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USMNT World Cup camp roster includes a few surprises and some key omissions

U.S. men's soccer coach Gregg Berhalter, center, talks with players.
U.S. men’s soccer coach Gregg Berhalter, center, talks with players before a World Cup qualifying match against Panama.
(Associated Press)

With the World Cup opener less than six months away, U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter continues to refine his roster, calling 27 players into training camp for the final series of home matches before the fall tournament in Qatar.

The U.S. will play friendlies against World Cup qualifiers Morocco on June 1 in Cincinnati and Uruguay in Kansas City four days later. The Americans will then open defense of their CONCACAF Nations League title against Grenada on June 10 in Austin before closing the June match window in El Salvador on June 14.

The focus will be on preparing for the return to the World Cup after failing to qualify for the tournament in 2018.

“We want to sit with the group and talk about some of our goals for the World Cup. Because once you’re there, you don’t have that long a period,” Berhalter said. “So this time will be important.”

Berhalter said the team also will experiment with different formations, such as a three-man back line, to give it some options in Qatar. It would be unwise, he added, to draw too many conclusions based on who was and wasn’t called into camp.

Fatma Al-Nuaimi, the executive communications director of the Organizing Committee of the Qatar 2022 World Cup, talks about the tournament.

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“No one spot is determined,” Berhalter said. “We’re looking at some guys, some guys are getting opportunities. But it doesn’t mean guys are not going to be on the World Cup roster if they’re not on this June roster.”

The team Berhalter chose includes few surprises — 19 of the players selected were also on the final World Cup qualifying roster in March — but it also includes three men who never played for the national team and three others who haven’t appeared in an international match since December 2020.

There were some notable omissions, including center back John Brooks, a World Cup veteran who hasn’t played for the U.S. since September. Center back became a position of need this month when Miles Robinson, who started 11 of the 14 World Cup qualifiers, ruptured his left Achilles tendon. He is considered doubtful for Qatar. Among the candidates called up to audition as his replacement are Cameron Carter-Vickers, who last played for the U.S. in 2019, and Erik Palmer-Brown.

“We didn’t think there’d be enough game time to get a guy like John Brooks on the field. So because of that we didn’t bring him in,” Berhalter said.

“He’s not out permanently. That’s not our idea. The idea is we want players that can fit our game model, that can play in our game model; it can make us better.”

U.S. was put in a group with England, Iran and the winner of a June playoff involving Wales, Scotland and Ukraine

Midfielder Malik Tillman, a dual national of Germany and the U.S., is getting his first call-up to the senior national team after requesting a one-time change of association from FIFA. Tillman, 19, a former U.S. youth international, was part of the German youth national team as recently as March.

Forward Haji Wright, who started his professional career in the Galaxy youth academy, is also looking to make his senior international debut as is teenage defender Joe Scally.

Also called up were midfielder Weston McKennie and goalkeeper Matt Turner, who missed the March qualifiers because of injuries. Among those still out with injuries are defender Sergiño Dest, forward Gio Reyna and center back Chris Richards.

The roster

Goalkeepers: Ethan Horvath (Nottingham Forest), Zack Steffen (Manchester City), Matt Turner (New England Revolution)

Defenders: George Bello (Arminia Bielefeld), Reggie Cannon (Boavista), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Erik Palmer-Brown (Troyes), Antonee Robinson (Fulham), Joe Scally (Borussia Monchengladbach), DeAndre Yedlin (Inter Miami), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC)

Midfielders: Kellyn Acosta (LAFC), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig), Luca de la Torre (Heracles), Weston McKennie (Juventus), Djordje Mihailovic (CF Montreal), Yunus Musah (Valencia), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders), Malik Tillman (Bayern Munich)

Forwards: Brenden Aaronson (Red Bull Salzburg), Paul Arriola (FC Dallas), Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Tim Weah (Lille/FRA), Haji Wright (Antalyaspor)


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