Tuesday, July 5

McKennie returns to USMNT for June games

U.S. men’s national team manager Gregg Berhalter announced his 27-player roster for a pair of friendlies as well as two CONCACAF Nations League matches to take place in June.

The U.S. will face Morocco and Uruguay in friendlies on June 1 and June 5, respectively. These matches will be followed by CNL games against Grenada in Austin, Texas, on June 10 and an away match against El Salvador four days later.

The players will begin reporting to training camp in Cincinnati — the site of the Morocco game — this weekend. The games will serve as preparation matches for the 2022 World Cup, where the U.S. has been placed in Group B alongside England, Iran and one of Wales, Scotland and Ukraine.

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“We are excited to get the group back together as we prepare to compete against two fellow World Cup participants and begin the defense of our [Confederation of North and Central American and Caribbean Football] Nations League title,” Berhalter said. “With the World Cup six months away, we aim to maximize these opportunities and continue to progress as a team. We are looking forward to experiencing the incredible support of our home fans for the last time before we represent them in Qatar in November.”

The roster contains 19 players that were part of the successful effort to qualify for the 2022 World Cup, including Chelsea midfielder Christian Pulisic, Nashville SC defender Walker Zimmerman and RB Leipzig midfielder Tyler Adams.

Another contributor, Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie, has successfully recovered from a broken foot to take part in the training camp.

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“So we’re going to have a plan for him,” Berhalter said of McKennie during a later media availability. “I wouldn’t be expecting him to play major minutes in these first couple of games. Hopefully we can get to a point where he can start one of the Nation’s League games, but that’s not guaranteed. He’s been doing a great job and getting back and for us, it’s just great to have him back in camp and hopefully get him some playing time throughout the camp.

Barcelona defender Sergino Dest, Atlanta United center back Miles Robinson, Borussia Dortmund midfielder Gio Reyna, Norwich City forward Josh Sargent, Young Boys forward Jordan Pefok, West Bromwich Albion forward Daryl Dike and center back Chris Richards — who just returned to Bayern Munich after ending his loan spell at Hoffenheim — will all miss out due to injury.

Of Richards, Berhalter called his injury “day to day,” adding that he was unlikely to be risked in this camp “due to the fact that he’s been out for a while.”

Berhalter also name-checked Ricardo Pepi, Gianluca Busio and James Sands as players who were left off this roster as they recover following their first seasons playing in Europe.

Wolfsburg defender John Brooks, who was on the outside looking in for much of World Cup qualifying, wasn’t called in.

Berhalter, though, did not close the door on Brooks potentially making the World Cup if he impresses after a move to a new club this summer.

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

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That has opened the door for several new faces to make their mark in what will be one of the last training camps prior to the announcement of the World Cup roster this fall. Cameron Carter-Vickers, coming off a title-winning season at Celtic, has been included for the first time since 2019.

Djordje Mihailovic, in the midst of a stellar season for CF Montreal with seven goals and five assists, is back in the fold for the first time since December 2020. Antalyaspor striker Haji Wright is uncapped at the senior level, but took part in a U.S. training camp in the summer of 2019. He has scored 14 league goals with one match remaining in the season.

“He’ll get the opportunity to play in this camp,” Berhalter said of Wright. “So we only have two true strikers on the roster. So he will get an opportunity.”

The other uncapped players called in are Borussia Monchengladbach defender Joe Scally and Bayern Munich midfielder Malik Tillman. Tillman is still in the process of making a one-time switch to play for the U.S. after representing Germany at the youth level. The U.S. is hopeful that the process will be completed in time for Tillman to play in some of the upcoming matches.

“It was just about painting the vision of our program and where we potentially see him fitting in, but I think also where the program is heading,” Berhalter said of the process to recruit Tillman that began close to a year ago. “Although the guys didn’t speak to him directly, I think they speak for themselves in terms of what they’re doing on the field and the clubs they are at and the age they are and I know a lot of players are excited to be part of this group. And this was certainly the case with Malik. We had some good conversations a couple of weeks ago in Munich, and I was happy to see him commit to us and looking forward to working with him in camp.”

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There is no place on the roster for highly rated Chicago Fire FC goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina, though the 18-year-old announced Friday that he will represent the U.S. rather than Poland, which had called him up earlier this week.

FULL ROSTER

Goalkeepers (3): Ethan Horvath (Nottingham Forest/ENG; 7/0), Zack Steffen (Manchester City/ENG; 29/0), Matt Turner (New England Revolution; 16/0)

Defenders (9): George Bello (Arminia Bielefeld/GER; 6/0), Reggie Cannon (Boavista/POR; 24/1), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic/SCO; 8/0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 23/3), Erik Palmer-Brown (Troyes/FRA; 3/0), Antonee Robinson (Fulham/ENG; 25/2), Joe Scally (Borussia Monchengladbach/GER; 0/0), DeAndre Yedlin (Inter Miami; 73/0), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; 28/3)

Midfielders (8): Kellyn Acosta (LAFC; 51/2), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig/GER; 27/1), Luca de la Torre (Heracles/NED; 7/0), Weston McKennie (Juventus/ITA; 31/9), Djordje Mihailovic (CF Montreal/CAN; 6/1), Yunus Musah (Valencia/ESP; 16/0), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders; 31/0), Malik Tillman (Bayern Munich/GER; 0/0)

Forwards (7): Brenden Aaronson (Red Bull Salzburg/AUT; 18/5), Paul Arriola (FC Dallas; 44/9), Jesus Ferreira (FC Dallas; 9/3), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders; 46/10), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG; 48/21), Tim Weah (Lille/FRA; 22/2), Haji Wright (Antalyaspor/TUR; 0/0)

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