Christian Pulisic and four of his U.S. teammates will return to their clubs after Friday’s Gold Cup rematch against Mexico [8:30 p.m. ET, FS1] and will miss next Tuesday’s international friendly against Uruguay, multiple sources told Yahoo Sports.
Pulisic will rejoin English Premier League club Chelsea early ahead of a crucial Sept. 14 match against Wolverhampton Wanderers. Defender John Brooks will return to German side Wolfsburg, while two other German Bundesliga representatives, midfielder Alfredo Morales and starting goalkeeper Zack Steffen, will both return to Fortuna Dusseldorf.
Finally, backup keeper Sean Johnson will make the short trip from U.S. camp in Northern New Jersey across the Hudson River to the Bronx, where he is expected to play in Saturday’s MLS match against the New England Revolution.
It’s not clear if any of the five will be replaced on the U.S. roster. But with 21 players remaining on coach Gregg Berhalter’s squad for the Uruguay tilt in St. Louis, that seems unlikely.
Pulisic is off to an encouraging start in London, having started the last three Prem games for the Blues and four of five contests across all competitions. Letting him leave early is in the national team’s interests as much as Chelsea’s or Pulisic’s. Keeping the standout 20-year-old attacker around until next week would force him to travel from Missouri across the Atlantic just three days before the trip to Wolverhampton, potentially costing him his spot in manager Frank Lampard’s lineup.
Brooks has been released early during previous international windows, including most recent U.S. appearance back in March. Steffen is still settling in as the No. 1 backstop in his maiden season in Dusseldorf, where Morales is also a key contributor.
Johnson has started a career-high three U.S. games in 2019. But the return of veteran keeper Brad Guzan for the first time in almost two years means Johnson’s presence isn’t required, even with Steffen gone. Guzan will be the clear favorite to start over the uncapped Jesse Gonzalez versus fifth-ranked Uruguay, which will also be shorthanded without all-world strikers Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez and longtime captain Diego Godin.
The USMNT returns to action next month with CONCACAF Nations League games against Cuba and Canada.
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