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Scally, Busio and the USMNT prospects who have earned consideration for October call-ups


The time period between the September Concacaf World Cup qualifiers and the October edition may only be a month, but that has already been enough time to allow some players to push their way into the picture for the next squad Gregg Berhalter will call in.

There are bound to be changes to the group that took five points from matches against El Salvador, Canada and Honduras, as injuries threaten to leave some options out (such as Gio Reyna), and good runs of form earning some candidates a chance to jump into the fray.

There are also some players who could earn looks even though they are off to slow starts with their new clubs, including Matthew Hoppe, who made his debut for Mallorca this past weekend.

You also have positions with a multitude of options, such as central defender, which could see some players passed up despite getting off to good starts with their new clubs. Cameron Carter-Vickers has established himself as a starter for Scottish power Celtic and Matt Miazga has earned a starting role with La Liga side Alaves, but the former Under-20 World Cup teammates could be left on the outside looking in for the October qualifiers if Berhalter goes with younger options such as Chris Richards and Mark McKenzie.

There is also the possibility that Berhalter calls in a larger group for the October matches after the team was left shorthanded due to injuries, illness, and one high-profile suspension before and during the qualifiers.

Here is a look at the players who have earned consideration to be in the next camp based on their recent form:

Gianluca Busio

Berhalter left Busio off the September squad to allow him to focus on his new club, and that decision paid off, with Busio settling in well at Venezia, where he has started three straight matches since arriving in Venice. Busio had his share of growing pains during the Concacaf Gold Cup, but has looked like a mature and confident player in Serie A, and could challenge for a starting role in the October qualifiers.

Joe Scally

Six straight starts in all competitions, and matches both at right back and left back in Bundesliga play for Borussia Moenchengladbach, make Scally a very tough player to leave off the October squad. The lack of playing time for Reggie Cannon and Shaq Moore should open the door for the teenager, who has shown well at both fullback positions.

Chris Richards

Two straight starts, and a standout showing in his most recent performance, show us a confident Chris Richards who should be a regular starter at Hoffenheim once again. There is plenty of competition at the centerback position, including Matt Miazga, who has settled into a starting role for La Liga side Alaves, but Richards gets the nod if Berhalter has to choose between those two.

Yunus Musah

An ankle injury in August cost Musah his chance to be part of the September qualifiers, but he has returned to action for Valencia, and while he hasn’t regained a starting role, his 75-minute appearance against Real Madrid this past weekend showed us a player in good form.

Djordje Mihailovic

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

There is no more in-form American midfielder in MLS right now than Mihailovic, who has recorded a goal and six assists in his past seven matches, helping guide CF Montreal to a 4-1-2 record in those matches. Berhalter has shown himself to be a fan of the 22-year-old before, and if he chooses to leave Weston McKennie out of the October squad then Mihailovic could wind up being a beneficiary of that decision.

Haji Wright

The Ricardo Pepi hype train has captured all the headlines when it comes to American striker options, but Wright has quietly enjoyed a successful beginning to his time in Turkey. The Antalyaspor striker has four goals in his past four matches, and could merit a look, though Pepi and Jordan Pefok remain the top two options, and Josh Sargent is unlikely to be dropped completely even with his recent goal drought.

What do you think of this group? Which if the aforementioned players are you most interested in seeing called in? Who didn’t make the list that you feel should have been included?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Jamaica at home: speed, especially at defense, especially on the wings
    Panama away: expect tough, physical, aggressive play in challenging conditions
    Costa Rica at home: Should be easiest of the 3 with depth of US roster after 3 games a big plus.

    This may be the cycle for a large and varied roster, given the opponents. Only bring players who have a chance to take the field to Panama, such as the veterans who bring hustle and assertiveness. Leave the rookie call ups in the US.
    Unlike Musah, Busio going the full 90 overseas. Musah may not be at full fitness – tough for a 3 game set. Scally is ready and versatile – can plug in either side. Weah, KDLF and Hoppe better options than Wright.

  2. We’ve got 5 or 6 guys sitting on a yellow card, we’ve got these travel restrictions with the UK based players, several injuries… Ya think we could possibly maybe call in more than 5 midfielders??

  3. Scally, Musah, Richards should definitely be called in and should make the gameday rosters & possibly start (depending on rotation/other players fitness). Busio should be called into camp to compete for a spot. If he doesn’t make gameday rosters, he’ll at least build some chemistry with the European player contingent.
    Wright & Mihailovic….I think we have better options.
    Like most fans I’m hoping that Gregg will call in an extended roster to insure that there is coverage. Getting to a 3rd game and having to drastically change formations due to injuries & absences is not something we can do again. I’m also praying that he finally gets his tactics & substitutions figured out. I have very little faith in Gregg at this point, but for the sake of the players I pray he’ll finally figure these things out.

    • His substitutions have been spot on, just a little late for me at times(except obviously in Honduras), the bigger problem is getting the most out of the best lineup at the beginning of games! We have to call in at least 30 players this window , too many injury concerns, players not at full fitness, card accumulations and expect the unexpected(hopefully no more McKennie fiascos)

  4. Not only do I think Scally, Richards and Musah deserve a call up, I think they should step in to start.

    Richards can plug the gaping hole left by lumbering John Brooks and Scally for the aimless Dest.

    Musah was gassed toward the end of the Madrid game, but early looked dangerous coming off the right wing. He should be in better shape several weeks from now and can step in for Reyna is he’s still hurt or McKennie if he’s still in the doghouse.

    Pulisic (KDF) Reyna (Aaronson) Aaronson (Musah)
    McKennie ( Musah or Busio)
    Robinson Richards Robinson Scally

  5. This may be a very unpopular opinion, but I kind of think Pulisic needs to stay with Chelsea over the break and work on fitness and securing his spot. He needs to be getting regular minutes at Chelsea and the absolute worst thing for getting him released for future windows will be him just coming back from an injury and getting knocked around again and missing more time. With 2 home matches and a road qualifier he might not be able to travel to anyway this might be a good opportunity for Pulisic to sit one out.

    • That mentality would make more sense if Reyna weren’t injured, but we can’t afford to have both of our most creative and scoring abled players missing from this window.

  6. With no restrictions on the size of the roster, I would call in Pulisic even if there is no chance that he will play in the first two games.

  7. CALL ‘EM ALL IN!!!!!
    All of them…..”then separate the wheat from the chaff” in camp and cut the players that don’t fit the configuration / tactics / style of play /lack fitness etc……in camp.

    If possible (base on a number of external factors)…..I say, with the kind of player pool we now have and the level of play needed for the national team, call them all in GB!!!

    • If it was a series of Summer friendlies I’d agree, but in the qualifying window with basically one day or maybe two to train between matches with travel you don’t have time to get a bunch of guys up to speed. Especially with so many with no caps. We need to keep it simple.

      • … But he does need a bigger roster than last time and a few more midfielders. Not sure loading in from Europe is the best strategy but I don’t know enough about American MLS players to know if there are more options than the usual suspects. I would bring in the same group of MLS players he brought even though some of those are unpopular selections with many.

  8. I would love to see Haji Wright get a chance. Scally and Richards seem no brainers. Busio for Roldan?? Musah for who? I think Musah gotta be included as he could be in our starting midfield before the world cup

    • Like it or not, Roldan seems like a fixture. (And I don’t like it.) Roldan’s considered a winger anyhow, Busio would take up an interior mid spot. Right now the pecking order there seems to be 1-Adams (as a 6), 2-McKennie (as an 8, if he’s out of the doghouse), 3-Lletget (as an 8), 4-Musah (as an 8), 5-Kellyn Acosta (as both a 6 and an 8), and if Busio were to be on the roster it’d be in that final spot that James Sands took last time out (and probably gave back, he wasn’t good).
      Still really, really annoyed Erik Williamson is out with an ACL tear. That hurts us a lot more than we realize; IMHO…he was really looking like an answer in that sort of left-side 8/10 hybrid role and he really added some quality and creativity to the attack.

      • agreed on Williamson! But, as we’ve seen over the last several years this pool of players repeatedly for some reason seem to go down with injuries at thee worst times smfh

      • Roldan I’m not worried about, he’s in pretty good form right now(scored a nice goal last night vs Leon in Campeones Cup Final), my fear is Greg will call up Arriola, who I don’t hate(I’m a DCUnited fan)but he’s just not productive at this level!

  9. Pulisic is still working on his recovery and was not dressed in the Carabao Cup against Villa today. Busio and Hoppe got the start respectively for Venezia and Mallorca on Wednesday. Mckennie started and went the entire way for Juventus. Tim Weah started and played 60 minutes for Lille. Musah came in at half time for Valencia. Miazga came in at the 86th minute for Alaves. Konrad De La Fuente was on the bench at the start for Marseille.

  10. Assuming all england based players don’t play in Panama, you will need replacements and backups. The squad should be big and Berhalter needs to call in more midfielders this time. Reyna and maybe Pulisic are injured. Hope to see McKennie back. He is just needed at this point. I would call in every player listed.

  11. I would add Gioacchini and Weah over Mihailovic and Wright. (Weah only recently returned to action from a thigh injury, only went a few minutes before fans ended the match, so it may be too soon. Give Wright a look if that’s the case. But if possible, I include Weah as a bench option for the 10/13 Costa Rica match.) Bring Zardes to camp and send him and Pepi to Panama. Either CCV or Miazga over Mackenzie.

  12. Berhalter might want to go with younger options than CCV and Miazga? Those 2 old greybeards are 23 and 26 respectively. Wow, that’s awfully young to be over the hill. Richards yes, but I’m not convinced about McKenzie. Zardes was out injured for a few weeks but I saw he scored last game for Columbus, so maybe he should get consideration if Reyna is still out.

  13. Busio, Musah, and Richards, absolutely. I would like to see Wright, but not sure that’s a good idea unless one of the top 3 gets hurt. I haven’t seen him play enough, but it’s good he’s producing and the Turkish league is decent although it’s fallen off a bit in recent years.

  14. No on Mihailovic, lack mobility and lack creative spark in International level. I rather Sonora.
    Musah, could be starter and has great chemistry with Adams, and Busio as back-up. Scally could play both sides.

    • I would guess that Pulisic will either be injured or have issues with COVID restrictions. Reyna will be either injured or not in form. Weston McKennie will have a hard time getting playing time at Juventus and if he commits another egregious act, he will be lucky to have a job anywhere. So Berhalter should be planning for those contingencies although I doubt he will. I am guessing he will call Zardes again (actually, not a bad choice to play him on the road) and some others of his MLS favorites. I think Scally, Busio, Musah and Richards have earned the call-up.

      • Wes has played 184 mins since the last window including 2 starts. That’s more than almost any other USMNTer in Europe since the window. Algeri doesn’t care about what happened in Nashville.

    • Johnny, Allegri doesn’t like him and thinks Locatelli is better in his spot. McKinnie will get some time, but Juve is having a shitty season, so (1) he isn’t starting, and (2) the subs are generally Chiesa and/or another fwd. So he isn’t getting the time on the field you think he is. I just watched the AC/Juve game on Sunday and Mckinnie didn’t play. Who cares if he plays in the Italian Cup against some C2 squad like Potenza. If he can’t get minutes in big games, then he isn’t getting meaningful minutes.

      • You know how that goes, though…it’s called the “Clint Dempsey Effect.” The new coach comes in, doesn’t like the brash American youngster, puts him on the bench and in his place in favor of the guy of the proper nationality or who is at least a European…until circumstances conspire to put the American back in the lineup again and it becomes obvious how much better the team is with them. Whereupon the minutes steadily increase until even the coach who once hated them can’t do without them any longer. And then, of course, that coach will invariably leave and the process resumes again.
        Like Dempsey, McKennie is not a perfect player and does have some holes in his game. However, what he brings to the table is just too superior – in McKennie’s case, it’s boundless energy, box-to-box range, bite, timely goals and plays in clutch moments, and the recognition that when the rest of your team is fading, there’s McKennie still on the rampage and still dangerous and still wanting it more than anybody else. Lots of players are good for 30, okay for the next 30, and invisible in the last 30…McKennie does not drop off much over the course of a game and by minute 75 is galloping around the other team’s tired starters like their feet are dipped in cement.
        As a coach, I personally REALLY LIKE players like that because it’s such an intrinsic edge and it allows you to really make an impact with your other subs.
        I really wouldn’t have liked what McKennie pulled with the Nats the last time out. But I also would have done exactly what Gregg did – spank him, send him home, send a message – and then called him in again with hopefully Message Sent because ultimately McKennie does want to be on the field and win more than he wants anything else. It’s by far his best attribute and it’s why he won’t stay parked long at Juve unless the coach is just a really determined idiot.

      • 202 mins out of 360 that he’s been eligible in starting 3 of 4 in Serie A. Locatelli is better than Wes, Betancourt is the odd one at least in current form. Ramsey isn’t fully fit yet either. Alegri doesn’t rate Wes as high, I’m just saying it has nothing to do with Nashville as people keep promoting.

      • Quozz has the right of it. As long as Mckennie has the fight in him he will come out of this season as a starter.

    • I’m sorry, but I don’t want anything to do with the players from the failed Olympic Qualifying team, they stunk it up badly, so they are a no go for me this cycle!


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