USMNT World Cup Roster Released: Ricardo Pepi, Zach Steffen Out; Haji Wright, Josh Sargent in Qatar 2022

The United States Men’s National Team roster for this month’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar was released by Greg Berhalter in Brooklyn on Wednesday, and it came with some shocking omissions.

As announced the night before, longtime No. 1 goalkeeper Zach Steffen was dropped from the 26-man squad in favor of Matt Turner, Ethan Horvath and Sean Johnson. The move paves the way for Turner to fight for the starting job at Target. Alongside Steffen, Ricardo Pepi has been tipped as the national team’s future star striker with some clutch performances in World Cup qualifiers. Barring injury, the 19-year-old, who now plays for Groningen in the Netherlands, will watch America from home.

Berhalder had the most shocking and surprising selection at striker, including Haji Wright alongside expected forwards Josh Sargent and Jesus Ferreira. As expected the roster is young, with only DeAndre Yedlin on the roster to have competed in a previous World Cup.

This will be America’s first visit since 2014, after failing to qualify for the 2018 edition. The Americans were drawn in Group B with Wales, England and Iran. The top two teams will advance to the round of 16.

As the competition takes place in the middle of the club season in Europe, the squads will be made up of 23 players instead of 26 players. Each team individually submits a pre-roster of 35 to 55 players in October, and they are up to 24. Hours before the first match to make any injury changes to the full 26-man squad.

USMNT World Cup Team

  • Goalkeepers (3): Ethan Horvath (Louton Town/ENG; 8/0; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 10/0; Lilburn, Ga.), Matt Turner (Arsenal/ENG; 20/0; Park Ridge , NJ)
  • Defenders (9): Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic/SCO; 11/0; Southend-on-Sea, England), Sergino Test (AC Milan/ITA; 19/2; Almere, Netherlands), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 29/3 ; Oak Hills, Calif.), Shaq Moore (Nashville SC; 15/1; Powder Springs, Ga.), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 46/1; St. Louis, Mo.), Anthony Robinson (Fulham/ENG . ; 33/3; Lawrenceville, Ga.)
  • Midfielders (7): Brendan Aaronson (Leeds United/ENG; 24/6; Medford, NJ), Kellin Acosta (LAFC; 53/2; Plano, Texas), Tyler Adams (Leeds United/ENG; 32/1; Wappingers Falls, NY), Luca De La Torre (Zelda Vigo/ESP; 12/0; San Diego, Calif.), Weston McKenney (Juventus/ITA; 37/9; Little Elm, Texas), Yunus Musa (Valencia/ESP; 19/0; London, England), Christian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; 32/0; Pico Rivera, Calif.)
  • Forwards (7): Jesus Ferreira (FC Dallas; 15/7; McKinney, Texas), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders; 49/11; Mercer Island, Wash.), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG; 52/21; Hershey, Pa.), Geo. Reina (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 14/4; Bedford, NY), Josh Sargent (Norwich City/ENG; 20/5; O’Fallon, Mo.), Tim Weah (Lille/FRA; 25/3; Rosedale, NY ), Haji Wright (Andalyaspor/TUR; 3/1; Los Angeles, Calif.)

Listen and follow along below In Soccer We Believe: A CBS Sports Soccer Podcast Three of your favorite former USMNT players cover everything you want to know about the United States Men’s National Team during the World Cup in Qatar.

Here are some tips from the team

New members of the goalkeeper union

It felt like a given that Steffen would take the number one shirt against Wales, but a last-second curve ball changed things. With Sean Johnson in the lineup and Gabriel Slonina waiting, Steffen may have missed his best chance to start at the World Cup for the USMNT. After a loan to Middlesbrough in order for Steffen to get regular playing time before the World Cup, he lost the starting role, was injured, regained the starting role and was then replaced by Michael Carrick under manager Chris Wilder. Berhalder has been caught up in Steffen’s struggles in the past, although it’s a keeper’s experience of seeing a dip in form, with Boro 18th in the Championship.

During the roster reveal, Berhalter said he feels good about the keepers he’s taking and that sometimes players are left off the roster: “It’s about what we have and what we don’t have.” Berhalder is now leaning towards Matt Turner as a starter, but his last start for Arsenal was against PSV on October 20, and a lack of playing time could give Ethan Horvath or Johnson the chance to get unexpected starts in Qatar.

Surprises ahead

Despite scoring six goals in all competitions for FC Groningen and scoring two more, Riccardo Pepi was left out of the squad, with Haji Raitt returning to the side. He is already familiar with the members of the team as he is a youth staple with many of these players. Having scored nine goals in 12 games for Antalyaspor in Turkey, Wright is very much in form and can bring a change of pace that Pepi doesn’t as a raw goalscoring option with the ability to create for himself.

Leaving out Pepi is a tough decision as he starts to find confidence again, but with the team only playing three centre-forwards, Ferreira, Sergeant and Wright are all in excellent form. The decision to bring in Jordan Morris has a big impact on the wingers as Berhalter uses his work rate to close out games. Substitutions will be key for tired legs as the team will retain the 4-3-3 rolled under Berhalder and continue to press.

The return of Tim Ream

Tim Ream

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Last captained by the national team in September 2021, Ream has been in and out of the squad over the years but this will be his first chance to go to the World Cup despite making his debut in 2010. Ream was the captain when Fulham rose to the top. Played next to Anthony Robinson in half of the Premier League. An experienced defender, Ream had some tense moments for the USMNT, but those were mainly when used as a left back. Berhalder says Reim’s style hasn’t suited the high press in the past, but given how Fulham have developed under Marco Silva, there’s a good chance Reim can help stabilize the defense starting with Aaron Long. Most of the positions in front of them are not only settled but managed by younger players, Ream’s experience could be key.

USMNT World Cup Schedule

Monday, November. 21: vs. Wales, 2 pm ET
Friday, November. 25: vs England, 2pm ET
Tuesday, Nov. 29: vs. Iran, 2 p.m. ET

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