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USMNT’s Christian Pulisic, Gio Reyna out for next World Cup qualifiers

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U.S. Men’s National Team coach Gregg Berhalter announced his 27-man roster for three World Cup qualifying matches in October on Wednesday, and it does not include Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic or Borussia Dortmund’s Gio Reyna.

The U.S., 1-0-2 after three matches on the 14-game schedule, will play winless Jamaica on Oct. 7 in Austin, Texas. They’ll travel to face unbeaten Panama on Oct. 10, before closing the second round of qualifying in Columbus, Ohio, against once-beaten Costa Rica on Oct. 13.

Pulisic, 23, suffered an ankle injury during the USMNT’s 4-1 win over Honduras on Sept. 8 and has been out since, while Reyna, 18, suffered a hamstring injury vs. El Salvador on Sept. 2.

However, Berhalter said Wednesday that it’s possible — albeit unlikely– they could join the team for the Costa Rica match.

“I wouldn’t rule them completely out,” Berhalter said Wednesday. “I’d describe the situation as day-to-day. … With players like that you want to leave the door open as long as possible.”

Returning to the lineup is Weston McKennie, 23, who was sent home from USMNT camp earlier in September for breaking team COVID-19 protocols during the last round of World Cup qualifiers.

“Like any player, you talk through it, and you work through it, and the player takes responsibility,” Berhalter explained. “I think there is part of it that you move forward and you say ‘Okay, it’s a clean slate for you.’ But there’s a certain amount of trust that Weston needs to rebuild with the group, and he’s willing to do that and I think that’s the important thing.

“The one thing I didn’t love in how this whole thing got spun, is just the lack of tolerance, the lack of understanding for a player’s situation, for the fact that we have a young group, and this group needs to learn. I think we’re way too quick to condemn people and not really understand a player’s perspective. Listen, his behavior was unacceptable, he took responsibility for it, and we move on. We really do move on. But will he be held accountable in the future? Absolutely. That’s going to be part of it, and he understands that. The group understands that. So, we move forward.”

The U.S. picked up five points total from their first three qualifying matches vs. El Salvador (0-0 draw), Canada (1-1 draw) and Honduras (4-1 win), and sit in second place, tied with Canada. A top-three finish in the eight-team group will secure qualification to the 2022 World Cup, while the team finishing fourth will be in an intercontinental playoff.

Detailed roster by position (club/country; caps/goals):

GOALKEEPERS (3): Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 9/0), Zack Steffen (Manchester City/ENG; 23/0), Matt Turner (New England Revolution; 10/0)

DEFENDERS (10): George Bello (Atlanta United; 4/0), John Brooks (Wolfsburg/GER; 45/3), Sergino Dest (Barcelona/ESP; 13/1), Mark McKenzie (Genk/BEL; 7/0), Shaq Moore (Tenerife/ESP; 11/1), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 46/1), Chris Richards (Hoffenheim/GER; 3/0), Antonee Robinson (Fulham/ENG; 15/1), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United; 12/2), DeAndre Yedlin (Galatasaray/TUR; 67/0)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids; 40/2), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig/GER; 17/1), Gianluca Busio (Venezia/ITA; 6/0), Luca de la Torre (Heracles/NED: 3/0), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 32/8), Weston McKennie (Juventus/ITA; 25/7), Yunus Musah (Valencia/ESP; 6/0), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders; 28/0)

FORWARDS (6): Brenden Aaronson (Red Bull Salzburg/AUT; 10/5), Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 8/0), Matthew Hoppe (Mallorca/ESP; 5/1), Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas; 1/1), Tim Weah (Lille/FRA; 13/1), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew; 62/14)

–Field Level Media

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