Musah, Pulisic highlight U.S. roster for March games

Chelsea midfielder Christian Pulisic, RB Leipzig midfielder Tyler Adams and Valencia midfielder Yunus Musah headline the 26-player roster selected by U.S. men’s national team manager Gregg Berhalter for a pair of friendlies during the March international window.

The first match will see the U.S. square off against Jamaica in a game that will be held in Wiener Neustadt, Austria, the second time in the past four months that Berhalter’s side has played a friendly at the Wiener Neustadt Stadion. The second match will take place three days later when the U.S. faces Northern Ireland at Windsor Park in Belfast. The players will report to camp in Austria starting on March 20.

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“This is another step forward in strengthening our group in preparation for Nations League, Gold Cup, and World Cup Qualifying,” said Berhalter. “It’s great to get the group together to continue to build relationships on and off the field. We look forward to the games and the different challenges they will pose.”

The youthful roster — the average age is 23 years, 27 days — contains three MLS players while the rest ply their trade abroad. Sixteen players are aged 22 and younger. Due to COVID-19 quarantine restrictions, a total of seven players — Wolfsburg defender John Brooks, Boavista defender Reggie Cannon, Hoffenheim defender Chris Richards, RB Leipzig midfielder Adams, Borussia Dortmund midfielder Gio Reyna, Lille midfielder Timothy Weah and Werder Bremen forward Joshua Sargent — will return to their clubs after the Jamaica match.

The most notable absentee is Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie, who has been nursing a hip injury.

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USMNT great Steve Cherundolo says he is ecstatic about Yunus Musah’s decision to play for the United States.

Among the call-ups are Musah, who pledged his international future to the U.S. earlier this week. Pulisic also makes a return after missing out on a training camp last November. Should he play, it would be Pulisic’s first national team appearance since Oct. 15, 2019, against Canada.

The roster contains two uncapped players in Bryan Reynolds — who made his debut for AS Roma last weekend — and Leicester City goalkeeper Chituru Odunze.

Due to the current conditions related to the global pandemic, the matches will be played without fans in the stadiums. The staging of the camp and the matches will fall under the comprehensive U.S. Soccer Return to Play Protocols and Guidelines and in line with both the FIFA and UEFA Return to Play Protocols, as well as stringent oversight by the Irish Football Association for the match in Belfast. The participants have received an exemption from quarantine provided to professional sports organizations.

DETAILED ROSTER BY POSITION (Club/Country; Caps/Goals):

GOALKEEPERS (3): Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge/BEL; 4/0), Chituru Odunze (Leicester City/ENG; 0/0), Zack Steffen (Manchester City/ENG; 19/0)

DEFENDERS (10): John Brooks* (Wolfsburg/GER; 39/3), Reggie Cannon* (Boavista/POR; 13/0), Sergiño Dest (Barcelona/ESP; 5/0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 19/3), Matt Miazga (Anderlecht/BEL; 20/1), Erik Palmer-Brown (Austria Wien/AUT; 2/0), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 41/1), Bryan Reynolds (Roma/ITA; 0/0), Chris Richards* (Hoffenheim/GER; 1/0), Antonee Robinson (Fulham/ENG; 8/0)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Brenden Aaronson (Red Bull Salzburg/AUT; 2/1), Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids; 25/2) Tyler Adams* (RB Leipzig/GER; 12/1), Luca de la Torre (Heracles/NED; 1/0), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 18/4), Yunus Musah (Valencia/ESP; 2/0), Owen Otasowie (Wolverhampton Wanderers/ENG; 1/0)

FORWARDS: (6): Daryl Dike (Barnsley/ENG; 1/0), Nicholas Gioacchini (Caen/FRA; 2/2), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG; 34/14), Gio Reyna* (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 2/1), Josh Sargent* (Werder Bremen/GER; 12/5), Tim Weah* (Lille/FRA; 10/1) * Indicates player will depart after March 25 match against Jamaica