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Christian Pulisic, Zack Steffen to overlook USMNT World Cup qualifying opener at El Salvador

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U.S. males’s nationwide crew star Christian Pulisic has not traveled to El Salvador forward of Thursday’s World Cup qualifier, head coach Gregg Berhalter has confirmed.

Pulisic examined constructive for COVID-19 final month, establishing a race towards time for him to be prepared for the USMNT’s opening three World Cup qualifiers.

The Chelsea attacker will not be capable of face El Salvador however may nonetheless play towards Canada on Sunday or Honduras subsequent Wednesday.

Pulisic seems to be to make fast return

After his prognosis was confirmed, Pulisic took to social media to verify he was totally vaccinated and never experiencing any signs.

Pulisic was compelled to isolate in London, although he was nonetheless named to the USMNT roster for its three qualifying matches.

DeCOURCY: USMNT beneath extra stress than ever to succeed in World Cup

The 22-year-old was capable of journey to satisfy up along with his teammates in Nashville, Tenn., this week, the place he participated in crew exercises. 

However he was left again in Nashville as his teammates traveled to El Salvador on Wednesday.

Who may change Pulisic?

With Pulisic out, Berhalter may hand a begin to Konrad de la Fuente, who has began properly at Marseille after a summer season transfer from Barcelona.

The U.S. is skinny on the winger place, with Tim Weah compelled to withdraw from the roster attributable to harm. Brenden Aaronson, a extra pure central participant, may additionally doubtlessly be shifted out vast for the U.S.

“We’re additionally lacking Paul Arriola and Jordan Morris, so 4 wingers are down now,” Berhalter mentioned. “Considered one of my considerations is verticality. When you concentrate on Jordan Morris, Paul Arriola, Christian to a sure extent, Timmy Weah, they provide you that verticality that you simply want, that basically threatens opponents, and when you concentrate on a man like Gio [Reyna] and Konrad and Brendan doubtlessly, it is harder for them.

“That is one thing that we’re actually speaking about with our winger group: stretching the opponent, being vertical, utilizing our tempo, utilizing our velocity to get behind the opponent as a result of we all know that is an necessary a part of our recreation.”

Jordan Pefok, Josh Sargent and Ricardo Pepi are the three heart ahead choices at Berhalter’s disposal. 

Steffen additionally out

Additionally out of motion for Thursday is goalkeeper Zack Steffen, with Matt Turner named because the USMNT’s starter.

Steffen had beforehand handled a again drawback and wakened in ache on Wednesday morning, resulting in Berhalter’s choice to go away him in Nashville.

“That is simply creeped up,” Berhalter mentioned. “He has handled one thing like this earlier than final season, but it surely’s one thing that simply crept up on him over the past couple of days.

“He wakened at this time and his again was extraordinarily tight, and it was going to be actually touch-and-go to see if he may play any half within the recreation. We thought it was greatest to go away him again and get rehab and attempt to make a run for Sunday.”

Additional studying

  • Berhalter: Too early to inform if Pulisic can be obtainable

  • What’s subsequent for USMNT star Robinson?

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