DAVENPORT, Fla. – Christian Pulisic will miss the United States’ CONCACAF Nations League games against Canada and Cuba after leaving Chelsea’s match against Crystal Palace with a hip injury.
The 21-year-old attacker from Hershey, Pennsylvania, appeared to get hurt when he scored his fifth goal in three Premier League matches, colliding with goalkeeper Vicente Guaita during a header in the 79th minute Saturday. Pulisic became just the fourth American to score in three straight EPL games, after Roy Wegerle, Joe Max-Moore and Clint Dempsey.
“This was a collaborative decision with the club, looking after the best interests of the player,” U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter said at training Monday. “It was a risk that we just weren’t willing to take at this time.”
Toronto midfielder Michael Bradley was to have been on the roster but was dropped after he hurt his right ankle during Sunday’s Major League Soccer title game.
“You see him laying everything on the line to win the game, and things like that happen,” Berhalter said. “It’s unfortunate.”
Seattle midfielder Christian Roldan and forward Jordan Morris were added to the 23-man roster after the Sounders’ 3-1 win over Toronto.
Minnesota defender Chase Gasper was dropped along with Salt Lake forward Corey Baird.
The U.S. plays Canada on Friday in Orlando and meets Cuba four days later at George Town, Cayman Islands. To advance to the Nations League semifinals, the Americans (1-1) must win both games and make up a goal difference of four against Canada (3-0).
Outside back Sergiño Dest could make his senior national team competitive debut after deciding to stay with the U.S. program rather than switch to the Netherlands.
Goalkeeper Zack Steffen is missing the games due to left knee tendinitis, even though he has been playing for Fortuna Duesseldorf.
“He hasn’t been training and he has been playing games. They’re doing everything they can to keep him together to be able to perform on the weekend,” Berhalter said. “We said the rest is probably better. This is long-term play. The health of Zack, him playing this entire season, getting that under his belt, is very important at this stage.”
The updated roster:
Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Atlanta United), Sean Johnson (New York City), Matt Turner (New England).
Defenders: John Brooks (Wolfsburg, Germany), Reggie Cannon (Dallas), Sergiño Dest (Ajax, Netherlands), Nick Lima (San Jose), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Daniel Lovitz (Montreal), Tim Ream (Fulham, England), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle, England), Walker Zimmerman (LA).
Midfielders: Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Weston McKennie (Schalke, Germany), Alfredo Morales (Fortuna Duesseldorf, Germany), Cristian Roldan (Seattle), Wil Trapp (Columbus), Jackson Yueill (San Jose).
Forwards: Paul Arriola (D.C.), Tyler Boyd (Besiktas, Turkey), Jordan Morris (Seattle), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen, Germany), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus).