Crescendo takes place six weeks later, and after almost four years of highs and lows, Berhalter invites 26 players to the stage in Qatar.
“It’s getting closer,” he said Thursday. “I mean, you see. Some players are a little apprehensive, which is perfectly natural. We are going to have a great World Cup.”
Most of the roster is set informally. Led by Christian Pulisic, Weston McKechnie and Tyler Adams, the young central players have been playing together for years and, barring injury, will carry the squad to the Group B opener against Wales on 21 November. The Americans will also face group favorites England and Iran.
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Some positions have been competitive for some time, and on top of that, the absence of seven injured regulars from this camp has opened the door for others.
Italy-based midfielder McKechnie said: “We’re like a family and want what’s best for the team and what’s best for each other.”Some players will be disappointed. There will be players who keep their heads down, but at the end of the day, we’re all supporting each other and supporting the big picture.”
By all indicators it is a close group. The players crossed the Rhine and strolled together on the Hohenzollern Bridge, which connects the team to his hotel and his two-spired Gothic cathedral. Pre-workout interactions are light and playful, full of roughhousing and mischief. Out of the 26 players he has here, 17 of them are players under his 25s.
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“We don’t have groups. We don’t have cliques,” McKennie said. “We don’t have [a divide between] Players who play in Europe and play in MLS. everyone is always involved “
When players reunite after missing a camp or two, “it’s like having a best friend for a long time,” says McKennie. “You don’t necessarily have to stay in touch, but when you get back together it feels like you’ve never left.”
That being said, the trip to the World Cup is in jeopardy. The goalie pool is realistically reduced to 4 players for him to 3 slots, but there is no clear starter. The central defense remains fragile. His two spots on the roster of strikers are available. Depth should be dealt with in most positions.
Future friendly matches will not solve the problem. Berhalter has been monitoring the performance of his players at their respective clubs in the league for the most part, without pausing for the World Cup, until a week before his opening match between Qatar and Ecuador on November 20. continue.
He will also continue to consider how individuals fit into his system and will continue to communicate with the club regarding injuries and fitness levels.
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On Thursday, Burhalter was asked how he would rate the striker’s pool, and his answer could apply to everyone.
“What they’ve been doing with us, what they’re doing with us and what they’re doing at the club and at what level they’re playing at the club. is,” he said. “All of them are considered.”
However, he admitted, “It may not work.”
“It’s part of it,” he said. “We may make mistakes.”
As part of the process over the next few weeks, players who were unable to attend this camp will be evaluated. Goalkeeper Zak Steffen, left-back Anthony Robinson, centre-backs Cameron Carter Vickers and Chris Richards, midfielders Yunus Moussa and Christian Roldan and forward Tim. Hmm.
If healthy, Steffen, Robinson, Richards, Musa and Ware would certainly remain on the final list.
Berhalter said he is also considering players who weren’t invited to this camp, particularly German-based striker Jordan Pefok.
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As the camp accelerated and friendly forces approached, Burhalter found himself getting nervous.
“There’s that slight hint,” he said. “It’s not something you can feel, but you can tell a few guys are tight with some exercises. Here’s the message.”
Among the players embracing that message is 23-year-old left-back Sam Vines. “Greg knows our qualities,” he said.
Berhalter plans to use most, if not all, of these friends. He often agrees to announce the starters the day before a friendly, he said just before Friday’s game Bynes (Antwerp), Arsenal goalkeeper Matt Turner, centre-backs Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls) and Walker. Offered four of him at Zimmerman (Nashville SC).
“We’re brothers. We’re family, but we’re here to compete,” McKennie said. “You can be friends off the field, but when you’re on the field, you want my position and I want yours. You can’t put it on the roster.”