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Pulisic, McKennie and Adams called up to U.S. squad for March friendlies

The European-based contingent of Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams headlines the roster for the United States ahead of friendlies against Ecuador on March 21 and Chile five days later.

The 24-man roster is the second put together by manager Gregg Berhalter since taking over the U.S. team back in December. But whereas his first camp in January was comprised entirely of domestic players, this get-together sees nine performers playing abroad while the remainder are with MLS clubs. Of the 15 MLS players that were invited, 14 took part in the January camp.

"We thought it was important to tie some of the themes of last camp into this next camp and to have some consistency in the personnel made a lot of sense," said Berhalter. "We still think we're able to evaluate a new group of players, and we think that is going to be valuable as we move into the Gold Cup."

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That said, the roster assembled is closer to what will look like a full-strength side, though there are some notable absences. Toronto striker Jozy Altidore is still not fully recovered from a recent knee injury. Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan was not included, nor was Hannover 96 striker Bobby Wood.

A USSF spokesman said that the U.S. U23 team -- the side that will attempt to qualify for the Olympics for the first time since the 2008 games in Beijing -- is also planning to play a pair of matches during the upcoming international window. Berhalter indicated that the scheduling of those games played a role in determining who was called up to the full team and who will play for the U23s. It's likely that this is why Werder Bremen forward Josh Sargent and Celtic winger Tim Weah were excluded from the full team.

"We had to make decisions for this camp and we looked at the players in a number of different buckets," said Berhalter. "For example, we have some younger guys that aren't getting the game time that they would have expected and they're still age-eligible for the Olympics, so we think it's a great opportunity for them to play two international games with the Olympic team.

"We have other players that we have evaluated thoroughly in the January camp and we're going to bring back in the future, but not in this camp. That's another group. Then we have some guys that are returning from injury and we thought now is not the right time to subject them to the intensity of international soccer and the national team."

The squad is a bit older than some those in other recent camps, with an average age of 25 years, 261 days. It also average 21 caps. Among the more experienced call-ups are Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley (143) and Newcastle United defender DeAndre Yedlin (57).

Berhalter also took the opportunity to pick some players who have been out of the U.S. mix for extended periods. Defenders Tim Ream of Fulham and Atlas center-back Omar Gonzalez were called in for the first time since 2017.

"We have been saying all along that we thought it was important to have a veteran presence in the national team," he said. "I think it's really important when you talk about the history, the heritage and culture of what it means to play for the national team.

"In Omar and Tim's case, they're both playing at a high level, they're both playing every week and we thought this would be a good camp to evaluate their performance."

Seattle Sounders forward Jordan Morris was called up for the first time since tearing the ACL in his right knee early last year. He scored two goals for the Sounders in the season-opening 4-1 win over FC Cincinnati.

"We're excited for Jordan," said Berhalter. "He's a player that we had contact with in January Camp and it will be great to see him live and in person on the field."

Most of all, Berhalter will be looking to build on the concepts that he established in his inaugural camp last month.

"Our goal is to keep making progress. Building on the themes of last camp, building on the style of play of last camp, but also now evaluating a new group of players," Berhalter said.

"We made progress in the first camp and it's now asking if we can take it to another level. When we are done with this camp, it's important that we have a good idea of our strongest group of players heading into the Gold Cup."


GOALKEEPERS: Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge, BEL; 3/0), Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 6/0), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC; 8/0)

DEFENDERS: John Brooks (Wolfsburg, GER; 36/3), Omar Gonzalez (Atlas, MEX; 48/3), Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes; 2/0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 4/0), Daniel Lovitz (Montreal Impact; 2/0), Matt Miazga (Reading, ENG; 11/1), Tim Ream (Fulham, ENG; 26/1), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United, ENG; 57/0)

MIDFIELDERS: Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig, GER; 9/1), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC, CAN; 143/17), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 7/2), Weston McKennie (Schalke, GER; 7/1), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund, GER; 23/9), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; 7/0), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; 13/0)

FORWARDS: Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 19/3), Corey Baird (Real Salt Lake; 2/0), Jonathan Lewis (New York City FC; 2/0), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 25/5), Christian Ramirez (LAFC; 2/1), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew SC; 42/6)


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