Christian Pulisic will rejoin the U.S. national soccer team for friendlies against Colombia and Peru, his first appearance in almost five months and second since the Americans’ World Cup qualifying fiasco last fall.
Pulisic, the most dynamic attacker in the rebuilding program, was among 24 players summoned Monday by interim coach Dave Sarachan for the matches against Colombia on Oct. 11 in Tampa and Peru on Oct. 16 in East Hartford, Conn. Training camp will open next Monday in Florida.
He will join seven others who weren’t part of the September camp, including World Cup veterans Michael Bradley and Brad Guzan.
Sixteen call-ups were in camp last month, including goalkeeper Zack Steffen, defender Matt Miazga, midfielders Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams.
Because of injuries, club commitments and need for rest, Pulisic made his lone appearance of the past year in May, a 3-0 victory over Bolivia in Chester, Pa.
A muscular injury prevented him from reporting to the squad for the friendlies against Brazil and Mexico last month. Since returning to regular activity, he has scored away goals for Borussia Dortmund against Club Brugge in the UEFA Champions League and Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga, added a superb assist against Nurnberg and played 68 minutes Saturday at Bayer Leverkusen.
Before reporting to U.S. camp, Pulisic, 20, is expected to start for the Bundesliga front-runners against Monaco on Wednesday in the Champions League and Augsburg on Saturday in league play.
“His ability to change a game and influence our team in an attacking sense goes without saying,” Sarachan said in a written statement issued by the U.S. Soccer Federation. “He’s in good form with Dortmund at the moment, and I know that he is excited to be back and a part of things.”
Sarachan explained the decision to include Bradley, 31, and Guzan, 34, on an otherwise young squad by saying, “When you are building a team, at some point there has to be the proper blend of youth and experience. As we head into these last four friendlies of the year, I felt the timing was right to begin that transition. I think it’s important to do it earlier than a week before the Gold Cup [next summer] or a World Cup qualifier” starting in 2020.
Other invitees who weren’t with the squad last month are defenders Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas) and Ben Sweat (New York City FC); midfielders Kenny Saief (Anderlecht) and Jonathan Amon (Nordsjaelland); and 18-year-old forward Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen).
The average age of the squad is 23 1/2. Fifteen players are 23 or under and 17 have fewer than 10 international appearances.
Neither D.C. United candidate, Paul Arriola or Bill Hamid, was selected, which is a blessing for their club, which has two league matches during the October FIFA window.
Arriola was one of four players from the September camp who did not receive the call-up. The others were goalkeeper Alex Bono, defender Shaq Moore and forward Gyasi Zardes.
Colombia plans to bring 12 players from this summer’s World Cup squad and Peru will take 16 from the team that played in Russia.
Meantime, multiple sources said the U.S. friendly against Italy on Nov. 20 will be played in Belgium, probably in the city of Genk. Italy, which is arranging the match, had planned all along to use a neutral site in Europe. The game will come five days after the United States faces World Cup semifinalist England at Wembley Stadium in London.
Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Atlanta United), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew).
Defenders: John Brooks (Wolfsburg), Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Swansea City), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Matt Miazga (Nantes), Antonee Robinson (Wigan), Ben Sweat (New York City FC), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United).
Midfielders: Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids), Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls), Jonathan Amon (Nordsjælland), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Julian Green (Greuther Fuuerth), Weston McKennie (Schalke), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Kenny Saief (Anderlecht), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew), Tim Weah (Paris Saint-Germain).
Forwards: Andrija Novakovich (Fortuna Sittard), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen), Bobby Wood (Hannover).