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USMNT Aug 26, 2021

Gregg Berhalter calls 26 players to USMNT camp ahead of World Cup Qualifying

CHICAGO – U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Gregg Berhalter has called 26 players to Nashville to begin preparations for the start of 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying. The USMNT roster will begin reporting to camp this Sunday.

The USMNT opens World Cup qualifying with three matches during the September international window, first traveling to face El Salvador on Thursday, Sept. 2 at 10 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network, Paramount+, Universo). Next up, USA-Canada will kick off at 8 p.m. ET on FS1, UniMás and TUDN from Nissan Stadium in Nashville. The U.S. closes its first set of qualifiers on Sept. 8 at 10 p.m. ET against Honduras in San Pedro Sula (Paramount+, Universo).

“We have spent the last two years building the foundation and culture of the team for this moment,” Berhalter said. “World Cup Qualifying is a grueling challenge that demands a complete group effort in order to be successful. We are confident in our ability to respond to the challenges that are presented along the way.”

Detailed Roster by Position (Club/Country; Caps/Goals):

GOALKEEPERS (3): Ethan Horvath (Nottingham Forest/ENG; 7/0), Zack Steffen (Manchester City/ENG; 23/0), Matt Turner (New England Revolution; 7/0)

DEFENDERS (10): George Bello (Atlanta United; 3/0), John Brooks (Wolfsburg/GER; 43/3), Sergiño Dest (Barcelona/ESP; 11/1), Mark McKenzie (Genk/BEL; 6/0), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 45/1), Antonee Robinson (Fulham/ENG; 12/0), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United; 9/3), James Sands (New York City FC; 6/0), DeAndre Yedlin (Galatasaray/TUR; 64/0), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; 17/2)

MIDFIELDERS (5): Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids; 37/2), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig/GER; 14/1), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 29/7), Weston McKennie (Juventus/ITA; 24/7), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders; 25/0)

FORWARDS (8): Brenden Aaronson (RB Salzburg/AUT; 7/3), Konrad de la Fuente (Olympique Marseille/FRA; 1/0), Jordan Pefok (BSC Young Boys/SUI; 6/1), Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas; 0/0), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG; 38/16), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 8/4), Josh Sargent (Norwich City/ENG; 16/5), Tim Weah (Lille/FRA; 13/1)

The matches are scheduled during a FIFA international window, making all players available for selection. While teams can summon a larger group, the game day roster for World Cup Qualifiers may only include 23 players.

TROPHY ROOM

At the start of the summer, USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter set two goals: win two trophies and prepare the group for World Cup Qualifying. Deploying two almost completely different rosters, all signs point to mission accomplished. A total of 24 players on this roster competed in tournaments this summer; all of them were crowned champions.

In the inaugural Concacaf Nations League final, the USMNT earned the title after twice coming from behind to defeat rival Mexico 3-2 in a match that required 30 minutes of extra time to determine a winner. Gio Reyna and Weston McKennie each brought the USA back level during regulation, tying the game at 1-1 and then 2-2, before Christian Pulisic drew and converted the game-winning penalty kick in the second overtime period. The drama was far from over as substitute goalkeeper and Colorado native Ethan Horvath saved Andrés Guardado’s penalty kick deep into stoppage time of the second overtime period as the dramatic final played out in front of 37,648 fans at Empower Field at Mile High.

Nearly two months later and with a roster that included 19 changes from the Nations League, the USMNT once again stood atop the winner’s stage after Miles Robinson headed home the game-winner in the 117th minute of a 1-0 shutout of Mexico before a sold-out crowd of 61,514 fans at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. In winning its ninth-straight game, the USA registered its fourth-straight shutout and fifth in six Gold Cup matches, only conceding a penalty kick goal in the second group stage game against Martinique.

YOUNG YET UNDAUNTED

While the USMNT enters the Octagonal with arguably its youngest pool of players and the least amount of experience in World Cup Qualifying – only six players on the roster have a cap in this competition – recent history suggests the group will not shrink from the challenge.

The USMNT started its youngest lineup ever in a final (24 years, 206 days) when it faced Mexico in the Nations League title match. The second youngest lineup ever in final stepped on the field for the Gold Cup championship in Las Vegas (24 years, 236 days).

Interestingly, the U.S. roster for the Gold Cup had the youngest average age of any team in the world during the summer tournaments that included the European Championship and Copa America along with the Concacaf competitions. The second youngest? You guessed it – the U.S. roster for the Nations League.

TEN ON CHAMPIONS LEAGUE ROSTERS – INCLUDING ONE CHAMPION

Once again, the USMNT will have a significant presence in the UEFA Champions League. On this roster alone, a total of 10 players are on sides that will compete for Europe’s most prestigious club honor, including defending champion Christian Pulisic. The Hersey, Pa. native became the first U.S. international to play in and win the UCL final when Chelsea defeated Manchester City in a 1-0 shutout on May 29 in Portugal. The full list: Brenden Aaronson (Red Bull Salzburg), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig), John Brooks (Wolfsburg), Sergiño Dest (Barcelona), Weston McKennie (Juventus), Jordan Pefok (BSC Young Boys), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Zack Steffen (Manchester City), Tim Weah (Lille).

Chris Richards (Bayern Munich) and Owen Otasowie (Club Brugge) increase the total to a record-setting 12 U.S. internationals in the competition, surpassing the record (10) set just a year ago.

ONLY FORWARD/SOLO PA’LANTE

U.S. Soccer kicked off its “Countdown to World Cup Qualifying” promotion with the launch of “Only Forward,” / “Solo Pa’lante,” U.S. Soccer’s new creative campaign focused on uniting fans and the MNT in a collective journey to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Developed in conjunction with the players, coaches and staff, “Only Forward / Solo Pa’lante” highlights a young, diverse and global-minded Men’s National Team that is humble yet resilient as it looks to tackle the challenge of World Cup Qualifying during the next eight months. After an action-packed summer in which the deep U.S. player pool responded to adversity on and off the field and proved itself with two regional championship trophies, the USMNT is ready to show the world that they are prepared to change the way the world views American soccer.

While the USMNT will take the field on Sunday, Sept. 5 vs. Canada, a full slate of U.S. Soccer programming will take over Music City in the lead-up to the game. In the coming week as part of “Countdown to World Cup Qualifying,” U.S. Soccer will announce fan and community focused events, including a free coaching clinic, a night before party, pre-game concert, locally produced match-specific artwork and more.

FINAL ROUND QUALIFYING – THE OCTAGONAL

For the first time, Concacaf has included eight teams in the final round of qualifying for the World Cup. The teams will play a round-robin, home and away format which includes 14 matches each. Due to the global health pandemic, a process which normally takes place during the course of 18 months has been reduced to seven. Additionally, the condensed schedule includes four ‘triple dates’ consisting of three matches during a seven-day window. The following teams have reached the final round: Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama, Mexico and the United States.

ROSTER NOTES

  • As of the start of camp on August 30, the USMNT roster will have an average age of 24 years, 43 days. Thirteen players will be 23 and younger as of the first day of training.
  • The 26-player roster averages 18 caps overall and seven in official competition.
  • Six players have previous World Cup Qualifying experience: Christian Pulisic (13 caps), DeAndre Yedlin (10), Kellyn Acosta (6), Tim Ream (6), John Brooks (4) and Sebastian Lletget (1).
  • The remaining 20 players will have the opportunity to make their debut in World Cup Qualifying.
  • Players hail from clubs in 10 different countries: USA (9), England (6), Germany (3), France (2), Austria, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and Turkey (1 each).
  • A total of 24 players were part of one of the USMNT’s two summer tournament rosters. Eighteen players helped the USA lift the inaugural Concacaf Nations League trophy in June, while eight players were part of the squad that won the USMNT’s seventh Gold Cup title earlier this month in Las Vegas.
  • Midfielders Kellyn Acosta and Sebastian Lletget were part of both summer tournament squads.
  • Having returned to the USMNT fold for the friendly against El Salvador last December, Acosta has appeared in all 13 matches in 2021 and 14 consecutive matches overall, which is the longest streak of appearances by a USMNT player since DaMarcus Beasley played in 16-straight matches in 2003-04.
  • Lletget sits second on the team with 12 appearances in 2021.
  • With seven goals from the 2018 cycle, 22-year-old forward Christian Pulisic enters the 2022 campaign tied with Michael Bradley for seventh on the USMNT’s all-time WCQ goal scoring list.
  • Pulisic also sits tied for fourth on the USMNT’s all-time World Cup Qualifying assists list with six.
  • The WCQ opener at El Salvador will come five years to the day that a 17-year-old Pulisic became the youngest USMNT player to score in qualifying, tallying twice in a 6-0 win at St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Sept. 2, 2016 in Kingstown.
  • The 2016 match in St. Vincent also marked the World Cup Qualifying debut for midfielder Kellyn Acosta, who deputized at left back in the 6-0 win.
  • Ten players are on clubs that have qualified for the 2021-22 UEFA Champions League group stage: Brenden Aaronson (Red Bull Salzburg), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig), John Brooks (Wolfsburg), Sergiño Dest (Barcelona), Weston McKennie (Juventus), Jordan Pefok (BSC Young Boys), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Zack Steffen (Manchester City), Tim Weah (Lille).
  • Brenden Aaronson played a huge role in helping Red Bull Salzburg earn a Champions League place, scoring in both legs of the club’s qualifying playoff with Brøndby on Aug. 17 and 25.
  • Now based in England, forward Josh Sargent scored his first two goals and registered an assist in Norwich City’s 6-0 win against Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup play on Tuesday.
  • Defender Antonee Robinson also registered his first goal for Fulham, scoring in stoppage time to give the Cottagers a 2-0 win at Birmingham City in the Carabao Cup.
  • Eight players were part of the MLS All-Star roster that faced the Liga MX All Stars on Wednesday night in Los Angeles: George Bello, Sebastian Lletget, Ricardo Pepi, Miles Robinson, Cristian Roldan, James Sands, Matt Turner and Walker Zimmerman.
  • Matt Turner is the first USMNT goalkeeper to post wins in each of his first seven appearances. The 27-year-old has conceded just one goal – which came on a penalty kick – in that time. Turner has posted an 11-2-4 record for New England this season, helping the Revs to the top of the Supporters Shield standings.
  • Turner also saved two penalties and earned Man of the Match honors to help the MLS defeat their Liga MX counterparts in a shootout win in Wednesday’s All-Star Game. Meantime, Ricardo Pepi netted the game-winning penalty.
  • The eighteen-year-old Pepi earns his first USMNT call-up. A member of the U.S. squad at the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup along with George Bello and Gio Reyna, Pepi has registered nine goals and one assist in 20 appearances for FC Dallas this season.
  • Pepi also put home the game-winning penalty kick for MLS in Wednesday night’s All-Star Game against Liga MX.
  • Konrad de la Fuente returns to USMNT camp for the first time since making his debut on Nov. 12, 2020 against Wales. Having transferred to Olympique Marseille this summer, the winger has started each of the club’s first three Ligue 1 matches this season, registering an assist in his club debut on Aug. 8 at Montpellier.
  • With one more appearance, defender George Bello will be cap-tied to the U.S. Men’s National Team. Should he appear in all three qualifiers, forward Konrad de la Fuente would also become cap-tied to the USMNT.

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