- Pepi scored in each September-window match
- Has five goals for USMNT in 2023
- Looks more confident than ever
WHAT HAPPENED? Pepi scored against both Uzbekistan and Oman for the USMNT over the past week, making it six goals in six USMNT appearances for the 20-year-old in 2023. The forward came on at halftime for the USMNT in both matches, finding the back of the net in the second-half each time. Folarin Balogun, the USMNT's starter, also scored in the win over Oman as the striker race continued to heat up.
WHAT THEY SAID: Berhalter raved about the PSV forward's performance, and his ability to consistently score goals at this level. "You always want your forward scoring goals," he said. "Our job as teammates and as coaches is to put them in positions to score goals. That's the important thing and then leave it up to them and give them the quality to finish it off, but it's important that they both scored.
"As far as we see the competition, it's twofold, right? It's what they do for their clubs each and every week and what they do for us when they're in camp. Some of those are easy to measure because they're playing 90 minutes every week, and sometimes they're not and it becomes complicated. But to me, it's more about how they work together, how they train, what their attitude is in camp and what they bring to the team when they're on the field."
"I thought from a pressing standpoint, Ricardo did a great job," he added. "It's really good to see him playing full of confidence. All you really want is your players to be confident and Ricardo certainly is."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Despite not being selected for the 2022 World Cup, Pepi has held no grudge against the USMNT boss while continuing to impress in every opportunity he gets. Next up for the youngster will be to earn the first-team starting spot for his new club PSV while taking advantage of the opportunity to play European football for the first time in the Champions League.
IN A PHOTO:Getty Images
WHAT NEXT FOR RICARDO PEPI?: The USMNT international will return to PSV before a league match against NEC Nijmegen and then a UCL debut against Arsenal on September 20.