The Biggest Snubs From the USMNT's World Cup Roster


The biggest snubs from the USMNT’s World Cup roster originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The United States men’s national team is ready for Qatar.

The USMNT on Wednesday unveiled its roster for the 2022 World Cup. The Americans’ first World Cup squad since 2014 is headlined by Chelsea forward Christian Pulisic, Juventus midfielder Weston McKinnie and Leeds United midfielder Tyler Adams, among others.

Now that we know the 26 Americans selected to compete on soccer’s biggest stage, who were the most notable names not to get a World Cup call from U.S. manager Gregg Berhalter?

Here are the biggest omissions from the USMNT’s World Cup roster:

GK Zack Steffen, Middlesbrough

Steffen was the odd-man out among the goalkeepers, with Berhalter opting to go with Ethan Horvath, Sean Johnson and Matt Turner. Steffen’s exclusion was stunning as he had long been Berhalter’s No. 1 choice in net, though that job now seems to belong to Turner, who joined Arsenal this past summer.

Sfeffen has made 29 caps since debuting in January 2018, conceding 28 goals and collecting 12 clean sheets. In 16 games with Middlesbrough of the EFL Championship this season, the Manchester City loanee has allowed 19 goals and tallied four clean sheets.

CF Ricardo Pepi, FC Groningen

Jesus Ferreira, Josh Sargent and Haji Wright each got the nod instead of Pepi and a couple of other notable strikers/center forwards. In World Cup qualifying, Pepi was second to Pulisic in goals scored for the USMNT with three. The 19-year-old FC Augsburg loanee has also been lighting it up with Dutch side FC Groningen, notching six goals and two assists in 14 games. Five goals and two assists have come in eight league games. 

CB John Brooks, S.L. Benfica

Brooks scored a game-winning goal for the Americans in their last World Cup appearance, but he won’t get the chance to do so again in Qatar. Even with Chris Richards’ injury, Brooks still didn’t crack the roster, losing out to fellow center backs Tim Ream, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Aaron Long and Walker Zimmerman.

Brooks, a left-footed center-back who’s logged 45 USMNT caps since 2013, has only made two appearances for Benfica after joining the Portuguese side from VfL Wolfsburg at the end of the summer transfer window.

CAM/CM, Djordje Mihailovic, CF Montréal

The most notable omission in the midfield, Mihailovic is coming off a strong season with CF Montréal. He recorded 11 goals and six assists across 29 combined regular-season and playoff MLS matches. 

The 24-year-old has five USMNT caps, though his last one came in December 2020. The midfielders Berhalter opted for over Mihailovic were Brenden Aaronson, Kellyn Acosta, Tyler Adams, Luca De La Torre, Weston McKinnie, Yunus Musah and Cristian Roldan.

RW Paul Arriola, FC Dallas

Another MLS player coming off a solid season, Arriola was one of a few surprise snubs at forward. The 27-year-old just put together the best season of his MLS career statistically with 10 goals and six assists in 34 total games for FC Dallas

Arriola has also racked up 10 goals and eight assists in 33 starts and 48 caps with the USMNT. But he was ultimately edged out by fellow wingers Pulisic, Gio Reyna, Tim Weah and Jordan Morris.

CF Jordan Pefok, Union Berlin

In his first season with Bundesliga side FC Union Berlin, one of the rising teams in Europe so far in 2022-23, Pefok has recorded four goals and three assists in 18 across all competitions, with a hot start that saw him gain more traction of potentially earning a spot.

Pefok, 26, debuted with the USMNT in 2021 and has logged one goal in nine caps.

CB Auston Trusty, Birmingham City

While Trusty doesn’t have a USMNT cap, he was still hoping to be part of the World Cup squad thanks to his increase in form since the start of the new campaign. The 24-year-old Arsenal loanee has impressed in his first season in the championship, playing a role in seven clean sheets through 20 appearances and ranking among the league leaders in clearances, blocks and tackles + interceptions. He could be a name to watch in the 2026 cycle.

CF Brandon Vazquez, FC Cincinnati

Twenty-eight goal involvements in 37 games wasn’t enough for Vazquez to steal a World Cup spot. Vazquez tied Ferreira for the fourth-most goals in MLS this past season with 18 and found the back of the net 20 times total in 35 games with FC Cincinnati.

The 24-year-old, however, has yet to make an appearance with the senior U.S. team.

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