Wright, Scally, Mihailovic, Tillman and Carter-Vickers Make USMNT Roster for June Games
Notable Omissions: Brooks, Pepi, Busio. Out with Injuries: Dest, Reyna, Richards, Pefok, Sargent, Dike
USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter released his 27-player roster on Friday for friendlies against Morocco and Uruguay and Nations League games against Grenada and El Salvador. The three home games are the last ones on U.S. soil before World Cup 2022 in Qatar.
New call-ups include forward Haji Wright, fullback Joe Scally, midfielder Djordje Mihailovic, midfielder Malik Tillman (who won’t be able to play in games until his one-time FIFA switch goes through) and defender Cameron Carter-Vickers.
Notable omissions include John Brooks, Gianluca Busio and Ricardo Pepi. According to U.S. Soccer, Berhalter thinks Pepi needs a break and will be given that opportunity here. The federation also said Berhalter is emphasizing that the door isn’t closed by any means for players who aren’t in this squad.
Here’s the roster (club/country; caps/goals):
GOALKEEPERS (3): Ethan Horvath (Nottingham Forest/ENG; 7/0), Zack Steffen (Manchester City/ENG; 29/0), Matt Turner (New England Revolution; 16/0)
Notable Omissions: Sean Johnson, Gabriel Slonina.
My Thoughts: Horvath has played more in recent months with Forest, which has a chance to earn promotion to the Premier League, even though he’s not currently the No. 1 starter there. But Berhalter clearly feels he has done enough to go with Horvath instead of Johnson or Slonina. Slonina announced on Friday that he has decided to represent the U.S. over Poland.
DEFENDERS (9): George Bello (Arminia Bielefeld/GER; 6/0), Reggie Cannon (Boavista/POR; 24/1), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic/SCO; 8/0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 23/3), Erik Palmer-Brown (Troyes/FRA; 3/0), Jedi Robinson (Fulham/ENG; 25/2), Joe Scally (Borussia Mönchengladbach/GER; 0/0), DeAndre Yedlin (Miami; 73/0), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville; 28/3)
Notable Omissions: Brooks, Mark McKenzie, Tim Ream, Shaq Moore.
My Thoughts: Brooks has been omitted in favor of Carter-Vickers, Long and Palmer-Brown even after the Achilles injury to Miles Robinson, which means it’s unlikely that we’ll see Brooks between now and the World Cup. Obviously, it’s a big decision by Berhalter, considering the amount of experience that Brooks brings to the table. Scally gets the call and will finally have a chance to earn his first cap with the national team. Dest and Richards are still recovering from injury, according to the federation.
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MIDFIELDERS (8): Kellyn Acosta (LAFC; 51/2), Tyler Adams (Leipzig/GER; 27/1), Luca de la Torre (Heracles/NED; 7/0), Weston McKennie (Juventus/ITA; 31/9), Djordje Mihailovic (Montreal/CAN; 6/1), Yunus Musah (Valencia/ESP; 16/0), Cristian Roldán (Seattle; 31/0), Malik Tillman (Bayern Munich/GER; 0/0)
Notable Omissions: Busio, Sebastian Lletget.
My Thoughts: There aren’t really any surprises in the midfield. Mihailovic has made himself an MLS MVP candidate with Montreal, and it’s interesting to me that U.S. Soccer lists Tillman as a midfielder instead of as a forward. McKennie has been back to full training with Juventus after his foot injury.
FORWARDS (7): Brenden Aaronson (Salzburg/AUT; 18/5), Paul Arriola (Dallas; 44/9), Jesús Ferreira (Dallas; 9/3), Jordan Morris (Seattle; 46/10), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG; 48/21), Tim Weah (Lille/FRA; 22/2), Haji Wright (Antalyaspor/TUR; 0/0)
Notable Omissions: As mentioned, Berhalter thinks Pepi needs a break. The federation added that Jordan Pefok and Josh Sargent are injured, Gio Reyna is still recovering from injury and Daryl Dike was given the chance to continue his rehab progress.
My Thoughts: Wright has been on fire in Turkey and becomes the latest No. 9 to get a chance with the national team. But I suspect Berhalter views Ferreira as his best current option at centerforward given his experience under Berhalter and his recent form for Dallas.
What are your thoughts on the roster? You can put them in the comment section below.
"There aren’t really any surprises in the midfield."
Grant why don't you view the absence of Gianluca Busio as a surprise? I see you list him as "notable omission"... his minutes have dropped with Venezia but he has played well when featured and seemed to play well for Berhalter... is there anything underlying this?
I think it is a pretty cool roster. We get to see a number of exciting new players, and I have wanted to see Scally for some time. It seems wise to give Pepi a break, and the Brooks decision seems pretty final. Other absences are well explained ( due to injury).