Christian Pulisic is returning to the U.S. national team for next week’s World Cup qualifier with Mexico. The Chelsea attacker missed last month’s three qualifiers with an ankle injury and has appeared in just two of the Americans’ last six games.
But he proved his fitness Tuesday, going 16 minutes in Chelsea’s 1-0 win over Malmö in Champions League group play.
Missing from the 25-man roster is defender Sergiño Dest and attackers Gio Reyna and Gyasi Zardes. Dest has a minor back issue, Reyna hasn’t played since hurting a hamstring in the second qualifier in September and Zardes has a knee injury.
The U.S. (3-1-2) is second in the eight-country CONCACAF qualifying tournament, trailing only Mexico (4-0-2), the lone unbeaten team. But the Americans could grab a share of first place on points with a win Nov. 12 in Cincinnati.
The U.S. will then travel to Jamaica for its final qualifier of 2021 on Nov. 16.
“Our focus remains on a next game up mentality. After this window we’ll be more than halfway through the Octagonal, so we have a chance to position ourselves well heading into next year,” U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter said in a statement. “When it comes to USA-Mexico, I’m excited for our players because it isn’t just a game – it’s an event. This is the best of World Cup qualifying, and our group is ready for the challenge.”
Among those joining Pulisic on the 25-man U.S. roster is Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget, FC Dallas forward Ricardo Pepi, Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie and Boavista defender Reggie Cannon.
Pepi leads the U.S. in scoring with three goals in qualifying while McKennie is coming off back-to-back goal-scoring matches in Italy’s Serie A. Cannon, meanwhile, returns to the national team for the first time since January, taking the spot vacated by Dest.
The roster called up Thursday includes players from nine countries, including 10 from MLS. Twenty players called up Thursday were also on the qualifying roster in October.
Goalkeeper: Sean Johnson (New York City), Zack Steffen (Manchester City), Matt Turner (New England Revolution)
Defenders: Reggie Cannon (Boavista), Mark McKenzie (Genk), Chris Richards (Hoffenheim), Antonee Robinson (Fulham), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United), Joe Scally (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Sam Vines (Royal Antwerp), DeAndre Yedlin (Galatasaray), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville)
Midfielders: Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig), Gianluca Busio (Venezia), Sebastian Lletget (Galaxy), Weston McKennie (Juventus), Yunus Musah (Valencia), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders)
Forwards: Brenden Aaronson (Red Bull Salzburg), Paul Arriola (D.C. United), Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas), Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG), Tim Weah (Lille)