The 26-man squad that will travel to Qatar for the upcoming World Cup is set. Manager Gregg Berhalter and U.S. Soccer announced the selections on Wednesday.
One of the biggest surprises was that goalkeeper Zack Steffen didn't make the cut, with Ethan Horvath (Luton Town), Matt Turner (Arsenal) and Sean Johnson (NYCFC) instead filling out the position for the USMNT. Turner is expected to be the starter.
Ricardo Pepi's fall from grace for this USMNT side has been significant after he once seemed like the future of the position. So it wasn't a surprise that his exclusion was one of the main storylines.
"In some of the cases it's more about what we have then what we don't have," Berhalter said on the ESPN broadcast announcing the selections regarding Steffen and Pepi. "With the three goalkeepers on the roster we feel great. We feel good about it. We saw a lot of progess with Turner in his last six months. We know Horvath has been competing at a good level in the Championship. And Johnson has been a mainstay in this group since Day 1. So we're comfortable with that pairing."
"In the case of [Pepi], that was a really difficult conversation to have with him," Berhalter continued. "And it's always difficult when a guy helps you get to the World Cup, scores three goals in qualifying and isn't going to be a part of the program. And again, it's more about who we did add that we felt good about."