USMNT name June friendlies roster as Copa America looms: Gregg Berhalter looks for Sergino Dest replacement

Written by on May 21, 2024

A busy summer is about to get underway for the United States men’s national team and manager Gregg Berhalter has released his 27-man squad list for friendlies against Colombia on June 8 and Brazil on June 12. With the Copa America group stage kicking off on June 23, these friendlies are a chance for Berhalter to test out new things and see where his team stands ahead of the USMNT’s biggest tournament since the 2022 World Cup. It’s a critical time for the team, which, among other things, needs to figure out how to replace Sergino Dest at right back.

The 23-year-old suffered an ACL injury which will cause him to miss Copa America and not only is he the starting right back for the USMNT, but Dest is also Antonee Robinson’s primary backup at left back as well. Dest is strong in possession and allows the USMNT to smother teams going forward while also keeping a strong defensive shape. Without Dest, Chris Richards is someone who could deputize at right back while Shaq Moore and Joe Scally have also been called into this squad to show what they can do.

“We’re really using these games to see both individually and collectively how we can perform and when you get to play against teams like Brazil, Colombia, and Uruguay, what you get is information and that information is going to help you grow and improve as you go toward 2026,” Berhalter said about the goal of these friendlies. “I can give you other examples of where early on with this group some of these games really help give us key information that helped us grow and improve to get to where we are today. So we want to continue that. I’m really using these games to help this group progress both individually and collectively.”

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Roster

GOALKEEPERS (3): Ethan Horvath (Cardiff City/WAL; 9/0), Sean Johnson (Toronto FC/CAN; 13/0), Matt Turner (Nottingham Forest/ENG; 39/0)

DEFENDERS (9): Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic/SCO; 16/0), Kristoffer Lund (Palermo/ITA; 3/0), Mark McKenzie (Genk/BEL; 13/0), Shaq Moore (Nashville SC; 18/1), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 56/1), Chris Richards (Crystal Palace/ENG; 16/1), Antonee Robinson (Fulham/ENG; 41/4), Miles Robinson (FC Cincinnati; 29/3), Joe Scally (Borussia Mönchengladbach/GER; 9/0)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Tyler Adams (Bournemouth/ENG; 38/2), Johnny Cardoso (Real Betis/ESP; 11/0), Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo/ESP; 20/0), Weston McKennie (Juventus/ITA; 51/11), Yunus Musah (AC Milan; ITA; 35/0), Gio Reyna (Nottingham Forest/ENG; 26/8), Malik Tillman (PSV Eindhoven/NED; 10/0), Timmy Tillman (LAFC; 1/0)

FORWARDS (7): Brenden Aaronson (Union Berlin/GER; 40/8), Folarin Balogun (Monaco/FRA; 10/3), Ricardo Pepi (PSV Eindhoven/NED; 23/10), Christian Pulisic (AC Milan/ITA; 66/28), Josh Sargent (Norwich City/ENG; 23/5), Tim Weah (Juventus/ITA; 37/5), Haji Wright (Coventry City/ENG; 9/4)

Looking at defense

“You look at what we’re trying to do with Sergino going down, we have to figure out the right back situation and there’s a couple of different options we can look at. We have like for like with Joe Scally and Shaq Moore, we have a winger that can play there with Timothy Weah who played that for his club, we have center midfielders who can play there in Weston [McKennie] and Yunus [Musah] and then we have center backs that we’re looking at [to see] can they play there,” Berhalter said about his options at right back heading into these matches. “So we just wanted the ability in this training camp to have options and to have flexibility. Some of it may revolve around a back three, but the first objective is to see how we’re going to fill that right back position, because we know that we’re going to be missing Sergino.”

This is a lot to unpack as Berhalter named every possible option that he has, but it shows how tough replacing Dest is. Berhalter either has to change the system by playing a back three or an unnatural right back out wide to make things work. Ahead of a competitive tournament, drastic changes aren’t what a coach wants to make, but Berhalter doesn’t have many options to do otherwise given the circumstances that he has been given.

While Richards is a more defensive option at right back, he’s someone who makes sense to plug in with his experience for Crystal Palace. In theory, Richards, who has the versatility to play in the middle or at fullback, or even as a defensive midfielder a times, can help the team morph into a back three in possession allowing Antonee Robinson to get forward when he can to help fill the creative void without Dest. 

Olympics on the horizon

While Berhalter did mention that some players like Kevin Paredes were left out of this squad due to one eye being toward prep for the summer’s other major tournament, the Olympics which consists of primarily an under 23 sqad, he did also mention some of the potential overaged players who could be in contention for that event. Three players who are older than 23 can take part in the Paris Olympics and some who could are Brandon Vazquez, Auston Trusty, and Walker Zimmerman. As the goal is to augment spots where the U-23’s aren’t at their strongest, it makes sense for a striker — potentially between Vazquez and Jesus Ferreira — to be added to the side for more consistent performances. Center back is also a place where more experience could be a boon to Marko Mitrovic. The U-23’s will play their final friendly before the Olympics on June 11 against Japan. After that, the final roster will be named in July.

The post USMNT name June friendlies roster as Copa America looms: Gregg Berhalter looks for Sergino Dest replacement first appeared on CBS Sports.


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