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Pulisic in, McKennie out of USA roster for Europe matches

Washington (AFP) – Chelsea midfielder Christian Pulisic was among 26 players called up on Wednesday by US coach Gregg Berhalter for two March friendlies, but Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie is absent.

A mostly European collection of talent will gather in Austria starting Saturday ahead of matches against Jamaica near Vienna on March 25 and against Northern Ireland at Belfast on March 28.

The lineup features 16 players who are 22 or younger, including 18-year-old Valencia midfielder Yunus Musah, who committed to playing for the United States on Monday.

McKennie is absent after being nagged by a recent hip injury.

Pulisic last played for the US against Canada in October 2019.

“It’s great to get the group together to continue to build relationships on and off the field,” Berhalter said. “We look forward to the games and the different challenges they will pose.”

Both matches will be played behind closed doors due to Covid-19 pandemic safety measures.

Covid-19 quarantine restrictions will force seven players to return to their clubs after the Jamaica match, including forwards Gio Reyna of Borussia Dortmund, Josh Sargent of Werder Bremen and Lille’s Tim Weah plus Wolfsburg defender John Brooks Leipzig midfielder Tyler Adams.

The Americans face North America’s Gold Cup tournament in July ahead of the start of 2022 World Cup qualifying later this year.

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