USMNT roster for World Cup tuneup matches in September: Pulisic, McKennie to face for Japan and Saudi Arabia in final tryout Qatar 2022. The U.S. men’s national team is set to embark on its final tune up prior to the 2022 World Cup, with a pair of friendlies against Japan and Saudi Arabia in late September. The friendlies will take place in Germany and Spain, making travel easier for those players based in Europe. USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter will use this camp to make his final determinations on which 26 players will head to Qatar for the World Cup, meaning the stakes are extremely high for those on the September roster.
Japan and Saudi Arabia in Final Tryout For Qatar 2022
For those who miss out, it’s not the end of the road by any means. Some players are hurt and could recover in time to be involved for the World Cup, while others are locks to make the World Cup roster and Berhalter wishes to use this opportunity to evaluate other players. Still, this roster will be a good indication of Berhalter’s thinking, meaning that being left off this roster means the road ahead will be tough if the goal is to be on the plane to Qatar.
USMNT squad for September friendlies vs Japan, Saudi Arabia
Gregg Berhalter has made his final determination on the 26-man squad to play the late-September friendlies in Europe. In net, Sean Johnson and Ethan Horvath will likely battle it out for the final goalkeeper spot. Central defenders on the bubble like Erik Palmer-Brown, Mark McKenzie, and Joe Scally should have a chance to impress, while there just aren’t enough spots for the likes of Tim Ream, James Sands and John Brooks, meaning they probably will be on the outside looking in come November. At full-back, Sam Vines’s inclusion, and the absence of George Bello, means he should get the opportunity to secure the backup left-back spot, an important choice for Berhalter as Antonee Robinson, usually a lock to make the starting XI, is currently nursing an injured ankle. In midfield, there aren’t too many difficult decisions to make, with neither Djordje Mihailovic or Gianluca Busio on the roster. Johnny Cardoso of Brazilian side Internacional was a late addition replacing the injured Yunus Musah (groin). That is probably a sign that he’s the first in line should injury disaster strike the midfield corps.
In the wide areas, there also aren’t many tough calls, but up front there are many players battling for time. The early lead for the striker role is with Jesus Ferreira, while Josh Sargent and Ricardo Pepi are battling for a place. Meanwhile, the absences of Haji Wright and Jordan Pefok could spell doom for their World Cup chances despite good club form.
Below is the final roster for the upcoming USMNT September friendlies against Japan and Saudi Arabia.
USMNT roster for September camp
Defenders (9): Reggie Cannon (Boavista), Sergino Dest (AC Milan), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Mark McKenzie (Genk), Erik Palmer-Brown (Troyes), Joe Scally (Monchengladbach), Sam Vines (Royal Antwerp), DeAndre Yedlin (Inter Miami CF), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC).
Midfielders (6): Kellyn Acosta (LAFC), Tyler Adams (Leeds United), Johnny Cardoso (Internacional), Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo), Weston McKennie (Juventus), Malik Tillman (Rangers).
Forwards (8): Brenden Aaronson (Leeds United), Paul Arriola (FC Dallas), Jesus Ferreira (FC Dallas), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Ricardo Pepi (FC Groningen), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Josh Sargent (Norwich City).
USMNT players who miss out
Goalkeepers: Josh Cohen (Maccabi Haifa), Gaga Slonina (Chicago Fire FC).
Defenders: George Bello (Arminia Bielefeld), John Brooks (Benfica), Shaq Moore (Nashville SC), Erik Palmer-Brown (Troyes), Tim Ream (Fulham), James Sands (Rangers), John Tolkin (New York Red Bulls).
Midfielders: Gianluca Busio (Venezia FC), Djordje Mihailovic (CF Montreal), Eryk Williamson (Portland Timbers).
Who is currently injured for the USMNT?
There are some injuries for Gregg Berhalter to contend with as November rolls nearer. The two most impactful injuries are to Miles Robinson and Antonee ‘Jedi’ Robinson. The former is likely out for the World Cup after suffering an Achilles tear a couple of months ago. Miles was expected to start alongside Walker Zimmerman, and his absence means the door is wide open for a number of other center-backs to earn not just a spot on the roster but even a starting role. Jedi, meanwhile, went down with an ankle injury on duty for Fulham a few weeks ago and his recovery time is still unknown. The depth for the United States at left-back is extremely thin, and his backup role will be critical.
Timothy Weah has been out longer than expected at Lille, throwing his position on the right flank into question. It’s reportedly possible that Weah returns to club action before September camp begins, which would be a big boost for the World Cup squad. He’s a lock to make the roster if healthy, so his absence from September camp isn’t a huge issue, but getting Weah club minutes prior to the tournament will be critical.
When and where are the September friendlies?
The USMNT will break camp on September 17 for a 10-day trial run ahead of the 2023 World Cup. The camp includes training, where Gregg Berhalter will assess the talent available to him for selection, before a pair of matches against fellow World Cup participants, both from the Asian confederation. The United States will first match up against Japan on September 23 in Dusseldorf, Germany before taking on Saudi Arabia four days later on September 27 in Murcia, Spain.
In scheduling both Japan and Saudi Arabia, the USMNT will not only hope to assess the talent on the roster but also get a feel for upcoming World Cup opponents. The match against Saudi Arabia especially will be a chance to take on an opponent theoretically similar in nature to Group B opponents Iran. The game against Japan, meanwhile, will provide a still test against an opponent who has a chance to upset Spain or Germany in Group E.
The first and most discussed among fans is at striker. While sometimes these difficult decisions come thanks to a wealth of talent — a problem many coaches are happy to face — this one is unfortunately resulting of the opposite. Nobody in the USMNT player pool has really stepped up and taken hold of the striker position. For those performing well at their clubs like Jesus Ferreira, it’s a chance to grab the USMNT striker role on the international level. On the flip side, those who have excelled in a USMNT jersey in the past, such as Josh Sargent and Ricardo Pepi, have endured struggles in club action.
Sargent has turned things around recently at Norwich, but only after dropping a tier following relegation from the Premier League. The absence of Jordan Pefok and Haji Wright could mean that Berhalter has moved on from those two despite their great club form, although Berhalter’s comments on Pefok could mean he still has a chance to see a spot on the plane to Qatar.