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Berhalter explains ‘heartbreaking’ Steffen & Pepi snubs in USMNT World Cup squad

4:49 PM SGT 11/11/22
Zack Steffen Ricardo Pepi
Gregg Berhalter has explained the “heartbreaking” decisions that saw Zack Steffen and Ricardo Pepi miss out on the USMNT World Cup squad.
  • United States heading to finals in Qatar
  • Had some big selection calls to make
  • Disappointment for those overlooked

WHAT HAPPENED? The United States have pieced together their plans for the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar, with some big selection calls needing to be made. Manchester City goalkeeper Steffen, who is currently on loan at Middlesbrough, and in-form Groningen striker Pepi are among those to have been overlooked for the 26-man party that is loaded with exciting youngsters.

WHAT THEY SAID: Berhalter has said of his shot-stopping choices: “[Zack and I] go way back and Zack’s been there for me a bunch of times, to tell him he’s not going to be a part of the World Cup team was heartbreaking. I think it’s more about who we do have and the comfort level with the guys that are on the roster, we felt really comfortable with Matt [Turner], Ethan [Horvath], and Sean [Johnson] and that’s the decision we decided to go with.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: National team coach Berhalter added on leaving out Pepi, who has hit five goals through his last seven appearances in the Eredivisie: “Jesus [Ferreira] is a guy we that we see has a very good overall understanding of our game model and has the ability to bring other players into the game as well, he’s clever with his movement in and around the penalty box and a really good ability to press the opponent. Josh [Sargent], he does a lot of things well and he’s also competing against these guys from England and Wales every single week, who will have familiarity with the opponent which we think is valuable.”

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT? The United States will open their World Cup campaign against Wales on November 21, before going on to face England and Iran in their other Group B fixtures.