The United States' World Cup journey begins on Nov. 21 against Wales in Qatar, but the big news on Wednesday was the surprising roster reveal in New York. Goalkeeper Zack Steffen and 19-year-old striker Ricardo Pepi were off the list -- . Steffen not being selected shouldn't have come as a surprise -- . But Pepi being left home was the shock of the day, with Haji Wright getting his spot instead.
But how did manager Gregg Berhalter do in selecting this team?heading to Qatar. We won't know how they will do until their participation in Qatar is over, but let's take a crack on grading the team by unit:
Players selected: Matt Turner, Ethan Horvath, Sean Johnson.
Notable omissions: Zack Steffen, Gabriel Slolina.
What to make of this group: This is a strong group with Turner looking like the No. 1, but not having Steffen is quite a shock, especially because he isn't injured. There is likely something else going on that has led to his omission. Maybe we'll find out in due time. But for now, the U.S. should feel comfortable with any of the three as this is a position with real depth. With Steffen out of the picture, those three make a ton of sense. But not taking Steffen is still a baffling choice.
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Players selected: Cameron Carter-Vickers, Sergiño Dest, Aaron Long, Shaq Moore, Tim Ream, Antonee Robinson, Joe Scally, DeAndre Yedlin, Walker Zimmerman.
Notable omissions: Mark McKenzie, Reggie Cannon, James Sands, George Bello.
What to make of this group: This isn't a great group. John Brooks is no longer in the picture and Ream makes so much sense. He won't amaze you, but his chemistry with Robinson is important. I think Berhalter got that pick right. Ream should start next to Zimmerman, and I think the fullbacks will be Robinson and Dest. McKenzie is better than Long, though, and I don't think Long should be on this team. He wasn't great before he tore his Achilles tendon in 2021, and he doesn't seem like he has gotten any better since his recovery. This was Miles Robinson's spot to lose, but that knee injury sees him miss the tournament. I think Cannon and Sands should be going as well, leaving an inexperienced Scally behind along with Long.
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Players selected: Brenden Aaronson, Kellyn Acosta, Tyler Adams, Luca de la Torre, Weston McKennie, Yunus Musah, Cristian Roldan.
Notable omissions: Malik Tillman, Gianluca Busio.
What to make of this group: Pretty spot on. I wouldn't have taken Tillman or Busio and I probably would have left de la Torre as he's not playing hardly at all at Celta Vigo due to injury. I get why some are bothered by the Roldan selection, but I like it. He's a hard worker willing to do the dirty work. This was pretty much what I expected and what it should have been.
Players selected: Jesus Ferreira, Jordan Morris, Christian Pulisic, Gio Reyna, Josh Sargent, Tim Weah, Haji Wright.
Notable omissions: Pepi, Jordan Pefok, Paul Arriola.
What to make of this group: This is a fine group on paper that fans should be excited about, but the Pepi omission is a shocker. I don't think he was ever in contention to start, as that job is surely Ferreira's or maybe Sargents, but having him there as a guy you throw on the pitch late in need of a goal, he made perfect sense. The other selections were all correct on paper, and I love the wild card of Wright. I would have brought Pepi on and left de la Torre, knowing that there are a couple players here that can slide into the midfield.
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