Gregg Berhalter Names 23 Players to Final USMNT Roster For Decisive Concacaf Nations League Matches Against Canada and CubaUSA Needs Wins in Both Matches for Chance to Advance; Pulisic and Bradley Forced to Withdraw Due to Injury
CHICAGO (Nov. 11, 2019) – U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Gregg Berhalter has named 23 players to the roster for this month’s must-win Concacaf Nations League matches against Canada on Nov. 15 in Orlando and Cuba on Nov. 19 in George Town, Cayman Islands.
“Advancing to the knockout phase is our priority, and that starts by getting a win against Canada,” Berhalter said. “We will be ready to play, the team is looking forward to competing in front of our fans. Orlando has been a great venue for the National Team, and the support of our fans makes a big difference.”
Tickets as low as $25 are on sale through ticketmaster.com. [Note: Tickets are not sold at Exploria Stadium except on the day of the event.] Groups of 20 or more can order directly at ussoccer.com. Ultimate Fan Tickets (special VIP packages that include a premium ticket, a custom-made official U.S. National Team jersey with name and number, VIP access to the field before the game, and other unique benefits) are also available exclusively through ussoccer.com.
After originally being named to the roster last week, Christian Pulisic was forced to withdraw from the squad after he suffered a hip injury during Chelsea’s match against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
“This was a collaborative decision with the club looking after the best interest of the player," Berhalter said before Monday’s training session. “These decisions are always difficult because this group and the coaching staff want nothing more than to have Christian here, but it was a risk we weren’t willing to take at this time."
Midfielder Michael Bradley was also to be part of the squad, but was forced to withdraw after sustaining a right ankle injury during Sunday’s MLS Cup Final in Seattle.
Striker Jordan Morris and midfielder Cristian Roldan of Seattle Sounders FC were added to the roster following Sunday’s 3-1 win against Toronto FC in the 2019 MLS Cup, while forward Corey Baird and defender Chase Gasper departed camp over the weekend.
Taking advantage of having many domestic-based players in the midst of their offseason, the USMNT summoned 20 players for a pre-camp which began on Nov. 2 in Bradenton, Fla., before the team’s European-based players were added to the roster last week.
In order to qualify for the knockout round of the inaugural 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League, the USMNT must win both of its matches this month and make up a three-goal differential on current Group A leaders Canada. The USA looks for revenge when it takes on Les Rouges on Friday, Oct. 15 at Exploria Stadium in Orlando (7 p.m. ET; ESPN2, UniMas, TUDN). The team will then close out group play with a neutral-site match against Cuba on Tuesday, Nov. 19 at Truman Bodden Sports Complex in George Town, Cayman Islands (7:30 p.m. ET; FS1, UniMas, TUDN).
Fans can follow both matches via U.S. Soccer’s official Facebook, Twitter (@USMNT) and Instagram (@USMNT) accounts.
USMNT ROSTER BY POSITION (Club; Caps/Goals)
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC; 62/0), Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 8/0), Matt Turner (New England Revolution; 0/0)
DEFENDERS (9): John Brooks (Wolfsburg/GER; 37/3), Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas; 9/0), Sergiño Dest (Ajax/NED; 2/0), Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes; 9/0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 14/2), Daniel Lovitz (Montreal Impact/CAN; 12/0), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 38/1), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United/ENG; 60/0), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC; 11/2)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 12/2), Weston McKennie (Schalke/GER; 17/6), Alfredo Morales (Fortuna Düsseldorf/GER; 14/0), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; 18/0), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; 20/0), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes; 4/0)
FORWARDS (5): Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 30/5), Tyler Boyd (Besiktas/TUR; 8/2), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 37/7), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen/GER; 11/3), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew SC; 54/10)
WIN TO GET IN
Holding its destiny in its own hands, the path for the United States to advance to the knockout stage of the inaugural Nations League is clear: win both remaining matches and achieve a superior goal differential. Canada is on top of the group with nine points and a plus-nine goal differential, largely on the strength of scoring seven times in two games against Cuba. The U.S. notched seven of their own the first time around against Cuba and will need to keep their foot on the gas. First up, however, is a massive rematch against the Canadian team that ignited their home crowd and support across the nation with a 2-0 win on Oct. 15 in Toronto, their first against the United States in more than three decades.
BEEN HERE BEFORE
While this pool of players continues to gain international experience – seven of them played their first away match in Concacaf official competition last month in Toronto - the USMNT is no stranger to the away-home scenario in group play. In the semifinal round of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the U.S. played and lost in Jamaica before returning home four days later and collecting a 1-0 win in Columbus. Four years later, it was the same circumstance and the same outcome against Guatemala, only this time the Columbus faithful witnessed a 4-0 shutout.
While the Nations League isn’t exactly the same as the old semifinal round of World Cup qualifying, it does offer some insight into how teams deal with defeats at this stage of the process and their prospect of advancement. Going back to the 1998 World Cup Qualifying cycle, 14 of the 18 Concacaf teams that qualified for the World Cup lost at least one away game during the semifinal round, demonstrating that these are common bumps in the road on the way to earning a place at the FIFA World Cup
DEST COMMITTED TO USMNT
Just over a week ago, U.S. Youth National Team prospect and current Ajax defender Sergiño Dest announced that he would continue internationally with the Red, White and Blue after his birth country of the Netherlands showed recent interest in bringing him into their senior team fold. Having represented the United States at the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup and 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup, Dest earned his first two USMNT caps during the team’s September friendlies, but should he appear in either of November’s Nations League contests, the recently turned 19-year-old will officially be cap-tied to the United States. Dest has made a strong rise with Ajax in recent months, locking down the starting spot at right back and appearing in 15 combined Eredivisie and UEFA Champions League matches, while registering three assists in the process.
Weston McKennie is coming off a record-setting performance against Cuba, registering the fastest USMNT hat trick from the start of a match. Notching his first goal with just 32 ticks on the clock – bested only in speed by Clint Dempsey’s goal against Ghana in the 2014 FIFA World Cup – he also tallied in the fifth and 13th minutes of the 7-0 victory on Oct. 11 in Washington, D.C. McKennie is tied for the Concacaf Nations League A scoring lead along with Junior Hoilett (Canada), José Juan Macías (Mexico) and Nahki Wells (Bermuda).
The 23 players have an average age of 25 years, 362 days and 21 caps.
The roster features 15 players from MLS and eight from Europe with Germany (4), England (2), Netherlands and Turkey (1 each) represented.
Eighteen players took part in the USMNT’s October camp.
Forward Jordan Morris and midfielder Cristian Roldan join the squad off their 3-1 victory against Toronto FC in Sunday’s MLS Cup Final.
DeAndre Yedlin will come to Orlando after tallying an acrobatic header in Newcastle United’s 2-1 win against Bournemouth on Saturday. The goal was Yedlin’s second in the English Premier League.
Having declared his international future to the United States, Ajax defender Sergiño Dest will be cap-tied to the USMNT with an appearance in either game this month.
After last appearing in September’s match against Mexico, the German-based duo of Alfredo Morales and John Brooks return to the squad.
Morales returns after suffering a strained right groin during September’s match against Mexico. The Fortuna Düsseldorf midfielder made his USMNT debut against Canada on Jan. 29, 2013 in Houston.
Thanks to his hat trick last month against Cuba, USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie is tied for the Concacaf Nations League A scoring lead along with Junior Hoilett (Canada), José Juan Macías (Mexico) and Nahki Wells (Bermuda).