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USMNT roster for World Cup tune-ups - Latest injury news, call-ups, details

Joe Prince-Wright, Andy Edwards and Nick Mendola react to Gregg Berhalter's 26-man squad ahead of the United States' slate of pre-World Cup friendlies.

Break out your crystal balls and tell us what the latest USMNT roster announcement tells us about the team Gregg Berhalter will bring to Qatar for the 2022 World Cup later this year, while Yunus Musah, Chris Richards and Cameron Carter-Vickers injury concern is not what U.S. fans want to be talking about.

Groningen forward Ricardo Pepi, AC Milan’s Sergino Dest, and Royal Antwerp’s Sam Vines are back in the fold as Berhalter named the men who will represent the United States men’s national team in friendlies against Saudi Arabia and Japan later this month.

[ MORE: Top 25 players in the USMNT player pool ]

That comes with absences. Of course, there are still injured and ailing players who will not be utilized in the friendlies but could still figure into the World Cup squad.

Timothy Weah and Antonee Robinson are hurt, Zack Steffen is nursing a knee problem, and Miles Robinson is still recovering from his Achilles surgery, while Valencia’s Yunus Musah is ruled out for the games in Europe against Japan and Saudi Arabia as he suffered a groin injury and Celtic’s Carter-Vickers and Crystal Palace’s Chris Richards are also out.

Latest injury update: Yunus Musah, Carter-Vickers out

Valencia boss Gennaro Gattuso has revealed that Musah has not trained for a few days and he will not play for Valencia in their La Liga clash against Celta Vigo at the weekend as he suffered a groin injury.

Paul Tenorio from The Athletic then reported that Musah, 19, will not be released for the international break and will stay with Valencia to recover from his injury. Musah has been in great form for Valencia at the start of this season, starting all five of their La Liga games so far. The USMNT confirmed the news, with Johnny Cardoso called up to replace him.

This injury news is a blow but it doesn’t seem to be anything serious. The most frustrating thing for Berhalter will be not getting Musah playing time alongside Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams in midfield as that trio are nailed-on to start at the World Cup. Well, as long as they are fit.

Johnny Cardoso, 20, has been selected to replace Musah and the New Jersey native, who plays for Internacional in Brazil, was last called up in December 2021 for the friendly against Bosnia. He has been in good form and this is a final, and unexpected, chance for him to impress Berhalter.

As for Cameron Carter-Vickers, he missed Celtic’s shock defeat against St Mirren and he’s now out of the squad. CCV picked up the knock during Celtic’s 1-1 draw in the UEFA Champions League against Shakhtar Donetsk in midweek.

This is a big blow as Carter-Vickers looks like the frontrunner to partner Walker Zimmerman at center back at the World Cup and reps together in these two games would be valuable. Erik Palmer-Brown and Mark McKenzie have been called up as replacements by Gregg Berhalter, as it seems like Tim Ream and John Brooks just aren’t what the USMNT coach wants in a center back.

Palace defender Chris Richards is also out with a small injury issue, as Berhalter will not be delighted with having two center backs missing for his final camp before the World Cup, especially as both were set to battle it out for a starting spot.

USMNT roster: Who was snubbed?

There’s a question of whether in-form Union Berlin forward Jordan Pefok, who picked up a knock recently but played 75 minutes at the weekend, is being slighted or still not at full fitness. Surely there’s something more here unless Berhalter has already decided against the player.

So far there haven’t been too many in-form players to miss out, excepting John Brooks. And it’s not surprising that new Benfica signing remains out of the squad.

However, Pefok missing out would signal a mixed message as Union is the surprise leader of the Bundesliga and the player’s been a huge part of it. De la Torre and Dest are slightly or much more proven entities in the team but are barely seeing the field right now.

Also missing out are Fulham’s Tim Ream, Antalyaspor’s Haji Wright and Seattle’s Cristian Roldan.

It’s possible that Berhalter has not ruled out any of the above players but has a handle on where they are in his system but wants to get an up-close view of Vines, Pepi, and others for the first time in a while.

The Yanks meet Japan in Dusseldorf, Germany on Sept. 23. They’ll then tangle with Saudi Arabia in Murcia, Spain on Sept. 27.

USMNT roster for friendlies vs Japan, Saudi Arabia

Goalkeepers: Ethan Horvath, Sean Johnson, Matt Turner

Defenders: Reggie Cannon, Mark McKenzie, Erik Palmer-Brown, Sergino Dest, Aaron Long, Joe Scally, Sam Vines, DeAndre Yedlin, Walker Zimmerman

Midfielders: Kellyn Acosta, Tyler Adams, Luca de la Torre, Weston McKennie, Johnny Cardoso, Malik Tillman

Forwards: Brenden Aaronson, Paul Arriola, Jesus Ferreira, Jordan Morris, Ricardo Pepi, Christian Pulisic, Giovanni Reyna, Josh Sargent.

Follow @NicholasMendola