Gregg Berhalter: “We’re missing a couple players but, nonetheless, we think it’s a strong roster.” (Photo courtesy of U.S. Soccer) 

By Michael Lewis Editor

Barring injuries and players going out of form, the 23-player roster that U.S. men’s national team head coach Gregg Berhalter Monday unveiled for next month’s Concacaf Nations League Final Four could be close to the one he will need when World Cup starts up in September.

The USMNT will face Honduras in the June 3 semifinals and play in either the third-place match or final June 6. Mexico and Costa Rica are vying in the semifinal.

Berhalter answered a question about this roster, which includes most, if not all of the USA’s big guns, by mentioning some key players who have been left off due to injuries and comebacks.

That included Seattle Sounders FC midfielder-forward Jordan Morris, who is recuperating from a knee injury, D.C. United midfielder Paul Arriola and center backs Chris Richards, who played on loan for Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga from champion Bayern Munich, and Red Bulls central defender Aaron Long, who recently suffered an Achilles injury.

“So, we’re missing a couple players but, nonetheless, we think it’s a strong roster,” Berhalter said during a Monday Zoom call with the media Monday.

“Some of the roster decisions were made were made based on who’s available and what’s happening next in the summer. When in doubt, we leaned on the European guys because we knew that they’re going to need rest and then preparing for a preseason. But overall, really happy with the roster. I think it’s a very strong roster and looking forward to getting the guys back together.”

Former Red Bulls midfielder Tyler Adams missed RB Leipzig’s final matches of the Bundesliga season due to back problems, but was brought into camp and put on the Nations League roster.

“He’s a guy that we’ve been monitoring very closely,” Berhalter said. “He was touch and go and they held him out of the cup final. He still had a little bit of pain that he was getting treatment for after the cup final, was preparing for the final day of the weekend and still was struggling a little bit. He went home to get treatment. We were monitoring how he was, and he felt. We felt that he’s important to the team that we want to put them on a roster. We know we can always replace him if he’s injured. We have enough players in camp to do so. It was a risk worth taking for us.”

Teams have up until 24 hours prior to their first match to replace a player due to injury.

Two natural strikers were named to the roster – Werder Bremen’s Josh Sargent and Young Boys’ Jordan Siebatcheu – which left Daryl Dike out in the cold off the roster.

Berhalter admitted  e had a difficult decision in leaving off Dike, who played on loan with Barnsley in the English Championship from Orlando City SC, off the squad. Dike still can play in the June 9 friendly against Costa Rica.

“When it came down to those particular two games, we based it on current form,” Berhalter said. “Jordan had an outstanding year playing for Young Boys. They won the title running away. He scored a lot of goals. We thought that his moving inside the penalty box is really good [and] getting on the end of crosses is really good.

“Josh is playing at a really high level. He’s playing in the Bundesliga every week. He’s competing. His minutes this year were off the charts and doing really well.

“So for us it was very difficult. [We] had a conversation with Daryl today. It’s the hardest thing a coach has to do is tell a player news like that. But Daryl has a long future with us. This is just a temporary setback for this tournament, but he’s part of the group and he’s going to enjoy his time.”