USMNT players arrive in Cincinnati Sunday to prepare for match against Mexico next week
The November World Cup qualifying window opens next week and U.S. Men's National Soccer Team Head Coach Gregg Berhalter announced Thursday which players are being called up for the match to be played in Cincinnati. The 25 players are expected to arrive Sunday and begin training Monday.
The USA hosts Mexico in a major rivalry match at TQL Stadium on Friday, Nov. 12.
During a media availability, Berhalter was asked about the decision to play the high-profile match in Cincinnati.
"Our priority was finding a venue that we know we'd have a pro-U.S. crowd," Berhalter said. "It's not always cut-and-dried when you're talking about the United States. We have a rich Hispanic heritage in our country, and for us it was about getting this right. We know it's going to be important to have a great crowd.
"We think (Cincinnati) is going to be a fantastic venue. We think it's going to be a great atmosphere, and I'm already excited for this game because it's a big one," he concluded.
U.S. Soccer reports the game at TQL Stadium is a sell out. Kickoff is set for 9 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN2.
The United States bested Mexico twice this summer to win the CONCACAF Nations League in June and the Gold Cup in August, but Berhalter acknowledges World Cup qualifying is different.
"It's going to be a massive game and we're not thinking at all of what just happened in the summer. Our focus is thinking about what's going to happen on Nov. 12 and how can we win that game. We know it's going to be a highly competitive game. We know Mexico is in first place in the group, we're trying to catch them, and we'll see what happens."
Mexico is undefeated in qualifying. Berhalter calls the side "very strong (and) very mature." He anticipates a difficult match, and says the U.S. plans to be aggressive and push for a fast, speedy game, utilizing a high press.
"It's one of the biggest rivalries in the world of football," explained retired U.S. National Team standout DeMarcus Beasley in announcing the Cincinnati match in July. He's played many times against Mexico and says it's always a big match.
"Every player wants to play in that game, whether it's in Azteca (the Mexican National Team's home stadium in Mexico City) or whether it's in the United States... it's such a big game for both teams and bragging rights."
The match is part of a 14-game qualifying schedule referred to as the "octagon" or "octagonal." Eight countries from the CONCACAF region are battling for three spots in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The fourth place team will enter inter-confederation play for a final spot.
Following the first two qualifying windows, the USA sits in second place with 11 points and a 3-1-2 record.
From Cincinnati, the USMNT travel to Jamaica for a Nov. 16 match.
Here's the roster for the November window provided by U.S. Soccer
Detailed Roster by Position (Club/Country; Caps/Goals):
GOALKEEPERS (3): Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 9/0), Zack Steffen (Manchester City/ENG; 24/0), Matt Turner (New England Revolution; 12/0)
DEFENDERS (9): Reggie Cannon (Boavista/POR; 22/1), Mark McKenzie (Genk/BEL; 8/0), Chris Richards (Hoffenheim/GER; 4/0), Antonee Robinson (Fulham/ENG; 17/1), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United; 14/3), Joe Scally (Borussia Mönchengladbach/GER; 0/0), Sam Vines (Royal Antwerp/BEL; 8/1), DeAndre Yedlin (Galatasaray/TUR; 69/0), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; 20/2)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids; 42/2), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig/GER; 20/1), Gianluca Busio (Venezia/ITA; 7/0), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 33/8), Weston McKennie (Juventus/ITA; 27/7), Yunus Musah (Valencia/ESP; 9/0), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders; 29/0) FORWARDS (6): Brenden Aaronson (Red Bull Salzburg/AUT; 13/5), Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 41/8), Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas; 2/2), Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas; 4/3), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG; 40/16), Tim Weah (Lille/FRA; 16/1)
The matches are scheduled during a FIFA international window, making all players available for selection. While teams can summon a larger group, the game day roster for World Cup Qualifiers may only include 23 players.