USMNT World Cup 2022 roster: Goalie Zack Steffen off squad, forward Haji Wright going to Qatar

US men’s national team coach Gregg Berhalter on Wednesday announced the names of 26 athletes who will participate in this month’s World Cup in Qatar. What you need to know:

  • The roster does not include goalkeeper Zach Steffen, but includes forward Haji Wright and center back Tim Ream.
  • Most of the list was as expected. Christian Pulisic, Tyler Adams, Weston McKenney and Gio Reyna were never in doubt. Also missing were starters Yunus Musah, Sergino Dest, Anthony Robinson, Walker Zimmerman, Matt Turner and Tim Weah.
  • However, there were several key position battles that were called in the last few weeks and even the days of selection.

Key Inclusions and Omissions

Notable decisions included Berhalter bringing Shaq Moore over Nashville SC over Boavista’s Reggie Cannon, Seattle Sounders winger Jordan Morris over FC Dallas veteran Paul Arriola, and Rangers youngster Malik Tillman over Sounders midfielder Christian Roldan.

But no decision was more surprising than the omission of Manchester City goalkeeper Steffen, the USMNT’s No. 1 goalkeeper at the World Cup.

Injuries limited Steffen during the draft, allowing Turner to take over the top spot on the depth chart. However, many expected Steffen to make the team as a backup. But the last few months have reminded me of changes. Steffen left the club in June for family reasons and then left Manchester City on loan to join Middlesbrough where he could play more games. He was fit enough to start Boro’s final game before the FIFA window opened, but was left out of the USA squad in September’s friendly.

Instead of bringing Steffen to Qatar, Berhalter called up Luton Town’s Ethan Horvath and NYCFC’s Sean Johnson.

Ahead of Wednesday’s roster announcement, the focus was on two position groups: center back and forward. Berhalter delivered a surprise entry at two points.

Reim, 35, has not been called up by the United States since last October. He left the selection camp for family reasons and has not returned to the United States since. With Chris Richards sidelined through injury, Berhalter opted to bring in the veteran defender over other options such as Genk’s Mark McKenzie or Troyes’ Eric Palmer-Brown.

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In front, Josh Sargent, Ricardo Pepi and Jordan Pefok were expected to battle for two of the last three spots. Berhalter did indeed bring in Sargent but decided to keep Pepy and Pefok at home and called on Wright, who has four goals in his last four games and nine in the Turkish Super League with Antalyaspor.

Wright returned to the US pool during the June window, his first call-up since 2019 and has been in good form, scoring 25 goals in the last two seasons. Wright scored a penalty in his U.S. debut against Morocco in June, but Berhalter also criticized the 24-year-old’s performance after he was substituted during halftime of the Nations League game against El Salvador.

Pefok has had a hot start to the Bundesliga season at Union Berlin, but has not scored since September 18. But Pepi has scored five goals and provided two assists in nine games since joining Groningen on loan this summer, but it hasn’t been enough. Go to the World Cup list.

Sargent has 8 goals and 2 assists in the Premier League for Norwich this season. Jesus Ferreira made the team despite failing to score in the last seven games of the MLS season and not playing since FC Dallas’ elimination from the playoffs on October 23rd.

The USA will open the World Cup against Wales on November 21. They play England on Black Friday, November 25, and finish their group stage against Iran on November 29.

It should be noted that this list will become official on November 14, when the final squad is submitted to FIFA. Players will continue to play for their clubs this week and there will be time to replace injuries if needed.

Beginning XI

Based on the lineups we’ve seen in the last six games in June and September, there’s a pretty clear idea of ​​what Berhalter has in mind for his starting XI against Wales. As such, Berhalter has provided enough surprises in his full squad to leave us with little doubt about two key areas: center back and forward.

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Here’s our predicted XI against Wales:

  • Formation: 4-3-3
  • Goalie: Matt Turner
  • Defenders (left to right): Anthony Robinson, Aaron Long, Walker Zimmerman, Sergino Dest
  • Central Midfield: Tyler Adams, Weston McKenney, Yunus Musah
  • Forwards: Christian Pulisic, Jesus Ferreira, Tim Weah

One position to observe

It should be number 9.

The U.S. hasn’t found a forward it can rely on for consistent production, and Berhalter’s surprise hit with Wright adds another wrinkle to the mix.

Ferreira, as mentioned earlier, has not scored in his last seven games for FC Dallas, and hasn’t played since the team was eliminated from the MLS playoffs on October 23rd. Sargent, on the other hand, has scored eight goals for England’s Norwich this season. Championship, but suffered an injury at the end of October, missed two games and has not scored since October 15.

Wright, meanwhile, enters the tournament as the team’s hottest goal scorer. He has scored four goals in the last four games in the Turkish Super Lig and has nine goals this season.

It remains to be seen how Berhalter will use those three options, but there are no specific picks or lock-down options.

Group play expectations

The young stars that make up the core of this team have created excitement around this team, but it’s important to remember just how young this USA team is.

The average age of the CONCACAF-qualified USA team was 24.07. His starting lineup was even younger: 23.82. The average age of this full squad against Wales will be slightly higher (especially with the inclusion of Reims) at 25 years and 175 days. However, the team has only one player with World Cup experience: Yedlin.

The 2022 team also tied the 1990 USA team for most players under the age of 23 with nine on the USMNT’s World Cup roster: Adams (23); Aaronson, Dest, Josh Sargent, Weah (22); Jesus Ferreira (21); Musa, Reina and Joe Scully (19).

The history of the World Cup shows that there is a limit to young teams. In the last five tournaments, only one country with an average age of under 25.9 has reached the semi-finals: Germany in 2010. That team reached the semi-finals in South Africa and brought back the same players for four years. then won the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

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There will be a learning curve, but that doesn’t mean the floor shouldn’t be adjusted to a certain level. For most people, this means leaving the group.

“I don’t care how old they are,” US men’s national team legend DaMarcus Beasley said in a podcast interview for the story “From Kuwait to Qatar: Remaking the USMNT.” Athletic. “I hope they do well. I think they will. I think 100 percent they will go out of the group. I think they will silence a lot of critics.”

The four countries in Group B (USA, Wales, England and Iran) are ranked at an average of 15, which is higher than Qatar.

Full USMNT World Cup Squad

USMNT World Cup 2022 Team

Location Player Club Age Caps

G.K

Matt Turner

Arsenal

28

20

G.K

Ethan Horvath

Luton Town

27

8

G.K

Sean Johnson

NYCFC

33

10

DEF

Anthony Robinson

Fulham

25

29

DEF

Joe Scully

Borussia Mgladbach

19

3

DEF

Sergino Dest

AC Milan

22

19

DEF

Shaq Moore

Nashville SC

26

15

DEF

DeAndre Yedlin

Inter Miami

29

75

DEF

Cameron Carter-Vickers

Celtic

24

11

DEF

Aaron Long

NY Red Bulls

30

29

DEF

Tim Rim

Fulham

35

46

DEF

Walker Zimmerman

Nashville SC

29

33

IN THE MIDDLE

Kellyn Acosta

LAFC

27

53

IN THE MIDDLE

Tyler Adams

Leeds United

23

32

IN THE MIDDLE

Luca de la Torre

Celta Vigo

24

12

IN THE MIDDLE

Weston McKenney

Juventus

24

37

IN THE MIDDLE

Yunus Musa

Valencia

19

19

IN THE MIDDLE

Christian Roldan

Seattle Sounders

27

32

IN THE MIDDLE

Brenden Aaronson

Leeds United

22

24

FWD

Jordan Morris

Seattle Sounders

28

49

FWD

Christian Pulisic

Chelsea

24

52

FWD

Gio Reyna

Dortmund

19

14

FWD

Tim Weah

Lille

22

25

FWD

Jesus Ferreira

FC Dallas

21

15

FWD

Josh Sargent

City of Norwich

22

20

FWD

Haji Wright

Antalyaspor

24

3

Required reading

(Photo: Orlando Ramirez / USA Today)



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