Christian Pulisic, the most important figure in the U.S. men’s national team’s rebuilding efforts, will miss high-end friendlies against Brazil and Mexico because of a leg injury.
Pulisic, 19, was not among the 24 players named Sunday by interim coach Dave Sarachan for training camp in the New York metro area ahead of matches against Neymar and the third-ranked Brazilians on Friday in East Rutherford, N.J., and the archrival Mexicans on Sept. 11 in Nashville.
[UPDATE: Toronto midfielder Marky Delgado was added to the roster Monday morning.]
The minor muscular injury forced him to miss Borussia Dortmund’s Bundesliga match at Hannover on Friday.
“Injuries happen and you can never predict timing,” Sarachan said. “It’s disappointing that we won’t have Christian involved. I know that he wanted to be a part of things and we certainly wanted him here.”
Because of club commitments and postseason rest, Pulisic has played in one of five U.S. matches this year, an 89-minute effort against Bolivia on May 28 in Chester, Pa. Assuming he returns to full strength, the Pennsylvania-born attacker would rejoin the national team for friendlies this fall against Colombia, Peru, England and Italy.
Another notable absence is forward Josh Sargent, 18, who was allowed to continue integrating at Germany’s Werder Bremen, where he is playing for the under-23 squad and pressing for first-team recognition.
With Pulisic sidelined, Sarachan’s featured call-ups include midfielder Weston McKennie, attacker Tim Weah, defenders John Brooks and DeAndre Yedlin, and forward Bobby Wood.
Keeping with the program’s generational shift, 14 players are age 23 or younger and the squad’s average age is about 23 1/2. Sixteen players have made seven or fewer senior national team appearances. Goalkeepers Zack Steffen, Ethan Horvath and Alex Bono have played in a combined six international matches.
Many World Cup veterans were left off the list, including Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, Geoff Cameron, Fabian Johnson, Tim Howard and Brad Guzan
The most experienced call-ups are Yedlin (52 caps) and Wood (39). The squad average is 11 caps.
MLS is represented by 12 players, while leagues in Germany and England sent four apiece.
Eleven call-ups started in the 1-1 draw at France on June 9, days before Les Bleus began their World Cup championship campaign in Russia.
This gathering will mark the return of three players from injury absences: Brooks, a starting center back at Bundesliga side Wolfsburg; Colorado Rapids midfielder Kellyn Acosta; and Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget, who last played for the national team in March 2017.
Sarachan invited both New York Red Bulls center backs: Tim Parker and Aaron Long, who is making his camp debut. Columbus Crew forward Gyasi Zardes, the top U.S.-eligible scorer in MLS with 15 goals, is in camp for the first time since January. D.C. United midfielder Paul Arriola has also returned for the first time since the winter get-together.
“The theme remains the same in that we are using the opportunity against these high-powered opponents to continue building on the foundation that we’ve laid,” Sarachan said. “We felt it was right to continue allowing this group to get valuable experience for the big picture that includes competitive matches in the future.”
Brazil plans to bring 13 players from its World Cup squad, including Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain), Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona) and Roberto Firmino (Liverpool). The Mexican squad, which will first face Uruguay on Friday in Houston, features seven World Cup players and an average roster age of 24 1/2.
Goalkeepers: Alex Bono (Toronto FC), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew).
Defenders: John Brooks (Wolfsburg), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Swansea City), Eric Lichaj (Hull City), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Matt Miazga (Nantes), Shaq Moore (Reus Deportiu), Tim Parker (New York Red Bulls), Antonee Robinson (Wigan), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United).
Midfielders: Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids), Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls), Paul Arriola (D.C. United), Marky Delgado (Toronto FC), Julian Green (Greuther Fuerth), Sebastian Lletget (L.A. Galaxy), Weston McKennie (Schalke), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew), Tim Weah (Paris Saint-Germain).
Forwards: Andrija Novakovich (Fotuna Sittard), Bobby Wood (Hannover), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew).