The last of the players in Gregg
Berhalter's current pool of U.S. national team players wrapped up his 2019-20 European season when Tyler Adams' RB Leipzig fell to Paris St. Germain, 3-0, in the UEFA Champions League
(Andrija Novakovich -- three caps in 2018 under Dave Sarachan -- and Frosinone play at Spezia in the second leg of the final round of Italy's Serie A promotion playoffs on Thursday.)
It was quite a run for U.S players after European play restarted in May with Christian Pulisic scoring for Chelsea in the English FA Cup final (before exiting with a hamstring injury in the second half) and Adams getting the winner for RB Leipzig against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League quarterfinals. On top of that, at least three U.S. players could be moving to the Premier League next season.
In a media conference call on Wednesday, here is what Berhalter had to say about ...
Pulisic returning from another injury:
“I talked to Christian today. He’s doing well. The leg is doing really well. It’s recovering, it’s healing. He’s in good spirits. The club is focused on getting him back as soon as possible. We have a lot of confidence in Chelsea and we have a lot of confidence in their medical staff and a lot of confidence in Christian. He's a guy who’s exploded on the scene in the Premier League in the last year and it's been great to watch. It's down to his work ethic and his focus on playing well. We’re excited to see how he comes back in his second season."
Adams’ experience in the Champions League:
“He’s going to be an important part of what we do. When you think about playing in pressure games, there aren’t too many games that have more pressure than the Champions League quarterfinal and semifinal, and he got to play in both of those games. He’s had a phenomenal rise this season, coming back from the injury he had, hanging in there and putting himself in a position to have an impact has been great to see. He’s going to be a big part of what we do. If he can handle those games, he can handle World Cup qualifying.”
Possible moves by Antonee Robinson (from Wigan Athletic to Fulham) and Weston McKennie (from Schalke 04 to Southampton) to the Premier League:
“Regarding Antonee, it’s exciting news of a potential transfer to a Premier League team. Especially after the break he came home and was in really good form. He proved to be a real dangerous weapon on the left side. For the national team, it’s great news. When you think about that left back spot being open and being contested, it’s a good opportunity for Antonee to prove he wants to and he’s capable of being the left back for the national team. Weston is very focused on challenging himself and raising his game to the highest level possible. When you think about the Premier League, it’s the best league in the world. It’s exciting. We wish him the best and hope it’s concluded sooner rather than later.”
Zack Steffen, who has not played since December because of a knee injury, returning to Manchester City and being the backup keeper:
"He is in good hands at Man City. They are excited be working with him. The medical team there is excellent. I am comfortable that Zack will return be stronger than ever. For him, it was frustrating having tendinitis. He's feeling better, he's been assessed and he's looking forward to a strong season. We're looking forward to getting him back as well. I’m not sure that he’s definitely going back to Man City and I don’t know that if he went to Man City he wouldn’t be playing. All I can say is that they’ve been working hard with Zack to get him right and he’s looking forward to having a strong year wherever he’s playing.”
On John Brooks, whose season at Wolfsburg ended with a red card in the Europa League round of 16:
“John had a good season. There were ups and downs like every player but especially at the end of the season I thought he came on really well. After the break, he was playing every game, and he had some really good performances. It was really good to see. Getting a red card and those types of things are part of the learning experience. John is still young enough that he is learning. For us, he’s an important part of the team. When know when he is playing his best, he is a very good center back, and he can help us."