Pulisic, Reyna, Pepi: Players to watch for USMNT against Japan

Walker Zimmerman is basically a lock for Qatar. As for everyone else, we’ll see.

Miles Robinson would be the guy if not for Achilles injury, but these things happen. One door shuts for him, but opens for someone else.

Aaron Long may be in pole position as he looks to step up as the No. 2 centerbacks. Berhalter has already named Long the starter against Japan, but expects rotation as the game and camp goes on.

“Aaron and Walker are going to play, going to start,” Berhalter told Reporters on Thursday, “and we’ll probably make a sub at half-time, or maybe after that and get another center back in. And then next game, take a look at another one.”

Berhalter will also look to give a run to Erik Palmer-Brown and Mark McKenzie, two players that, just a week ago, weren’t even on this squad. Injuries to Cameron Carter-Vickers and Chris Richards have handed them a lifeline as they look to make a late push for Qatar.

“Mark’s played in some big games, Aaron and Walker played together for three and a half years now, so I think there is familiarity with this group,” Berhalter said. “And then for Erik, it’s a good opportunity. He’s playing in Ligue 1. He’s playing against [Kylian] Mbappe and [Lionel] Messi and the quality Strikers there.”


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