Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie and 18-year-old Inter Miami midfielder Ben Cremaschi headline Gregg Berhalter’s first roster since the Americans’ 2022 World Cup coach was rehired in June.
Pulisic, who has two goals in two league games with new club AC Milan and who is expected to captain his country in the absence of the injured Tyler Adams, will lead the Americans in exhibitions against Uzbekistan on Sept. 9 in St. Louis and Sept. 12 versus Oman in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Pulisic and McKennie are among 12 invitees who were also on Berhalter’s squad at Qatar 2022, a group that includes fellow World Cup starters Sergiño Dest, Yunus Musah, Tim Ream, Antonee “Jedi” Robinson and Matt Turner and Tim Weah.
Cremaschi, a former U.S. youth national teamer who is also eligible to represent Argentina, receives his first senior callup following a string of fine performances for Miami since Lionel Messi joined the MLS club last month. FOX Sports reported last week that Cremaschi was on the USMNT’s provisional roster for next month’s friendlies; since then, the South Florida native scored Miami winning shootout attempt to send the Herons to the U.S. Open Cup final, then set up Messi’s first MLS regular season goal:
Inter Miami’s Lionel Messi, Benjamin Cremaschi link up for a BEAUTIFUL goal against NY Red bulls
Miami keeper Drake Callender and Atlanta United center back Miles Robinson are the only other MLS players on the roster. The rest, with the exception of Brazil-based Johnny Cardoso, are employed by European clubs.
Cremaschi isn’t the only dual-national who earned his first USMNT invite. Defender Kristoffer Lund, who represented Denmark at the youth level, has petitioned FIFA for a one-time change of association to play for the U.S., according to a team spokesman.
“We are thrilled to have a number of core players in this group while also being able to introduce some new faces to the senior team,” Berhalter said in a statement announcing the 24-man list. “Uzbekistan and Oman are types of teams we could face in the World Cup, so it’s an important opportunity to gain that experience.”
Here’s the full roster:
Goalkeepers: Drake Callender, Inter Miami; Ethan Horvath, Nottingham Forest (England); Matt Turner, Nottingham Forest
Defenders: Sergiño Dest, PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands); Kristoffer Lund, Palermo (Italy); Mark McKenzie, Genk (Belgium), Kevin Paredes, Wolfsburg (Germany), Tim Ream, Fulham England), Chris Richards, Crystal Palace (England), Antonee Robinson, Fulham (England), Miles Robinson, Atlanta United; Joe Scally, Borussia Mönchengladbach (Germany)
Midfielders: Johnny Cardoso, Internacional (Brazil); Ben Cremaschi, Inter Miami; Luca de la Torre, Celta Vigo (Spain); Weston McKennie, Juventus (Italy), Yunus Musah, AC Milan (Italy); Malik Tillman, PSV Eindhoven
Forwards: Brenden Aaronson, Union Berlin (Germany); Folarin Balogun, Arsenal (England), Cade Cowell, San Jose Earthquakes; Ricardo Pepi, PSV Eindhoven; Christian Pulisic, AC Milan; Tim Weah, Juventus
Injures rule out Gio Reyna, others
Adams isn’t the only key absence. Gio Reyna, 20, also isn’t among those summoned by Berhalter; the Borussia Dortmund midfielder missed the Bundesliga power’s entire preseason after injuring his leg in the U.S.’s Nations League final win over Canada on June 19.
That means any conversation between coach and player will have to wait. In an interview published by Vanity Fair on Tuesday, Berhalter said the pair haven’t spoken since Reyna’s parents almost succeeded in getting the coach permanently removed from his post following an ugly, drawn-out squabble stemming from the younger Reyna’s limited playing time at the World Cup.
Others out next month are Taylor Booth, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Sean Johnson, Josh Sargent, Zack Steffen and Walker Zimmerman.
Flo Balogun, Ricardo Pepi lead the line
With Sargent (ankle) out, Berhalter called in the same two strikers interim manager B.J. Callaghan relied on during the Nations League semis and final.
Balogun gets the nod despite his impending move to Monaco in Ligue 1. Sargent’s injury likely made the decision to select Pepi, who isn’t starting for PSV, easier for Berhalter, who somewhat surprisingly opted not to take the 20-year-old to last year’s World Cup.
Plenty familiarity elsewhere
The roster features no less than six sets of club teammates, including a squad high three from PSV. Musah plays with Pulisic in Milan. McKennie and Weah are both with fellow Serie A power Juventus. Horvath is Turner’s backup with Premier League Forest — a role he’ll reprise at the international level. Finally, Ream and Jedi Robinson are in their fourth season together at Fulham.
Those close and well-established connections should only bolster a team that was lauded for its culture and camaraderie during Berhalter’s first four-year term at the helm.
Doug McIntyre is a soccer writer for FOX Sports. Before joining FOX Sports in 2021, he was a staff writer with ESPN and Yahoo Sports and he has covered United States men’s and women’s national teams at multiple FIFA World Cups. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.
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