A 26-man roster was released today for the final World Cup warm up friendlies against Japan and Saudi Arabia next week. The final WC roster is also limited to 26, so although Berhalter could have called more for this window, I expect there are only a few spots that haven't been booked yet and only a few players in contention for those spots. I think last week Berhalter said that "85% of the roster is basically decided."
𝐒𝐞𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐦𝐛𝐞𝐫 𝐒𝐪𝐮𝐚𝐝... 𝘼𝙎𝙎𝙀𝙈𝘽𝙇𝙀 🇺🇸 Gregg Berhalter calls 26 players for upcoming matches versus Japan and Saudi Arabia » https://t.co/dAbRUfceXA#USMNT x @BioSteelSports pic.twitter.com/OybYQvBKiu— U.S. Men's National Soccer Team (@USMNT) September 14, 2022
(For me) Surprising decisions are Aaron Long over James Sands and Tim Ream (been playing very well for Fulham so far this season), Pepi over Jordan Pefok and Brandon Vazquez. My only thought with Pefok is that maybe he's just the fallback option if Pepi can't find form between now and November. We basically know what we're getting from Pefok - he's a great poacher but basically doesn't do anything else we ask from our strikers at a high level. Assuming Ferreira is our starter and Sargent is the direct backup, I would personally bring Pefok as a change of pace even if Pepi does find form, but it doesn't seem like Berhalter agrees.
Edit: Quote from Berhalter re: above paragraph
Berhalter on Jordan Pefok: "We know what Jordan can do, he's been great in the Bundesliga, and we just went with someone else in this camp...we didn't want to just give up on Pepi."Sounds like GGG isn't out on Pefok just yet, wants to give Pepi a shot to earn it #USMNT— Kyle Bonn (@the_bonnfire) September 14, 2022
Keep in mind that Steffen, Weah, and A. Robinson are all injured but should be back by November and are basically assured spots on the roster, so 1 GK (Horvath/Johnson), 1 FB (Yedlin/Cannon/Scally), and 1 winger (Arriola/Morris) on this roster probably won't make it.
Japan v. USA - Friday Sept. 23, 8:26 AM, Dusseldorf, Germany, ESPN2, Unimas, TUDN
Saudi Arabia v. USA - Tuesday Sept. 27, 2:00 PM, Murcia, Spain, FS1, Unimas, TUDN