United States Men’s National Soccer Team Head Coach Gregg Berhalter speaks to reporters before the first baseball game of a doubleheader between the Minnesota Twins and New York Yankees, on Wednesday, September 7, 2022 in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)


In the eyes of US coach Gregg Berhalter, Chelsea’s decision to fire coach Thomas Tuchel could benefit US star Christian Pulisic.

“I’m not happy that a guy lost his job. But if that means more opportunities for Christian, then that’s positive because he’s a guy who’s proven he can perform at this level,” Berhalter said Wednesday at Yankee Stadium. “We’ll just have to wait and see.”

Pulisic was used as a second-half substitute in Chelsea’s first five Premier League games before starting in Saturday’s 2-1 win over West Ham. He came on in the 75th minute of Tuesday’s 1-0 loss to Dinamo Zagreb, Tuchel’s last game.

Berhalter, a cousin of former Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski, met with Yankees front office officials before swapping shirts with New York manager Aaron Boone. The 49-year-old southpaw, a member of the 2002 and 2006 U.S. World Cup rosters, threw a ceremonial first pitch.

“The Yankees are the Real Madrid of baseball,” Berhalter said. “It’s really fascinating to be up close in this organization and just to hear what the expectations are. Their expectations are to win every year. And so you see what standards they have. You see at what level they are working. And it was fun. It really opened my eyes.

Berhalter plans to announce a roster of 26 or 27 players on September 14 for the Americans’ final two exhibitions before the World Cup, against Japan in Dusseldorf, Germany on September 23 and against Saudi Arabia four days later. in Murcia, Spain. . He will announce his 26-man World Cup roster on November 9.

He said his Cup roster is settled at around 85 per cent, meaning only four spots remain open if no one else is injured.

“I’m sure there won’t be anything drastic, but there may be a few guys that pop up,” Berhalter said.

Goalkeeper Zack Steffen has missed three games in a row for Middlesbrough with a knee injury.

“We’ll just see what he does this weekend,” Berhalter said. “We just receive information daily.”

Steffen, Matt Turner, Ethan Horvath and Sean Johnson were the top four goaltenders this cycle. Turner could make his Arsenal debut in Thursday’s Europa League opener in Zurich.

Berhalter didn’t seem to consider Maccabi Haifa goalie Josh Cohen, a 30-year-old Californian who has never played in the U.S. national team program.

“He’s playing the Champions League, and that’s great,” Berhalter said. “We watch every game he plays. I don’t see much uncertainty in the goalkeeper position. I think we have guys who have proven that and have done a great job for us in the past.

Union Berlin striker Jordan Pefok missed last weekend’s Bundesliga game against Bayern Munich with a muscle injury, and the club said he would not dress for the match. opening of the Europa League on Thursday against the Belgian Union Saint-Gilloise.

“It’s a surprise that he couldn’t make the game this weekend,” Berhalter said.

Atlanta defender Miles Robinson, who will miss the World Cup with a torn Achilles, was arrested last weekend in suburban Atlanta for theft.

“I know Miles very well, and he’s a guy I can trust in his character,” Berhalter said. “I don’t know exactly what happened. I wasn’t there that night. It is therefore very difficult for me to comment on the exact circumstances. But what I do know is that Miles is a fantastic guy.

After traveling to Scotland, Spain and Portugal to see the players in action last weekend, Berhalter planned to attend Wednesday night’s Major League Soccer game at Citi Field with Johnson and the Cincinnati striker Brandon Vazquez. Berhalter said he hadn’t decided to select Vazquez for his final training ahead of the World Cup and his national team debut.

“I like his movement in the penalty area. I think it’s been great,” Berhalter said. “He does a really good job of attacking the ball in the box, finding free space. Hard worker, big physical He’s good at getting the ball back, changing ground when he turns his back on the ball, so I think he’s had a great season.”

Berhalter also plans to travel to the September 17 Revierderby between Gio Reyna’s Borussia Dortmund and visiting Schalke.

He doesn’t expect to announce a team of taxis when he reveals his Cup roster. Many players are at clubs with matches on November 12 and 13.

“If someone gets injured and they can’t go that day, we’ll be ready with replacements,” he said.


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This story was originally published September 7, 2022 3:50 p.m.