no more speculation, no more doubt, no more hope. The United States has three more matches to secure qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
It’s up to christian pulisic, gregg berhalter and the rest of the usmnt to finish off the demons of 2018 and lead the united states back to the world cup.
Reading: Us world cup qualifying roster
with matches against mexico, panama and costa rica, the three teams directly below him in the table, united states. you will have to prove that you belong in the tournament.
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Head Coach Berhalter has put together a solid roster to help secure a spot at the fall event, with the injured Weston McKennie the only notable absence. All the other big names are on the list, led by Chelsea striker Christian Pulisic and RB Leipzig midfielder Tyler Adams.
Borussia dortmund winger Gio Reyna, who has missed much of the season with a hamstring injury despite several comeback attempts, is included in the list after slowly making his way back to the Bundesliga.
usmnt roster for march world cup qualifiers
gregg berhalter has called up 26 players who will be tasked with securing the world cup qualification for the united states.
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The usmnt leader made seven changes from the roster compiled in the january international window, mostly due to the absence of injured players weston mckennie, matt turner and chris richards. sergino dest was initially included, but his hamstring injury hours before the roster was released forced a change, with george bello called up as a replacement. Brenden Aaronson suffered an injury in his last club game before the international break, and he too was dropped from the roster and was not replaced.
While most of the roster composition was generally predictable, there were a few surprises. defender aaron long, back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament, supplants mark mckenzie in the center of defense, while john brooks remains exiled from the team, a source of controversy among usmnt fans who believe the grassroots defender in German he has done enough to earn a place.
goalkeepers: ethan horvath, sean johnson, zack steffen.
Defenders: George Bello, Reggie Cannon, Aaron Long, Erik Palmer-Brown, Antonee Robinson, Miles Robinson, James Sands, Deandre Yedlin, Walker Zimmerman.
midfielders: kellyn acosta, tyler adams, gianluca busio, luca de la torre, yunus musah, christian roldan.
forwards: paul arriola, jesus ferreira, jordan morris, jordan pefok, ricardo pepi, christian pulisic, gio reyna, tim weah.
mckennie, dest’s injuries are important
weston mckennie’s absence will be felt on this team, no doubt about it. Just ask Juventus, who greatly missed the American’s presence in their 3-0 Champions League capitulation to Villarreal earlier in the week. Mckennie is out of season thanks to a broken foot suffered in the first leg against Villarreala.
more: Mckennie suffers a broken foot and will be out for the rest of the club’s season
next man is kellyn acosta, who replaced an injured tyler adams in a 3-0 win over honduras in the last international break and was fantastic. Acosta, one of the longest-serving members of the roster with 48 caps, has been a fixture on the USMNT squad for the past two years and will provide a constant presence.
acosta, which is no more natural. 6, you can move to mckennie’s no. 8 role with adams sitting deeper. Who associates Acosta with the man from LAFC is a much more curious question. Luca de la Torre, who was also excellent against Honduras, could get another run, as could Yunus Musah, who is a regular in Valencia’s midfield.
Sergino Dest was included in the list initially, but after he limped off the pitch in the closing minutes of Barcelona’s Europa League victory over Galatasaray just hours before the list was revealed, a change. Gregg Berhalter told “Sportscenter” after the initial reveal that he “doesn’t look good,” and George Bello was ultimately selected as a replacement.
Sergino Dest leaves with an apparent injury against Galatasaray. #uel pic.twitter.com/2tmrrd2fgv
roster update: @_georgebello has been added to the #usmnt roster for our upcoming fifa world cup 2022 qualifiers » https://t.co/7yfvghosvk pic.twitter.com/sknsz79khj
barcelona confirmed that the injury was a hamstring problem. Apparently, it was bad enough that his Barcelona teammate, Gavi, was filmed piggybacking to the team hotel after the game.
gavi took sergiño dest on a horse when barça arrived at the hotel (via @josepsoldado) #fcblive pic.twitter.com/mm5d6plarb
luckily for the usmnt, reggie cannon has shown that he is ready to step in and contribute. still dest was a stable player during qualifying, he has gradually improved over the last 12 months and his absence will no doubt further deplete the team.
doubts loom over the goal after the turner’s injury
it was unclear if matt turner would be healthy enough to be included in the list; that question was answered by his omission. Instead, they called in Ethan Horvath to join Sean Johnson and Zack Steffen.
Turner sprained his ankle during a behind-closed-doors friendly in early February and will miss “a couple more weeks,” according to rev manager Bruce Arena’s latest update in early March. that put his status for the March qualifiers in question.
steffen, who suffered a nagging back injury just before the international break in january, has just returned to the man city bench for their 0-0 draw with crystal palace on 14 march. He has been Ederson’s main substitute at the Etihad this season, amassing just 630 total minutes in seven appearances in all competitions and not seeing the pitch since an FA Cup victory over Fulham on February 2. 5.
It seems likely that if he is healthy enough to return to club and country, steffen will be the first choice. But if Berhalter believes he’s not 100 percent or that his lack of playing time is detrimental, he could look to either of the other two netminders.
horvath has made just six championships for nottingham forest this season, but five of those have come in recent succession as he took the starting job from incumbent brice samba. johnson led nycfc to the mls cup last season and is still a starter this season.
gio reyna returns but the minutes will be adjusted
reyna, 19, is included in the us. roster and could see her first international minutes since she suffered a nagging hamstring injury in early September.
reyna was taken off late in a 0-0 draw against el salvador on sept. 3 and she has had trouble finding the field ever since. she attempted several recoveries from her injury, but each one ended in disappointment and led to him spending more time in the coach’s room.
His status for the March qualifiers was in serious doubt after he was ejected 29 minutes into a comeback attempt on February 2. 20. was crying as he walked towards the sideline. However, he has since returned with substitute appearances in each of Dortmund’s last two league games. He played 27 minutes in a 1-0 win over Armenian Bielefeld on March 13, followed by 21 minutes against Mainz in which he assisted on the only goal of the match in the club’s 1-0 win.
reyna delivering a big one in a game that @blackyellow needed to compete with @fcbayernen. #usmnt pic.twitter.com/vzn82qxile
It remains to be seen how much Reyna can contribute to the United States as she continues to take things slow in recovery. She has one more club match, a visit to Koln on Sunday, March 20, to sail before joining the USMNT team.
berhalter indicated that reyna’s minutes will be closely managed.
“I had a good call with dortmund today, with the trainer in dortmund and planning her use, how much can we use (reyna),” said berhalter. “The important thing is that we qualify for the World Cup, but second, is that Gio returns to his club healthy. and we are aware of his load, the work that he has done in the last two weeks, and we will adjust accordingly.”
“I wouldn’t rule out gio being able to play [in midfield],” berhalter continued. “The problem is just his pace, his fitness and his playing time in these last five months. Finally. I think it’s a position he can play and we’ll have to see if it happens in this window.”
While Reyna will be a key contributor regardless of her role, fellow wingers Tim Weah and Brenden Aaronson will continue to be necessary components of the attack along with Christian Pulisic.
pulisic in best club form
Last time, christian pulisic was struggling to regain his form at chelsea, due to injuries and uncertainty about the team, resulting in a lack of playing time in his primary position. pulisic had found himself in an unknown position, such as full-back or center forward, or on the bench.
brought those problems with him to the international team. He struggled through all three games in January and February when younger upstarts like Brenden Aaronson were in the spotlight. Questions surrounded his status at Chelsea and whether he could move on in the summer. More immediately, many wondered if his struggles in London could make him lose his place in the US. uu. starting lineup. Pulisic was subsequently benched against Honduras, but made an impact off the bench.
What a difference two months can make.
pulisic is regaining his form with the blues, scoring one goal and assisting another against burnley in early march, interspersed with champions league goals against lille in both games.
christian pulisic. clinical. 🇺🇸 although jorginho’s pass. 🥶pic.twitter.com/pz4mp9qbxm
a goal and a man of the match performance, @cpulisic_10 speaks after chelsea qualified for the #ucl round of 16. 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/d98f7r2kc9
pulisic is finally seeing more time in natural positions, playing both on the left flank and in a second striker role behind an in-form kai havertz. With Mason Mount struggling and seeing less time, Pulisic has capitalized.
The change in the clubs’ fortunes couldn’t come at a better time with such critical internationals fast approaching. usa has done well while leaning on aaronson, weah and the like, but with the absence of weston mckennie and gio reyna working in full force again, pulisic is back in the spotlight and will need nothing less than him better.