skill.

      Their “indispensability” is a myth.

      Frankie Hejduk, the USMNT’s best all time “glue guy”, worked his socks off and would do anything to win and died for the shirt but the difference between him and those three was he knew how to inspire the team, how to lead. He came on with his hair on fire and raised everybody’s metabolic rate.

      Lletget gets in there does a lot of running around, wastes dead balls, makes a lot of sideways and back passes, scores the occasional garbage goal in blowouts and just generally runs around a lot to no discernable effect. He played well and made a difference vs. Honduras but that was an outlier, the best of his 32 mostly anonymous ones. And he sweats a lot.

      If he is the US’ difference maker then they aren’t qualifying.

      Ariolla is even less effective and is better at killing USMNT attacks.

      Roldan is better than the other two.

      • agree with much of what you saying up and down this thread, but not here. Lletget and Roldan got it done all summer too, and the fruits of all that came out on the road in Honduras 2nd half in a must have situation, while others given that chance failed. whatever the league is that they play in, they’ve earned the respect they get from GB. Lletget is actually a skilled player too, not just running around, so we disagree on his rating too. I don’t think he’s a saviour but he’s not what you just dished out on him either

      • beachbum re Lletget.

        I didn’t talk about his worst characteristic. He lacks creativity. He doesn’t se things in time.

        In English that means when he gets the ball he doesn’t know what to do with it.

        If he has Pulisic and Reyna around his instincts are not developed enough to take advantage of their movement so the opportunity is lost, the window is lost and he winds up making the sideways or backwards pass.

        He’s a big reason the USMNT offense is so slow and awkward. He kills creative ball movement. And he should never take a set piece kick again.

        Roldan is a different story but one reason for that is that he does not see the ball as much as Lletget usually does so his flaws are not as obvious.

        The way I look at it is that I can’t see what the team would be missing if Lletget did not play.

      • Vacqui, I understand many languages, including that of soccer, and Lletget calms the pace instead everyone bombing forward like mad dogs out of control like a bunch of puppies, like in…oh yeah, Honduras. Was that English enough for you, and current enough reality for you to remember? You want to talk smack you’ll need more game pal

    • TK, 2 thumbs up. We need players who can win in CONCAFAF..
      I may Zardes to that list, and he has experience against a few of these opponents.

      • Blokhin,

        So Seba “calms the pace*? He’s saving the inexperienced young puppies like Pulisic and Reyna from “bombing forward ” out of control?

        That’s an interesting way of looking at it. All this time Gio and Pulisic didn’t realize they had their very own Riquelme to service them.

        Maybe someone ought to tell them.

  27. Most of the roster additions/subtractions make sense to me except on the wing. This roster seems short of natural wing players. Perhaps this signals more of the 3 man back line with Pulisic and Reyna out?

    • Weah, Arriola, Aaronson and Hoppe can all handle wing duties, as can Zardes if needed. Musah also has experience playing wide, though he hasn’t played there for the USMNT.

      Wouldn’t take that as a sign of more 3CB system, though we could definitely see it in October.

      • I didn’t watch as much of the Gold Cup as I wanted, which is to say, I don’t see Hoppe as a sufficient option to play on the wing. He obviously will; but, with his playing time at club level being what (and where) it is, it makes more sense to me to bring in Aaronson, Arriola, Weah, sure, and then Konrad and Pefok. Is this wrong?

      • Only one of those players is a natural winger and he’s also the worst player of the group. maybe just the state of our player pool but I’d like to see at least 1 more guy whose best position is on the wing

    • i had this response to 10 backs last time — “has to be what he’s up to slanting his roster this way” — and it’s not what happened. bears noting that in a 352 or 343 the wingbacks and wing forwards become redundant ie there is just one pair of wings. now in theory you might want tactical variety — the ability to play both ways — but to me calling several wingbacks and also several wings (or mids who can play wing) screams 433. and the particular types feels like parking the bus in gold cup. except you then should have that defense as well. i get befuddled why all the effort into forwards who press and then if they get past that the further upfield the less effort we put into selecting for marking ability. precisely backwards. aren’t the forwards supposed to be for offense and the defense to defend?


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