The U.S. men's national team will be without Christian Pulisic and Tim Weah for their Concacaf Nations League tie with Trindad and Tobago.
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Pulisic and Weah, two of the team's most in-form attackers, picked up hamstring injuries with their respective club teams, AC Milan and Juventus. The pair have scored four of the USMNT's last 12 goals, all coming during a four-game stretch that marked Gregg Berhalter's return to coaching the national team. The head coach said neither of their injuries are "too serious" but the on-field vacancies open the door for a handful of players who can slot in as wingers for this month's games.
Gio Reyna and Brenden Aaronson are amongst the group of players who could find themselves starting against Trinidad and Tobago in Pulisic and Weah's absence, but some newer recruits are also in the mix. Bherlater spotlighted Aaronson's younger brother Paxten, who has played just 40 minutes in five league games this season with Eintracht Frankfurt but has one assist and is making progress.
"We see him as a winger similar to Christian in the fact that he gets in the penalty box and he's dangerous in front of goal and that's what we focus on with our wingers," Berhalter said in a press conference on Thursday. "We know that goals are premium and he's a young player that has shown that he has the knack for scoring goals and the starting point is arriving in the penalty box, which he does really well. He's got an interesting profile with his quickness and his ability to get out of trouble. We think he's good at pressing."
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Berhalter also spoke about Kevin Paredes, the versatile Wolfsburg player who has one goal in seven games to start the Bundesliga season.
"We've been watching his work in Wolfsburg, impress with what he's been able to do in the last game as a wingback and think that he's versatile," he said. "We like that versatility especially as we have needs in the winger position. We think he's a guy who can slot in nicely."
As for players on the cusp, Berhalter said that he hopes second-choice goalkeeper Ethan Horvath's lack of playing time at the club level will be "sorted out" in the winter likely with a move away from Nottingham Forest. He also said that has "continual conversations" with Burnley's Luca Koleosho, a U.S. born attacker who represents Italy at the youth levels. Koleosho is also eligible to represent Nigeria and Canada.
The USMNT first face Trinidad and Tobago at Austin's Q2 Stadium on Nov. 16, and then play the away leg on Nov. 20 at Port of Spain's Hasely Crawford Stadium. The matches will serve as a chance to advance to the Nations League semifinals, as well as the opportunity to qualify for next summer's Copa America.
Here's the full roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Ethan Horvath (Nottingham Forest), Gaga Slonina (KAS Eupen), Matt Turner (Nottingham Forest)
DEFENDERS (8): Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic), Sergiño Dest (PSV Eindhoven), Kristoffer Lund (Palermo/), Tim Ream (Fulham), Chris Richards (Crystal Palace), Antonee Robinson (Fulham), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United), Joe Scally (Borussia Mönchengladbach)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Paxten Aaronson (Eintracht Frankfurt), Johnny Cardoso (Internacional), Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo), Lennard Maloney (Heidenheim), Weston McKennie (Juventus), Yunus Musah (AC Milan), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Malik Tillman (PSV Eindhoven)
FORWARDS (5): Brenden Aaronson (Union Berlin), Folarin Balogun (Monaco), Kevin Paredes (Wolfsburg), Ricardo Pepi (PSV Eindhoven), Alex Zendejas (Club América)