Bradley, Guzan, Pulisic return to US national team
CHICAGO (AP) — Midfielder Michael Bradley and goalkeeper Brad Guzan will be back with the U.S. national team for the first time since the loss at Trinidad and Tobago last October that ended the Americans’ streak of seven straight World Cup appearances.
Star 20-year-old midfielder Christian Pulisic also is on the 24-man roster announced Monday for games against Colombia on Oct. 11 at Tampa, Florida, and versus Peru five days later at East Hartford, Connecticut.
Bradley, the 31-year-old U.S. captain, has 17 goals in 140 international appearances and figures to among only a few veterans who will be integrated with a young core group that has won three, lost two and tied three under interim coach Dave Sarachan. Guzan, 34, has 58 international appearances and was the backup to Tim Howard, now 39, in the last cycle of World Cup qualifying. Jozy Altidore, a 28-year-old striker, has not been selected for the national team since the defeat at Trinidad.
Pulisic has made just one appearance in the past year, on May 28 against Bolivia in suburban Philadelphia, near his home in Hershey, Pennsylvania. He missed last month’s games against Brazil and Mexico because of an unspecified muscle injury, then had two goals and two assists in four games since returning to Borussia Dortmund’s lineup.
“When you are building a team, at some point there has to be the proper blend of youth and experience,” Sarachan said. “As we head into these last four friendlies of the year, I felt the timing was right to begin that transition. I think it’s important to do it earlier than a week before the Gold Cup or a World Cup qualifier.”
Josh Sargent, an 18-year-old forward who has six goals in 10 games for Werder Bremen II in the German fourth tier, is back on the roster after making his debut last spring. He joins Paris-Saint Germain midfielder Tim Weah, also 18, who has been with the national team for much of this year’s schedule, and 22-year-old forward Andrija Novakovich, who has four goals this season for Fortuna Sittard in the Dutch Eredivisie.
“We know that at both PSG and Werder Bremen, the competition for playing time is extremely difficult, yet both are gaining valuable experience at their clubs, and their fitness and form are still at a good level. We feel it’s important to continue offering these players opportunities right now, knowing that it will pay dividends down the road,” Sarachan said.
Kenny Saief, an oft-injured 24-year-old midfielder who has made two appearances for the U.S. team, also returns.
Four players will be in camp seeking their first international appearance: 20-year-old right back Reggie Cannon, 25-year-old central defender Aaron Long, 27-year-old left back Ben Sweat, and 19-year-old winger Jonathan Amon. Long attended training with the national team last month.
The average age of the roster is 23 years, 168 days, and 15 players are 23 or younger.
The U.S. still is searching for a long-term replacement for Bruce Arena, who quit as coach after the loss in Trinidad. The Americans do not have a competitive match until the CONCACAF Gold Cup in June.
Sarachan has given debuts to 18 players in eight matches.
Julian Green (Greuther Fuerth, Germany), Weston McKennie (Schalke, Germany), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund, Germany), Kenny Saief (Anderlecht, Belgium), Wil Trapp (Columbus), Tim Weah (Paris Saint-Germain, France)
- Aaron Long
- Borussia Dortmund
- Christian Pulisic
- FIFA World Cup
- Fortuna Sittard
- Gold Cup
- Michael Bradley
- New York Red Bulls
- Paris SG
- Werder Bremen