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'Trying to get him confidence' - Berhalter explains Pepi's USMNT inclusion for key friendlies before World Cup

18:13 BST 14/09/2022
Ricardo Pepi USA 12112021
Gregg Berhalter explained the decision to call in Ricardo Pepi to the latest U.S. men's national team squad.
  • Pepi among three forwards called in
  • Former FC Dallas star hasn't scored in 11 months
  • Pefok and Wright among snubs

WHAT HAPPENED? Pepi was joined by Josh Sargent and Jesus Ferreira in the latest squad, with Jordan Pefok and Haji Wright among those left out of the final friendlies before the World Cup.

WHAT THEY SAID: "Keep in mind this is a guy that scored three goals for us in World Cup qualifying and has had a tough time since then," Berhalter said. "We're trying to get him confidence. We're trying to get him into the group and see if he can make a push for the final roster. That's TBD right now."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Pepi hasn't scored since October 2021, with his move to Augsburg in January proving, at least initially, to be a nightmare for the former FC Dallas forward. He has gotten off to a bright start on loan at Groningen, though, as Pepi provided an assist in his first appearance.

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR USMNT? The U.S. will face Japan in Germany on September 23 before taking on Saudi Arabia in Spain four days later.