Gregg Berhalter explained the decision to leave Yunus Musah out of the U.S. men’s national team’s two CONCACAF Nations League wins while also offering an update on the injury suffered by goalkeeper Zack Steffen.
Musah was the only available USMNT outfield player not to appear in the team’s wins over Honduras and Mexico, two games that would have officially cap-tied the midfielder to the U.S.
Now, he’ll almost certainly have to wait until the fall to be cap-tied, but Berhalter said that the Valencia starlet is taking it in stride and is expected to feature against Costa Rica on Wednesday.
What did Berhalter have to say?
“It was a tactical decision,” USWNT boss Berhalter said of Musah’s omission. “He’s a big part of what we do. He’s a young player, 18 years old, and in these particular games, we opted for something different. I don’t think it means that he’s not part of the group. He’s a guy that we’re counting on and we’re counting on for the future.
“We wanted to bring him into these games in the right way, for him to see the speed of the game, for him to get used to what CONCACAF is like and to see that from the sideline, but he’s ready to go for [Wednesday] and we’re looking forward to him having a big game.”
“He’s ready to go,” Berhalter added. “He understands it’s a team. He’s dealt with enough with Valencia this year to understand that sometimes you don’t get to play, but it’s been a lot of communication from us and he’s ready to go. It’s never easy for younger players not to get on the field but he’s patient and he’s bought into the team concept and he’s ready to go [Wednesday].”
Steffen out for Costa Rica friendly
Ahead of Wednesday’s friendly, the last game for most of this group before World Cup qualifying this fall, the U.S. will be without their starting goalkeeper in Steffen, who picked up an injury against Mexico.
The Manchester City goalkeeper was forced out in the second half, with Ethan Horvath emerging as the USMNT’s hero with a late save of Andres Guardado’s penalty kick.
On Tuesday, Berhalter revealed that Steffen, and defender Bryan Reynolds, would miss the game against Costa Rica with identical injuries.
“They both have bone bruises on their knee, and it’s about a 10-day injury,” Berhalter said. “They’re recovering and getting better but won’t be able to play the game.”
Berhalter also revealed that defender Matt Miazga has left camp to celebrate his wedding and has been replaced by Nashville SC defender Walker Zimmerman.