Christian Pulisic will just not play in the United States’ World Cup finals matches at El Salvador.
EL SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR Manager Gregg Berhalter announced at a news conference on Wednesday that the US would be missing midfielder Christian Pulisic & goaltender Zack Steffen at Thursday’s World Cup qualifier against El Salvador.
New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner will replace Steffen in the starting lineup, according to Berhalter.
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Earlier in the day, Pulisic’s situation was revealed. He’ll stay in Nashville and work on his fitness after a
positive COVID-19 test put him into a 10-day quarantine.
Berhalter, on the other hand, was evasive when asked about Pulisic’s availability for the qualifier against
Canada on Sunday. Due to the players’ scattered arrival dates, the US hasn’t had much time to practise this
week. Pulisic’s status is still “day-to-day,” according to Berhalter.
“We didn’t have a chance to properly evaluate [Pulisic] and observe his fitness levels,” Berhalter added. “We’ll be working with him over the next several days to figure out where he is, and we’ll receive a report when we return.”
Berhalter stated that Steffen had been suffering from back spasms and that the decision to leave him in
Nashville was decided on Wednesday morning.
Berhalter described Steffen’s condition as “something that simply creeped up on him over the past couple
of days.” “His back was very tight when he awoke today, and there was a genuine question mark whether
he’d be able to participate in the game.
We decided it would be best if he went through rehab and attempted a comeback on Sunday.”
Berhalter said it was “tough” to choose Turner over Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Ethan Horvath, but said the Revs’ goalkeeper was in “superior form.”
Horvath has just played two competitive matches since joining Forest in July, while Turner is halfway into his season with New England and played six games for the United States at the 2021 Gold Cup, which the Americans won.
Berhalter stated of Turner, “I have full faith in what he can accomplish and his abilities.” “The next stage will be for him to apply it to these ultra-competitive matches and see how he does.” He’s passed all of his exams so far, and now the only thing left is to deal with it and qualify.”
Turner is the most recent stage in his meteoric ascent.
Turner has been New England’s starting goalkeeper for three seasons and has only earned one cap. He then went on to have a fantastic Gold Cup performance.
Turner claimed Berhalter informed him of his starting role earlier on Wednesday, but that the news would have minimal impact on his pregame ritual.
“I believe one of the things I’ve learned over the years is that as a professional, you have to be ready to play at all times,” Turner said during a news conference on Wednesday.
“So you have to prepare yourself the same way you would if you were playing, or if you aren’t playing, throughout the week.” This is how you maintain your consistency. So, in comparison to previous weeks, I haven’t really changed my strategy much.
“Training isn’t the same as it used to be. I’m missing my goalkeeper coach from New England. But I’m comfortable with [US keeper coach Aaron Hyde], and we spent the whole month of July working together at the Gold Cup.
So it’s just having that next man up mindset, always being ready, because you never know when your number will be called, and you want to be ready.”
Pulisic, who helped Chelsea win the Champions League last season, is the first American to appear in and win a European Champions League final.