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Thursday, September 21, 2023

USA picks new faces to take on Costa Rica after training camp shift from Doha

US national team coach Gregg Berhalter announced a 22-man squad Saturday for next weekend’s friendly against Costa Rica that features 12 hopefuls seeking a first-ever cap.

The roster was unveiled after three weeks of training in Bradenton, Florida, where the USMNT shifted workouts planned for Doha, Qatar, after an American air strike at a Baghdad airport killed Iran military commander Qassem Soleimani.

The US squad relocated Saturday to Los Angeles ahead of next Saturday’s matchup against the Ticos in suburban Carson, the home pitch of the Los Angeles Galaxy.

“It has been a good few weeks in Florida. The guys have worked hard and have made progress in all aspects of our game model,” Berhalter said.

“We now turn our focus to preparing for Costa Rica and encouraging the players to take advantage of the opportunity and finish off the month with a positive result.”

Berhalter returned forward Jordan Morris and midfielder Cristian Roldan to Seattle and goalkeeper J.T. Marcinkowski to San Jose.

The US lineup includes only three players not involved in Major League Soccer, which doesn’t kick off its 2020 campaign until next month.

The trio, each hoping for his first US cap, include forward Ulysses Llanez of Bundesliga side Wolfsburg’s under-19 squad, midfielder Christian Cappis of Danish club Hobro and Bryang Kayo, an unattached midfielder of Cameroonian descent.

The most experienced players in the group are forwards Paul Arriola of DC United with 32 caps and Columbus Crew striker Gyasi Zardes with 55 caps.

Local players headline Costa Rican squad

Sixteen players from Costa Rica’s local league and six from Major League Soccer are featured in La Sele’s 23-man roster for the friendly against the United States.

Among them is Manfred Ugalde, a 17-year-old who plays for Saprissa.

“This game is an important opportunity to see players — especially young ones — and also  to see some MLS players who may not have had much participation with me,” said manager Ronald González.

2020 will be an important year for La Sele, as it will begin its 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign in August.

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