World Cup prep: USA name 26-man roster for friendlies vs. Japan, Saudi Arabia
UPDATE, Sept. 18: Center backs Mark McKenzie (Genk) and Erik Palmer-Brown (Troyes) have been added to the September camp roster.
They replace Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic) and Chris Richards (Crystal Palace), both of whom are sidelined with minor injuries.
UPDATE, Sept. 16: Internacional midfielder Johnny Cardoso has been added to the September camp roster.
He replaces Yunus Musah (Valencia), who has been diagnosed with a left groin injury and won’t be ready in time to participate. Cardoso, 20, has earned three senior-team caps.
ORIGINAL, Sept. 14: With the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar roughly two months away, US men’s national team head coach Gregg Berhalter has named a 26-man roster that’ll play two friendlies in Europe later this month.
USMNT roster for September friendlies
- Joe Scally – Borussia Mönchengladbach
- Sam Vines – Royal Antwerp
- DeAndre Yedlin – Inter Miami CF
- Walker Zimmerman – Nashville SC
- Malik Tillman – Rangers
- Christian Pulisic – Chelsea
- Gio Reyna – Borussia Dortmund
- Josh Sargent – Norwich City
Both Japan and Saudi Arabia are World Cup-bound nations from the Asian Football Confederation.
These September games mark the final international window before Group B play gets underway in November. The USMNT, back in their first World Cup since 2014, will face Wales (Nov. 21), England (Nov. 25) and Iran (Nov. 29) later this fall. The top two finishers will advance to the knockout stages.
Some key omissions are goalkeeper Zack Steffen (Middlesborough), left back Antonee Robinson (Fulham) and winger Tim Weah (Lille) to injury. In-form strikers Brandon Vazquez (FC Cincinnati), Jordan Pefok (Union Berlin) and Haji Wright (Antalyaspor) were also left out.
The likes of Dest, Pepi, Reyna, Richards, Sargent and Vines are key returners as they push to make the World Cup’s eventual 26-man squad. Program mainstays such as Aaronson, Adams, Ferreira, McKennie, Reyna, Turner and Zimmerman are all included.
“As we approach the World Cup, this is another opportunity for us to take a step forward as a group,” Berhalter said in a release. “We have a strong roster and can use these games as a measuring stick against World Cup opponents as we continue to gain valuable experience ahead of going to Qatar.”
The Yanks are looking to build off a four-game June window that included the start of their Concacaf Nations League title defense and friendlies against World Cup-bound Uruguay (0-0 draw) and Morocco (3-0 win).
The roster will hold an average age of 24 years, 201 days as of the first day of training camp, and 13 players are age 23 and younger – continuing a youth-driven trend in Berhalter’s group. That platform powered a third-place finish in the Concacaf Octagonal to book a World Cup return.