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Mark McKenzie, Erik Palmer-Brown named to USMNT roster as injury replacements


The injury bug continued to hit the U.S. men’s national team September roster ahead of the start of this week’s camp in Germany.

Mark McKenzie and Erik Palmer-Brown were called into Gregg Berhalter’s roster on Sunday as injury replacements for Cameron Carter-Vickers and Chris Richards. Both Carter-Vickers and Richards have been forced out of the camp due to minor injuries, U.S. Soccer announced.

The 23-year-old McKenzie has earned eight caps for the USMNT, including a 120-minute performance against Mexico in the 2021 Concacaf Nations League Final. A former Philadelphia Union homegrown, McKenzie has been a regular starter in the Belgian Pro League this season with Genk, starting in each of the club’s last six matches.

Palmer-Brown, 25, has earned two of his four USMNT camps in 2022, featuring in a World Cup Qualifying draw at Mexico before also playing against Uruguay in a June friendly. A former Sporting KC homegrown player, Palmer-Brown moved to Manchester City in June 2018.

Palmer-Brown served loan spells in Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, and France before earning a permanent transfer to Troyes in February. He has started in eight Ligue 1 matches this season for the top-flight side.

The USMNT will face Japan in Dusseldorf, Germany on Sept. 23 before closing out its World Cup preparation on Sept. 27 in Murcia, Spain against Saudi Arabia.


  1. It’s an opportunity for these guys. I would still take CCV and Richards on the roster unless one of these replacements really plays amazing in these friendlies. I am disappointed CCV is missing out because I thought he could win the starting job in this camp.

    • I like CCV a lot too but I question if Gregg would start him alongside Zimmerman because Gregg tends to like to pair his more physical, aggressive CB with a faster guy with recovery speed. Before he was hurt that was Miles Robinson, now it’s Aaron Long. If anybody was going to beat out Long, IMHO, it was probably going to be Richards, who has a lot more speed than CCV. But Richards may have gone from possible starter to probably off the plane in Qatar since he hasn’t made a camp in almost a year.

      This definitely puts both McKenzie and EPB back in the conversation to not just make the plane but also start, IMHO, since both guys have the speed Gregg likes, and Long’s more than a little shaky as a starter, IMHO.

      Not crazy about it, but that’s where we’re at with CB right now.

    • Even more of a reason to root for all players wearing the Star’s & Stripes. We don’t know who will be healthy for Qatar. I hope that players who get called up, aren’t playing out of position, and are competent replacements.

      • Ok 2 Think: If you watch the sport, you must watch is via braille. I don’t care how many goals Brooks allowed in the past. Players can have bad games. Zimmerman and Long have bad games every game in MLS for a long time now. All I am saying is that Ream and Brooks needed to get a look to see where they can fit in in closing out games if needed. Ream has been playing at a high level for about a year now, not a couple of games. Ream has defended against elite strikers and has done really well. Zimmerman and Long are playing poorly in MLS at the moment. As far as Brooks is concerned, he just switched teams so give me a break. Before this, he was playing in the Budesliga for years as a starter. The US may get passed Wales and Iran and get out of the group but Zimmerman and Long are going to get roasted. There is not one logical USMNT fan that is not concerned about this backline. The US defense is a huge concern. These two can barely hang with Concacaf teams.

    • GB makes Steve Sampson look like Einstein. Ream and Brooks should be in for these September friendlies to at least get a look. GB is a stubborn fool that might cost his team dearly. Zimmerman and Long are playing terrible now and they can’t even pass out of the back. They might be ok against Concacaf teams but against big 5 teams, no way. Ream and Brooks can pass out of the back and have great technical skills. Does GB actually think his side is going to press every second against every side he faces in the WC? There will be games where the US will need to change tactics and not press at all or bunker a little. This where Ream and Brooks would fit in.

      • Brooks allowed 2 goals in 2 consecutive WCQ matches last September. One vs Canada at home, and then in Honduras. The exact same way. If your CB teammate steps up to take on someone, then the other CB responsibility is to TURN, and RUN to cover the near post. Then the CB, who steps up 1st is supposed to TURN and COVER the back post, or far post, while a midfielder covers the middle of the box. Brooks doesn’t care to play defense! At all!!! Anyone who has watched Brooks can see his lack of effort. Has nothing to do w/ Coach Sampson or GB. Brooks is a CB masquerading as playmaking 6. I actually watch this sport, try another thread!!!

      • What does he learn from bringing in Brooks and Ream that he doesn’t know? Ream 20 caps under Berhalter, Brooks 9 caps (over 6 camps) under Berhalter.
        Second your break down of Long and Zimmerman is false put forward by anti-MLSers. Are they playing at their DPoY award winning form probably not but they’ve both been playing very well for two of the better defenses in MLS. Brooks has played 1 min and Fulham has one of the worst defenses in the EPL their just currently scoring enough to do well. I like Tim Ream I defended him when 95% of the people here were trashing him but he’s more of a liability against WC quality teams than Long or Zim.

      • Don’t forget Switzerland and Honduras (NL) where he also was bad/ put in a bad spot for his skill set. That’s 4 out of 5 matches in a row.

      • I can’t speak about Zimmerman, but I watch every NYRB game and I have no idea where this idea that Long is playing terribly is coming from. Against MLS competition, he’s been anywhere from decent to very good this year, and that’s playing in a defense that has been patched together for a good portion of the season.

  2. Richards seems the most likely to not be on that plane to Qatar. Injury issues the past year and a half and not really getting game time with Palace. McKenzie looked a lock early on in Greg’s tenure and is getting back to his best. Palmer Brown finally has stability and has been really good for Troyes since he made that move.

  3. Injuries are a part of the sport and underlines the importance of having depth in our player pool. Historically the USMNT player pool has been too shallow to reasonably provide cover for the loss of players….Think CD9 & Gooch in 2010, Dolo, Jozy & ArJo in 2014. This cycle’s team has had to deal with injuries across the entire cycle…we’ve rarely had our full complement of players.
    That said this rash of minor injuries holds more weight as there is less prep time (shorter camp) between the players release and the start of actual WC games. In the past there was a send-off series (3 matches) where chemistry and tactics could be fine tuned. We don’t have that this time around. These 2 friendlies were intended to be that. Now we’re missing Musah & Richards….2 players most of us were expecting to play a big part at the WC.
    I’ve no complaints with the call-ups made….I just hope that they can step up and contribute.

    • not just those two(Musah and Richards)but also Jedi Robinson(I hear its his achilles), Timo Weah and how can we forget Miles Robinson. We’ve been dealing with injuries to this team since Greg got hired, and we’ve still yet to see our best 11 on the field together

      • Ronnie,
        I was not overlooking Weah or Jedi….just focusing on the 2 injuries that occurred just this past weekend. Weah & Jedi have spent enough time on the field with the core group that I’m less concerned with their absences than CCV & Richards who’ve seen very limited minutes with the full national team. Musah is a disappointment not because he’s missing the window, but because he’s in such good form for club I wanted to see how that would translate to the National team.
        Miles Robinson’s injury was far enough in the past that we’ve all accepted his absence from this WC. Yes it sucks that he’s injured, but it happened a while ago and if Gregg hasn’t solved the problem yet by identifying a replacement than that’s on Gregg. Gregg’s insistence in having Long (shadow of his pre-injury form), Roldan (vibes guy), Arriola & Morris in every camp has hindered the opportunity of others to be tested and possibly win out at these positions/rolls. If they choke at the WC and cost the USMNT an opportunity to advance in the Tournament Gregg should be held responsible.

  4. Man, it’s insane how many people seem to be volunteering to give up their seats to Qatar. This is pretty much Last Call…and neither Richards nor CCV has really locked in their places. This is not the time to be calling in sick.

    I’d have to short a leg to willingly miss this camp. It’s the World Cup, guys.

    I’d be inclined to cut them both, particularly Richards. The dude has played about ten minutes this season with Crystal Palace; if he still can’t stay healthy it’s probably time to draw a big old red line through his name.

    If these two replacements show well, I’d give them seats. The gap between them and the guys calling out is not particularly significant and it’s been said with more than a little truth the best asset anybody can have is availability.

    • I don’t know if it’s got a chance to get worse and then miss the WC because you played on a “strain” and turned it into a “tear”.

    • “I’d have to short a leg to willingly miss this camp. It’s the World Cup, guys.”

      Dear Mr. quozzel,

      That’s a bit of melodramatic hyperbole. It also runs counter to your desire for player availability.

      It’s NOT the World Cup.

      It’s a pair of scrimmages before the World Cup.

      The last thing this manager wants is anyone in the player pool getting hurt.

      If these games were the semis and the final of the real World Cup, sure, all hands on deck and damn the injuries.

      But no one with half a brain is going to run unnecessary risks of getting injured in scrimmages and waste all that adrenalin just to show everyone what a tough guy you are.

      All these guys are dying to play in the World Cup. They shouldn’t have to jump in front of a bus to prove that.

      If I’m Captain Pulisic I tell those guy to stay home and save it for the real thing not Japan and Saudi Arabia.
      It’s not the real thing yet and this manager wants all his guys as healthy and in form as possible on selection day. Not one month before .
      He also wants them to be playing competitive games for their clubs for the next month so that they are as sharp as possible.
      That’s why everyone is weeping, gnashing their teeth and rending their garments over Pulisic’s lack of PT.

      I’m sure all concerned would rather CCV and Richards be healthy and playing but I’m also sure Gregg had a lot of say on what they should do.

      The very last thing Berhalter and everyone wants to see is anyone coming up injured in these games. So if those two have some preexisting condition that puts them at risk of further injury, then they should cautious.

      On May 23, 2006 a few weeks before the start of the 2006 World Cup, in a warm up game vs. Morocco, Cory Gibbs reinjured his knee. He was subsequently dropped for the USMNT WC roster and replaced by a defender who was already on his holiday when he was told he was replacing Gibbs, who never again got anywhere near a World Cup.

      That replacement defender was Gregg Berhalter.

      So if anyone understands this sort of thing, it should be him.

      • It’s not about showing how tough you are…it’s just, how do you make the plane if you’re not there showing at Last Call you belong on it and somebody else is auditioning in your spot?

        Like I said, I personally would have had to have been missing a leg to miss that camp and allow that chance. My generation played through pain…which wasn’t always the best M.O. and did indeed risk further injury, but in sports – especially professional sports – what isn’t a risk? Sometimes you just gotta. I’m genuinely surprised these guys – who were less than locks to be on the plane already – backed off.

        Gregg can say whatever he wants publicly, but I’d be truly surprised at this juncture if Richards in particular makes the plane – he just hasn’t been there – and if the replacements show well CCV could well have lost his seat too. Recency bias is a very real thing and coaches will almost always go with the guy who proved it most recently. Just sayin’.

        When it’s this late in the game, the game does change some.

      • Another thing to think about is if it is a diagnosed injury it is the club who first decides if they are released. The players in question might not even have a choice.

      • Mr. quozzel,

        “how do you make the plane if you’re not there showing at Last Call you belong on it and somebody else is auditioning in your spot?”

        That’s easy… you do it by making the team BEFORE these last two friendlies.

        Maybe Richards isn’t already on the plane.

        If so then getting hurt in the last two scrimmages and then really leaving the door open for others is stupid and doesn’t help him at all.

        Or better yet, playing hurt in these last two games and sucking because he is carrying an injury doesn’t help him either.

        Better yet doing that and also aggravating the injury makes it even less likely that Richards can go back to Palace, where he’s not playing great right now, and in the next month prove to Gregg that he’s healthy, fit and in form.

        If Gregg decides in the next month that Chris just hasn’t been there, is made of Jozy-like cardboard and leaves him out then fine, I can appreciate that.

        Or if Gregg decides that in the last month Chris is showing enough that he can take a chance on the real Chris showing up in Qatar then I’m cool with that as well.

        There’s a good chance that Berhalter already has made that decision and that what he is doing is protecting his choice.

        That’s why they pay Jay’s brother all that money. They pay him for his incredible insight into the heart of a player so that he can see who will show up when it matters and who is full of it.

        This isn’t running an Artemis rocket launch.

        On selection day, Gregg will pick the 26 he thinks are, among other things, fit, healthy and in form. Whatever else Chris needs, he must be fit and healthy.

        I’ll say again, if Chris has some kind of knock or strain that a preseason scrimmage will risk aggravating then he’d be a fricking idiot to risk it.

        More to the point, there’s a real good chance , as JR says, that neither Berhalter nor Palace will let him prove what old school tough guy he is in a scrimmage.

        If Chris wants to show what a real man he is he needs to be healthy so that he can be on the team and take those risks in the real World Cup not in pre season.

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