Pulisic and Pepi to lead the USMNT attack against Saudi Arabia
The United States head coach, Gregg Berhalter, confirmed that Christian Pulisic and Ricardo Pepi will start against the Asian side.
The United States men’s national team suffered a tough 2-0 defeat against Japan last week in the first FIFA international break of September and the head coach, Gregg Berhalter, will make some changes for their second friendly against Saudi Arabia. The American manager confirmed that Christian Pulisic and Ricardo Pepi will be leading the attack on Tuesday at Estadio Nueva Condomina in Spain.
This will be the last chance for Gregg Berhalter to work with the entire group and build the team’s chemistry before the start of the FIFA World Cup in November. The United States head coach will announce the final 26-player roster for Qatar at an event that will take place in New York City on November 9, so the game against Saudi Arabia will be the last chance for several players to convince Berhalter they need to be included in that list.
Pulisic ready to lead the attack
The Chelsea ace missed the friendly against Japan because he suffered an injury during training last week with the USMNT, but he is ready to return to the starting XI. This will be Pulisic’s ninth start for the United States this year and his 10th appearance in total. On the other hand, Berhalter was questioned when he called up Pepi for this international window and he explained why the 19-year-old has earned his place.
“On Pepi, keep in mind this is a guy that scored three goals for us in World Cup qualifying, right, and has had a tough time since then,” said Berhalter. “We’re trying to get him confidence. We’re trying to get him into the group and see if he can make a push for the final roster. That’s to be determined right now.
“Pepi has also had some good history with us. He started really important games, and we just weren’t willing to give all that up right now with Pepi. We still think there’s a big upside with him. We still think he’s got really good potential. Let’s not forget, in our last qualifying window, he started two of the three games in a crucial World Cup qualifying window. So he is a guy that we’ve counted on in the past and we want to give him an opportunity in this window.”