Top Stories

Pulisic, Reyna and Steffen among 27 players called in for March USMNT qualifiers


Gio Reyna, Zack Steffen and Aaron Long are set for their returns to the U.S. men’s national team as part of the 27-man roster called in for the upcoming March qualifiers, but Sergino Dest’s availability remains in doubt.

Reyna and Steffen are among the 27 players called in by Gregg Berhalter for Concacaf qualifiers against Mexico (March 24), Panama (March 27) and Costa Rica (March 30), joining standouts Christian Pulisic and Tyler Adams in the squad.

Reyna has not appeared for the USMNT since the Octagonal-opening draw against El Salvador last September.

Steffen missed the most recent trio of qualifiers due to back spasms, but has recovered in time to be part of the March roster, which is welcome news to Gregg Berhalter considering Matt Turner will miss the March qualifiers due to a foot injury.

Long is officially part of his first roster since suffering a torn Achilles last May, and is in line to make his first World Cup Qualifying appearance. Long, Erik Palmer-Brown and James Sands were among the central defenders chosen for the squad, with veteran John Brooks excluded yet again despite being in good form by Wolfsburg.

Sergiño Dest is listed on the roster, but his status is in doubt after he left Thursday’s Europa League match for Barcelona with an apparent leg injury.

The USMNT is already set to be without star midfielder Weston McKennie, who is out with a broken foot.

Jordan Pefok is the most in-form American striker in Europe, and his six goals in seven matches for Swiss side Young Boys helped him earn a call-up, beating out Josh Sargent.

Here is the full 27-man roster:

GOALKEEPERS (3): Ethan Horvath (Nottingham Forest/ENG; 7/0), Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 9/0), Zack Steffen (Manchester City/ENG; 26/0),

DEFENDERS (9): Reggie Cannon (Boavista/POR; 24/1), Sergiño Dest (Barcelona/ESP; 17/2), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 21/3), Erik Palmer-Brown (Troyes/FRA; 2/0), Antonee Robinson (Fulham/ENG; 22/2), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United; 17/3), James Sands (Rangers/SCO; 7/0), DeAndre Yedlin (Inter Miami; 71/0), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; 25/3)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Kellyn Acosta (LAFC; 48/2), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig/GER; 24/1), Gianluca Busio (Venezia/ITA; 8/0), Luca de la Torre (Heracles/NED; 5/0), Yunus Musah (Valencia/ESP; 13/0), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders; 31/0)

FORWARDS (9): Brenden Aaronson (Red Bull Salzburg/AUT; 18/5), Paul Arriola (FC Dallas; 43/8), Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas; 7/2), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders; 43/10), Jordan Pefok (Young Boys/SUI; 8/1), Ricardo Pepi (Augsburg/GER; 9/3), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG; 45/18), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund; 9/4), Tim Weah (Lille/FRA; 20/2)


  1. also bears reminding richards is still rehabbing his foot. as such 5 CBs rostered plus richards. without even getting into mckenzie, CCV, or others. before you should consider picking up the brooksphone. personally i see it as like arena’s omar obsession. resist the urge.

  2. Did Fagundez ever complete his citizenship and file a switch? He had to wait for the rules to change because he wasn’t a US citizen when he represented Uruguay. I don’t think he’s good enough anymore though either he’d half to play winger for US since 3G only uses 8s in midfield and he doesn’t defend enough to play as an 8. His MLS numbers pretty similar to Roldan.

    • you imply that his numbers are equivalent to a regular member of the NT — an odd unintended stamp of approval — but then seem dismissive like, “just as good.” surely you see the fallacies here. one, he’s statistically superior, actually. he gets as many as 13 goals or 10 assists. you’re dreaming roldan is equivalent. but second, roldan has been given 20+ cap chances and not fulfilled the theory. fagundez has had zero chances. calling roldan is perseverating in a way fagundez is not. surely you see this. or are we still ignoring NT numbers for club form. to me he scouts well and was on our radar. he has blossomed in recent years. if he switched, he deserves his chance. that his numbers could be compared to others doesn’t mean he plays NT ball like it. otherwise wondo would be the greatest american ever.

      • Ok but you didn’t answer my question is he eligible or not? Second quoting his 2013 stats isn’t that relevant.

      • Did some more digging, Edgar Moreno “ConcacafEdgar” on Twitter listed that he is eligible because of the rules change but there hasn’t been any switch. That might have as much to do with lack of interest as anything. Was on a general downward trajectory since 2015, but reinvigorated last year with Austin.

    • Diego got his green card in 2013.
      The earliest he could have gotten his US citizenship then is in 2018.
      He is listed as as US citizen in Transfermarkt so my guess is he has his US passport.
      Since 2013 he’s played a number of times for Uruguay’s youth teams but not the senior team. So my guess again is that he could play for the US but probably would have to file a one time switch.

      At 27 years old, whether the USMNT would want to bother with him when they have the 27 year old Ariolla is anyone’s guess.

      But he’s made a bright start at Austin so you never know.

      • He wasn’t eligible until the rules update in 2021, because he wasn’t a US citizen when he played for Uruguay. It was at the same rules update as the was Yunus tied or not. I’m guessing if Gregg called he’d fill out his switch papers but there’s no reason to close the door on Uruguay if US isn’t calling.

  3. my concern would be he brought in 4 wingbacks and 1 is already out. that started short and got worse. you don’t even have to get into names, that’s just not enough bodies, even for a 23 man. i would call a couple, scally and moore. i would also be a little concerned if we have enough attacking mid firepower if this comes down to 1 game with panama. surely GB learned arena’s lesson of showing up with some attackers in case whatever controlled strategy doesn’t work and we have to chase games. GB assisted arena and when people complain about the style and defensive choices people seem to forget his coaching heritage tree.

  4. re brooks, that debate is several windows stale. his last active window was september last year. the people suggesting he gets another chance for the key window take club form arguments way too seriously. at this point in quali it would be people who’ve been to war with us already and can be trusted. he can’t be trusted.
    i’ve seen him get burned on counters but also — particularly c. 2018 — in half court. he simply can’t man mark very well. his idea of defense is standing his spot in a zone and heading wayward balls out or passing it around. now, if his advocates wanted a debate point, it would be him vs sands. sands i would trust even less. but i think that’s “GB talk,” there are too many CBs on the roster already. i would go with an extra wingback instead.

  5. It’s not his worst. I am ok with his keepers considering Turner’s knock. I would take most of the forwards and backs. I wouldn’t pick Arriola up front or Sands in back. Neither has played well enough despite a lot of opportunity. I think we already have plenty of CBs and would add Scally and Moore wide, since Dest is out and I thought wingback is a little understaffed. I would replace Arriola with Green, Amaya, Fagundez, Hoppe, or Konrad. We look like we have plenty of strikers.

    The one place I thought he botched a little was mid. Roldan doesn’t do anything, LDLT is overrated, and Busio isn’t playing well and hasn’t really translated internationally. Green, Holmes, Amaya, Fagundez, Lletget, and/or Johnny.

  6. In the middle, Both Reyna and Aaronson play as an attacking CM for their clubs. I think either of them would be better than Roldan. That would also allow for more of Pulisic, Weah, Aaronson and Reyna to be on the field together. I think both Reyna and Aaronson are better than Busio and probably than Musah. Also, I think, Sands is playing DM for Rangers, I am not sure if he is better than Acosta in that role (Acosta has shown he can be valuable on set pieces, but with Reyna on the field Gio would probably be taking the free kicks.)

    CBs, Long has played surprisingly well in his return to the Red Bulls and he can recover faster than Brooks. It is a tactical choice, if we were playing teams that are expected to have a majority of possession and the US needs to defend deep, I might give the nod to Brooks over either Sands or Long; writing Brooks off the team in Qatar is premature.

    LB, only A. Robinson is strictly a LB. I am torn between Scally, Vines and Bello with Dest out. Also, I hope it doesn’t come to it, but fresh legs vs Costa Rica might be essential and that is not something Robinson is likely to have after playing all of the first two games. Relying on any of those three in a must win situation is a bit scary. I don’t think relying on Dest for cover at LB would help the tired legs issue even if he were healthy. Sands could probably handle LB in a pinch.

    • You have to look where we’ve been playing our CMs though. They are pushing wide, the weak side wing slides centrally. They have the sideline coverage against the counter, because Serge and Jedi are pushed forward. If you want Aaronson and Reyna in the spot they play for their club they have to play winger for US. Whether Gregg’s tactics for how he is using his CMs is effective is debatable but he’s unlikely to switch it on 2 days of training. It’s also similar to where Busio was playing for Venezia although he’s been playing more forward after the last transfer window.

  7. WOW!!!!!!!!
    Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas; 7/2), Jordan Pefok (Young Boys/SUI; 8/1), Ricardo Pepi (Augsburg/GER; 9/3)…… I think Berhalter is on to something. All the RELEVANT strikers are on the team.

    Josh Sargent should be on the team though, instead of Jordan Morris (yes as a winger). Ever since his injury, Morris has lost that pep in his step, and doesn’t go “all out” anymore.

    • Bizzy, I agree that Sargent should be there….but I’d have him replace Arriola.
      Morris is a better all around player and since his return from injury has shown himself to be more of a threat than Paul. Both Sargent & Morris could also slide into the CF position if needed.

    • Bizzy – Sargent is kind of slow. He struggled badly in one game playing at Pulisic’s speed (can’t remember the game) but Pulisic kept passing to him and it looked like he was running in quick sand – maybe tie against Canada. I think GGG wants a team that can go to 11 – not saying I agree but I think that is probably why Sargent isn’t there. He seems to value speed more than many other attributes that others value. John Madden used to say you cant teach speed. I always hated defending people that were faster than me; it changed the way I had to play. With the value GGG places on speed, it appears that people like Brooks, CCV, Sargent, Djorgie dont really fit his vision. Of course, neither does Roldan and I am apparently the only person on the planet that isn’t pissed that Roldan is on the roster. Doh!!

  8. Is anyone surprised to see Oalmer Brown? Carter Vickers has Ben playing well— that would’ve been less surprising to me.

      • Brooks sucks, period. i’ve seen him allow goals with the defense fully back, just the same. he’s a technician adored by technicians, playing a bronc or bull riding position where the prime directive is defense. the coach has wisely determined he is not among his best 4-5 CB defenders. it tells you something when what people want to talk about a CB is a header goal he scored off a dead ball at a world cup sub or an assist from a Gold Cup game, not how he marked some name brand attacker out of their contest. i think it’s debatable if GB;s midfield needs to be so defensive. i think defense needs to be defensive and he’s somewhat gone the right direction there, though he backslides on the wingbacks.

  9. It’s an illusion.

    Many other national teams have the same issue but the good ones have more depth than the USMNT has so it’s not a noticeable or none of you care about what happens with other national teams.

    Rooney and Beckham , for example should have had better England careers but kept getting hurt at inconvenient times.

  10. I’m actually pleasantly surprised by this roster. For the most part it’s balanced, versatile, and represents most of our available top talents. I’d have preferred to have seen:
    Brooks over Long. I don’t think Long’s had enough games since returning from injury. I don’t care what the issue is between Gregg & Brooks….JB is the more in-form of the 2 right now, and we need the points.
    Nearly anyone over Roldan. I don’t understand Gregg’s infatuation with Roldan. He’s been a poor performer at the International level for a year. If he’s there to kill off a game (last 5 minutes) there are better options…Tessmann or Sands (who’s already on the roster)….as a 2nd CDM with Adams/Acosta. Or even Arriola as a game killer, since his only contribution is hustle. Other option would be to add a creative depth option with Senora or Mihailovic.
    Sargent over Arriola. Josh’s been playing the wide roll with his club recently and he also provides an option at CF if necessary. He brings the same hustle as Arriola with more technical ability in link-up play and crossing than Paul. Besides Ferreira can also be used as a wide attacker.

    If Dest is dropped I’m hoping that Scally gets the call. He’s back starting/playing and has more top league experience, and long term potential than Vines/Bello. He also provide versatility similar to Dest as a LB/RB.

    The Mexico game will set the tempo for this window. If they don’t play well, this could turn sideways quick. If we can get a point or at least a solid performance against them, it’ll go a long way for their confidence. We need a minimum of 3 points this window….4 to be certain. And I’d prefer not to need a win in the last game.

    • With how we push our FBs up into attack and Adams pressing anything in the middle the CBs have to cover half a field. JB struggled with that against Canada and Honduras (as well as the Swiss match). That’s the soccer reason, is there personality issues too, probably. Gregg loves a redemption story though (Wes and Kellyn) so maybe Brooks does go to Qatar.

      • Johnny, I love this analysis of the Brooks situation. It also explain why CCV hasn’t been getting called while Palmer Brown did. Having Brooks limits the team whereas other CBs allow for options.

        As far as Long…people are seeming to forget his name was in Sharpie on the line up sheet before his injury. He’s been showing (shockingly) great form since coming back.

    • Lost – Roldan has only played in five of the 11 games. 6 min in 3-0 win over Hondorus, 22 minutes in 1-0 loss to Panama replacing Weah, 29 minutes In 4-1 win against Hondorus (was 1-1 when he came in and he created the 4th goal), 7 minutes in 1-1 tie against Canada, 12 minutes in 0-0 tie against ES. In which of those games was he bad? Musah, Weah, Adams, and Aaronson all played significantly more minutes than he did against Panama and are all good players. Roldan was no worse than any of them against Panama. Lletget was the worst player on the feild against Panama, should have been subbed off at halftime, and hasn’t played a minute since. Roldan might not be exciting but he isn’t Lletget.

      • “Roldan has only played in five of the 11 games. …..In which of those games was he bad? “….”Roldan was no worse than any of them against Panama… .”

        He’s probably nice to his family too.

        When the arguments FOR calling up a player are all variations of “but he isn’t Lletget” you know the USMNT is scraping the bottom of the barrel.

        The national team is supposed to be the best of the best.

        When the main argument is he didn’t blow the place up in garbage time, it sounds like he is being played for reasons that have nothing to do with his contributions on the field. Is he being played so he has enough time to get a participation trophy?

        If a player plays that few minutes that many times in that many games, ideally he is being brought in to create or score a late goal
        he is an adhesive defender who is being brought in to neutralize Lewandoski or someone like that.

        Roldan has played often enough to show that he does not fit either category.

        There’s been plenty of time and opportunity for another player to show that he too can do nothing remarkably positive or negative.

      • Vacqui – I certainly wasn’t arguing for Roldan’s inclusion but the pick doesn’t bother me. He hasn’t played bad in any of his appearances in qualifying and he has done what has been asked of him. You will probably see him start against Mexico because that game is the least important of the three and US will probably bunker. Who would you rather bring in to bunker and help close out a game?

      • “Who would you rather bring in to bunker and help close out a game?”

        I don’t know. The manager is supposed to figure that out, not me.

        But that far down the roster I’d say a specialist. The kind of specialist depends on the manager’s philosophy about late game subs.

        Some go for two players, one who is more likely to create or score a late goal and one who is a shut down defender type.

        Others want go for an all arounder to save roster space. That’s Roldan. He’s an updated Joe Corona. Or Pulisic with Chelsea. You don’t have to use a garbage player in that role.

        Both philosophies are equally valid and both depend on the same thing, the quality of the player in question. Roldan has been given many chances to prove himself and he has proved outstandingly mediocre.

        That swiss army knife or specialist role is often how new players break into the USMNT or good veterans extend their careers.

        Guys like Sands, Busio, Tessman, Hoppe, Jorde, Paxton, etc. could all benefit from being eased in this way.

        Instead, this manager uses it to give himself somewhere to park his crap players.

  11. You are missing Adams, Busio, Reyna, and Steffen who are all just coming back from injury. 3 of the 6 midfielders on the roster are just returning from injury, but in fairness, Pulisic and Aaronson can probably play midfield better than whomever would have been called in which probably would have been Lletget. I expect I will get injured at some point watching these three games.

  12. I know Prefok doesnt fit Berhalters system…but I have the feeling hes going to score. Wonder if hes going to a bigger club?

    • GB doesn’t know what fits GB’s system. if GB’s idea of offense is whack crosses into the box, pefok is perfect. i think GB thinks what he wants is a false 9 to fit the possession style, but do i have to bring up the awful scoreless games we have had trying that? and what he’s missing is if you want to be a get it wide and cross it team at the end of your 433 possession style then it’s basically like a 442 that needs a target. if you want to play 433 and feed a false 9 then you need to quit emphasizing wingback overlaps or keepaway by the flag, and go direct to goal. you do that, yeah, ferreira or sargent or a more passing 9 becomes useful. i think it’s a better team going direct to goal or playing weah behind the defense. but when they want to cross — which they seem to do out of habit — you need a pefok. you can’t whack high balls across the net and expect some technical 9 to head them in. carpet, match drapes……so which team are we?? i would cover both “types” since the coach doesn’t seem to have it all sorted on one page.

  13. Mckinnie, Dest, Dike, Turner, Richards.. Why does it seem like our players are made of glass. Mex never seems to have the same injury problems as us.
    Why do our players always seem like they are made of glass?

    • It’s an illusion.

      Many other national teams have the same issue but the good ones have more depth than the USMNT has so it’s not a noticeable or none of you care about what happens with other national teams.

      Rooney and Beckham , for example should have had better England careers but kept getting hurt at inconvenient times.

    • Guardado and Funes Mori are both out for this window with injury. Jimenez missed this Summer, Lozano was injured in the GC, I believe at least one of their CBs was hurt in November but maybe it was suspension. As Vaqui said you just only remember your team.

  14. Brooks and Berhalter era seems officially over. Probably inevitable once Berhalter moved away from 3 backs in possession (usually LB staying home) and pushed both FBs forward. Half field too much ground to cover for JB. Also the build up now pushed up the sideline so the need for long diagonal no longer there.
    I guess the other snub would be Sarge, understandable since he’s not playing great for NC but neither is Pepi.
    Roldan really the only ? Mark for me. Is he going to play probably not but then why not bring in someone new to the group like Pomykal or Djordje.
    Bello, Vines, or Scally to replace Dest? I’d Rock Paper Scissors it honestly Vines steadiest but lowest ceiling, Bello highest potential but also lowest floor when bad, Scally most versatile.

    • While I am not a Roldan advocate, everyone seems to want to throw him in the same pot as Lletget but Roldan has done well in his limited role of closing out games in the last windows as I recall (although memory is starting to go). I think he wins tackles, maintains posession and can play in a lot of positions. I don’t think you bring Djorgie there to close out games because I’m not sure he would be good at that or at least not better than Roldan at it. Lletget was quite literally Panama’s best defender in the loss by killing every attack. You get man of the match if you do that as a defender. They are really not anywhere close to the same type of player IMO and the Roldan selection doesn’t bother me. Brooks isnt necessarily done if he wants to have the versatility to play with 3 man backline in Qatar assuming they make it but he doesn’t really have much time to make such a drastic change in the short time because it is not just a formation change, it is a tactical change as well as we discussed so I am not surprised Brooks not called in. Palmer Brown is faster, quicker, and has better recovery speed which is what he thinks his centerbacks need in his vision of how he wants the team to play.

    • In addition to being a better player than Bello or Vines… with the lack of a backup to Jedi at LB, it would seem a no brainer to me to bring Scally in, but………..

      • You still have Yedlin and Cannon as RBs and either Vines or Bello would provide a second LB so that’s not really a factor.

  15. – One can only now assume the past stories of Brooks negative attitude and behavior must have a lot of merit. I think it is safe to say he likely has played his last game in a US uniform.
    – Despite McKennie’s injury, Lletget doesn’t make the cut. It may be his time has passed. Aaronson, Sands and Reyna can fill in at MF, depending on the game situation.
    – I had Sargent penciled in on the wing, but looks like GB expects more. Both Morris and Arriola are a mild surprise over Sargent, but an in-form Morris is a hard matchup for most defenses.
    – No Zardes, so Pefok gets his another chance. No central striker overseas has scored lately, so the door is open.
    – Hoping to hear Dest’s injury is minor. Send him right to Orlando for rest and rehab. Mexico will probably squeeze in. Panama and secondly, Costa Rica are the key matchups to get us through.

    • I watched Revs the other night hoping to find something positive with Lleget but everything is sideways or backwards and that penalty miss was a killer.

      • I seriously doubt Lletget was going to be on that plane in November, assuming we go through, back at the start of WCQ. Some of the younger players just needed more seasoning and first game experience (LDLT, Busio) to improve and break through. GB picked him because he knew his system, knew the opponents, and knew his role. I think Roldan may be in the same boat.

      • When we used our CMs as dual 10s and depended on the CBs and DM to progress the ball (Bradley/Trapp/Yeuill era) Lleget could be effective because he could hang out at the top of the box and drive home loose balls. Once that role changes to 8s who have to progress the ball he quickly became ineffective. I don’t think Roldan is on the plane to Qatar if everyone is healthy but when have we ever had everyone healthy. That said the other 8 candidates haven’t really stood out so far either, but should have opportunities this summer and in September.

  16. Not bad, not bad at all…..I know many will harp on JAB missing out but that was always going to be a 50/50 call. What’s clear is that either of Aaronson or Reyna, or both, will be used in midfield given the short numbers there on this roster. EPB is surprising but he’s been playing really well in a top league so can’t be mad there, and I’m glad Pefok was called up bc he’s scoring goals by the boatload. Finally, the Lleget haters will rejoice, but will find something else to whine about guaranteed lol


Leave a Comment