Tyler Adams returns to duty for Gregg Berhalter’s USMNT

Tyler Adams returns to duty for Gregg Berhalter’s USMNT

Tooba Shakir 54 years ago 0 1

The player pool for the U.S. men’s national soccer team is, at the moment, robust both in fitness and depth, so as roster decisions neared for the Concacaf Nations League finals, Coach Gregg Berhalter faced several difficult decisions.

With more worthy candidates than slots available — and two long-absent players back in the fold — Berhalter on Wednesday unveiled a 23-man squad that includes almost all of his top players and excludes several notables.

For the first time since the 2022 World Cup, the roster features midfielder Tyler Adams and forward Josh Sargent.

Sidelined almost all of 2023 with hamstring injuries, Adams returned to active duty with Premier League club Bournemouth last weekend. He has not played, though, since September. Since recovering from an ankle injury in late December, Sargent has scored nine times for Norwich City in the English second division.

They will join 19 others from European clubs and two from MLS for the Nations League semifinal against Jamaica on March 21 in Arlington, Tex. Mexico and Panama will face each other that same night for the other spot in the March 24 final at AT&T Stadium.

“The objective ahead of us is clear: We want to compete for our third Nations League title and continue to challenge ourselves to succeed in knockout round matches,” Berhalter said in a statement released by the U.S. Soccer Federation. “This is a group of players with a lot of experience in these types of matches and we look forward to the opportunity.”

Berhalter is scheduled to answer questions from reporters Wednesday afternoon.

Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie and Tim Weah headline the roster, which includes 21 players from Nations League championship squads for the United States, which triumphed last year and took the inaugural 2021 trophy.

Because almost everyone in the player pool is healthy and many are in top form, several with international experience or with strong portfolios this club season failed to make the cut.

That list includes Brendan Aaronson, a World Cup attacker who is playing infrequently for Germany’s Union Berlin; center back Auston Trusty, a Premier League starter for Sheffield United; and Haji Wright, a World Cup striker who has scored 13 goals for Coventry City in the English second division.

It also includes German-based midfielder Lennard Maloney and forward Jordan Pefok and Mexican-based attackers Brandon Vazquez and Alejandro Zendejas. Since joining Monterrey from FC Cincinnati in January, Vazquez has posted seven goals in 12 matches across all competitions. Zendejas has eight goals and six assists in 26 appearances for Club América.

World Cup center back Cameron Carter-Vickers was not chosen because of a hamstring ailment. Young players with national team credentials, such as goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina and winger Kevin Paredes, are expected to join the under-23 squad, which will ramp up Olympic preparations with a March 25 friendly against France.

The group that will begin workouts in greater Dallas on Monday features Pulisic and McKennie, who are enjoying excellent seasons in Italian Serie A with AC Milan and Juventus, respectively.

McKennie is tied for second in the league with seven assists, one ahead of Pulisic, who has also scored eight goals, one shy of his career high, set four years ago with Chelsea.

Three members of Dutch-leading PSV Eindhoven made the squad: right back Sergiño Dest and forwards Ricardo Pepi and Malik Tillman. (Dest is ineligible for the Nations League semifinal because of a red card against Trinidad & Tobago last fall.)

The only MLS selections were Inter Miami goalkeeper Drake Callender and Cincinnati center back Miles Robinson.

This is developing story and will be updated.

Goalkeepers: Drake Callender (Inter Miami), Ethan Horvath (Cardiff City), Matt Turner (Nottingham Forest).

Defenders: Sergiño Dest (PSV Eindhoven), Kristoffer Lund (Palermo), Mark McKenzie (Genk), Tim Ream (Fulham), Chris Richards (Crystal Palace), Antonee Robinson (Fulham), Miles Robinson (FC Cincinnati), Joe Scally (Mönchengladbach).

Midfielders: Tyler Adams (Bournemouth), Johnny Cardoso (Real Betis), Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo), Weston McKennie (Juventus), Yunus Musah (AC Milan), Gio Reyna (Nottingham Forest).

Forwards: Folarin Balogun (Monaco), Malik Tillman (PSV Eindhoven), Ricardo Pepi (PSV Eindhoven), Christian Pulisic (AC Milan), Josh Sargent (Norwich City), Tim Weah (Juventus).

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