Galaxy’s Sebastian Lletget is called up by U.S. national team
Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget was one of three MLS players called up by the U.S. national team Wednesday ahead of friendlies with Jamaica and Northern Ireland in Europe. Lletget, the only player to appear in all four U.S. matches in 2020, is expected to report to training camp in Austria this weekend.
The camp is the first for the full squad in what will be one of the busiest and most consequential years in national team history. The U.S. will play in the final four of the CONCACAF Nations League in June followed by the Gold Cup in July. World Cup qualifying begins in September, with the COVID-compacted schedule forcing the U.S. to play eight qualifiers between Sept. 2-Nov. 16.
“The objective was to get our best possible team in preparations for Nations League and these guys are in it,” Berhalter said.
Twenty-three of the 26 players on the roster play in Europe. That list is topped by Chelsea attacker Christian Pulisic, who last played for the U.S. in an October 2019 win over Canada. Also called up was midfielder Yunus Musah, who plays for Spanish club Valencia. Musah, 18, who played for England as a youth international, declared earlier this week he would play for the U.S. on the senior level.
“It’s a huge win whenever you can get that good of a person [with] that much quality,” Berhalter said. “He’s such a fantastic kid. He endeared himself to the entire group when we saw him in in November. It’s a huge addition to our program.”
Among the omissions was Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie, who is dealing with an unspecified injury, and Yorba Linda’s Matthew Hoppe, a former Galaxy academy player who leads German club Schalke with five goals in 15 appearances this season. Hoppe, 20, is awaiting his first national team call-up.
The U.S. will play CONCACAF rival Jamaica on March 25 in Wiener Neustadt, Austria, where it beat Panama four months ago in its last full-squad match. Because of mandatory quarantine protocols in France, Germany and Portugal, seven players will report back to their club teams after that match. That impacted not only the players Berhalter called up but also how he’ll play the second game March 28 in Belfast.
“This is just part of part and parcel of what you have to deal with being involved in international soccer in COVID times,” Berhalter said. “So we’ll do that. And we’ll put a team on the field that will be successful and continue to develop.”
The roster is young and relatively inexperienced, averaging just a month over 23 years in age and 11 international appearances. Two players — Leicester City goalkeeper Chituru Odunze and Roma defender Bryan Reynolds — have yet to play for the national team while nine others have fewer than three caps.
Goalkeepers: Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge/BEL), Chituru Odunze (Leicester City/ENG), Zack Steffen (Manchester City/ENG)
Defenders: John Brooks* (Wolfsburg/GER), Reggie Cannon* (Boavista/POR), Sergiño Dest (Barcelona/ESP), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Matt Miazga (Anderlecht/BEL), Erik Palmer-Brown (Austria Wien/AUT), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG), Bryan Reynolds (Roma/ITA), Chris Richards* (Hoffenheim/GER), Antonee Robinson (Fulham/ENG)
Midfielders: Brenden Aaronson (Red Bull Salzburg/AUT), Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids) Tyler Adams* (RB Leipzig/GER), Luca de la Torre (Heracles/NED), Sebastian Lletget (Galaxy), Yunus Musah (Valencia/ESP), Owen Otasowie (Wolverhampton Wanderers/ENG)
Forwards: Daryl Dike (Barnsley/ENG), Nicholas Gioacchini (Caen/FRA), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG), Gio Reyna* (Borussia Dortmund/GER), Josh Sargent* (Werder Bremen/GER), Tim Weah* (Lille/FRA)
* will depart after the March 25 match
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