Teamwork makes the dream work

USMNT Inventory Watch: Ricardo Pepi strikes first after worldwide window

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By Doug McIntyre
FOX Sports activities Soccer Author

Editor’s Word: “Airplane to Qatar” is FOX Sports activities’ weekly function monitoring the progress of gamers hoping to crack the United States Males’s Nationwide Group’s 26-player roster for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

We predict we all know that United States coach Gregg Berhalter will take three strikers to Qatar

We predict we all know that Jesús Ferreira will likely be certainly one of them. For the mathematics wizards on the market, that leaves simply two open spots, with at the least three heart forwards — Ricardo Pepi, Jordan Pefok and Josh Sargent — vying for a few of the final seats left On the Airplane.

The competitors up prime will likely be fierce over the following 5 weeks. It may even come down the ultimate slate of membership video games earlier than Berhalter names his squad on Nov. 9. Final week, Pefok had a ticket in hand on this house regardless of not being invited to the September camp primarily as a result of Ferreira, Pepi, Sargent and each different American failed to attain within the USMNT’s World Cup send-off video games in opposition to Japan and Saudi Arabia.

However now Pepi is starting to seek out his ft within the Netherlands, with objectives in every of his final two video games. All issues being even, Berhalter appears to want {the teenager} over Pefok, who occurs to be coming off his worst sport of the Bundesliga season, and a fourth striker, Haji Wright. As for Sargent, recipient of his first call-up in a 12 months final month, he has now gone three video games with out scoring in England’s second tier, equaling his longest drought of the season.

There nonetheless sufficient time for issues to alter, although. They most likely will. Will probably be fascinating to observe which gamers catch hearth or cool off over the following month or so.

Who is aware of the way it will all shake out?

Top notch 

F/M Brenden Aaronson (Leeds): Aaronson performed 79 minutes Saturday in a scoreless tie with Aston Villa.

M Tyler Adams (Leeds): Simply the U.S. starter in the very best membership from proper now, defensive midfielder Adams was named Leeds’ man of the match.

D Sergiño Dest (AC Milan): Dest got here off the bench Saturday at halftime of Milan’s 2-1 loss to Napoli. He nonetheless hasn’t began a sport for the membership.

F Jesús Ferreira (Dallas): Following the USMNT’s last World Cup tune-up, Ferreira traveled the 5,200 miles between Murcia, Spain and Dallas, then went the space in Colorado three days later as FCD misplaced 1-0 to the Rapids.

M Weston McKennie (Juventus): Not solely did McKennie preserve his lineup spot regardless of Juve’s horrible begin to the season, he rewarded coach Max Allegri religion with a pinpoint help in Sunday’s badly wanted victory over Bologna.

*M Yunus Musah (Valencia): The 19-year-old returned to coaching on Monday however should wait at the least one other few days to return from the groin damage that pressured him to withdraw from the USMNT’s last pre-Cup camp. Valencia performs subsequent on Friday at Osasuna.

F Christian Pulisic (Chelsea): Pulisic got here off the bench and arrange Connor Gallagher’s ninetieth minute sport winner over Crystal Palace on Saturday. Will or not it’s sufficient to earn Pulisic his first begin beneath new Blues boss Graham Potter in Wednesday’s Champions League assembly with AC Milan? 

*F/M Giovanni Reyna (Borussia Dortmund): The hamstring tweak Reyna suffered in opposition to the Saudis will preserve him out at the least till Der Klassiker on Saturday in opposition to Bayern Munich

*D Antonee Robinson (Fulham): Jedi returned to coaching final week however did not play within the Cottagers’ 4-1 loss to Newcastle. Fulham visits London rival West Ham on Sunday.

F Tim Weah (Lille): Now recovered from the ankle downside that prevented him from taking part in for the USMNT final month, Weah was in uniform for (however did not play in) Saturday’s loss to Lorient.

D Walker Zimmerman (Nashville): After taking part in all 180 minutes for the U.S. final month, Zimmerman scored a ninetieth minute objective for Nashville Saturday in a 2-1 loss to Houston. 

Consolation Plus

M Kellyn Acosta (LAFC): In his twenty seventh begin of the season, Acosta assisted on Carlos Vela’s opener Sunday as LAFC clinched the MLS Supporters Protect.

M Paul Arriola (Dallas): The winger was suspended Saturday after choosing up a crimson card in FCD’s earlier match.

*D Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic): The hard-nosed heart again missed Celtic’s first sport after the break, and he is additionally been dominated out of Wednesday’s Champions League match in opposition to RB Leipzig.

*D Reggie Cannon (Boavista): The groin pressure Cannon suffered in opposition to Japan is anticipated to maintain him sidelined for at the least one other week.

M Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo): De la Torre logged the ultimate 21 minutes of Sunday’s 1-0 victory over 10-man Actual Betis – his longest look of the season to this point.

G Sean Johnson (New York Metropolis): Johnson and the Pigeons will get to defend their MLS title after qualifying for the playoffs over the weekend. One other deep run would all however cement the veteran’s World Cup spot.

D Aaron Lengthy (New York Purple Bulls): After he began each U.S. friendlies throughout the worldwide break, Purple Bulls coach Gerhard Struber rested Lengthy for Saturday’s 2-1 loss in Columbus.

M Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders): Morris began in opposition to Sporting Kansas Metropolis on Sunday however could not forestall a Sounders loss that snapped a streak of 13 straight playoff berths for Seattle. He’ll now be idle between Oct. 9 and the Individuals’ World Cup opener on Nov. 20 – assuming that layoff does not price him the journey to Qatar.

^F Ricardo Pepi (Groningen): Nonetheless simply 19, Pepi on Saturday scored his second objective in as many Eredivise video games: 

*D Chris Richards (Crystal Palace): The massive heart again wasn’t wholesome sufficient to decorate for Palace in opposition to Chelsea, and his prospects for enjoying time at any time when he returns aren’t nice. Lengthy thought of a lock, it is starting to seem like Richards might be working out of time to make the World Cup minimize over opponents who’re truly taking part in. 

F Josh Sargent (Norwich Metropolis): Sargent went the total 90 Tuesday however was held scoreless in Norwich’s 1-1 draw with Studying.

D Joe Scally (Borussia Mönchengladbach): Additionally nonetheless 19, Scally adopted his greatest nationwide workforce exhibiting but with a dud for ‘Gladbach, who have been pummeled 5-1 by Werder Bremen on Oct. 1. 

G Zack Steffen (Middlesbrough): Steffen was overwhelmed on a savable shot in Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Coventry, however that is forgivable. This is not:

It wasn’t Steffen’s first obtrusive unforced gaffe this season. The 27-year-old Manchester Metropolis loanee is a gifted keeper who, on present kind, can be a World Cup-ruining mistake ready to occur proper now. 

G Matt Turner (Arsenal): The Gunners’ No. 2 is anticipated to make his first residence begin for the membership Thursday in opposition to Norwegian facet Bodø/Glimt within the Europa League.

D DeAndre Yedlin (Miami): Veteran proper again Yedlin has two enormous video games over the following week for Miami, which is correct on the playoff bubble.

Standby listing

M Johnny Cardoso (Internacional): The New Jersey-born, Brazil raised No. 8 went 63 minutes Saturday in a 1-0 win over Santos

G Ethan Horvath (Luton City): Horvath posted his third clear sheet of the season Sept. 30 in opposition to Hull Metropolis with out having to make a save. He made one Tuesday in Luton’s 3-3 tie with Huddersfield.

D Mark McKenzie (Genk): The middle again continues to play often; McKenzie went 90 minutes Saturday for the seventh straight membership match. Might he sneak onto the World Cup squad if Carter Vickers and/or Richards stay sidelined? 

D Erik Palmer-Brown (Troyes): After watching the 2 September U.S. video games from the bench, the middle again performed all of Troyes 2-2 draw with Reims in Ligue 1. 

⌄F Jordan Pefok (Union Berlin): Pefok suffered by his first (and to this point, solely) poor efficiency for Union, which misplaced 2-0 to Eintracht in Frankfurt. Germany’s co-leader subsequent performs Thursday at Sweden’s Malmo within the Europa League.

M Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders): Out for 5 weeks following groin surgical procedure, Roldan returned for Seattle’s final two video games. However like Morris, lacking the playoffs hurts his possibilities – maybe much more than his membership teammate.

M Malik Tillman (Rangers): Tillman began in Tuesday’s Champions League match in opposition to Liverpool, however as soon as once more his depth did not match Rangers’ opponent. The 20-year-old was subbed within the second half with the Scots down 2-0.

D Sam Vines (Royal Antwerp): Left again Vines was subbed out for the primary time this season Sunday as Belgian chief Antwerp suffered their first defeat of 2022-23.

F Haji Wright (Antalyaspor): Goalless in three video games, Wright’s subsequent Turkish Süper Lig match comes Monday versus Konyaspor.

*Injured

^Bumped up

⌄Bumped down

Added: None

Dropped: None

One of many main soccer journalists in North America, Doug McIntyre has coated United States males’s and girls’s nationwide groups at a number of FIFA World Cups. Earlier than becoming a member of FOX Sports activities in 2021, he was a employees author with ESPN and Yahoo Sports activities. Comply with him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.


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