Gregg Berhalter’s United States squad is taking blows left and right when it comes to injuries. After losing Yunus Musah to a groin injury, he will now be down two center backs as Cameron Carter-Vickers and Chris Richards have withdrawn camp, the team announced. They’ll be replaced by Mark McKenzie and Erik Palmer-Brown as Berhalter looks to figure out his pecking order at the back. McKenzie’s last cap was in October of 2021 during World Cup qualifying, but now having his starting spot back at Genk, he has earned another chance with the national team.
It’s a big blow for Carter-Vickers who has been a critical part of Ange Postecglou’s Celtic side. Without him, Celtic lost their first Scottish Premiership match of the season, a 2-0 loss to St. Mirren on Sunday after going a year without suffering defeat in the domestic top flight. Before the match, Posteglou said, “Cameron pulled up so he wasn’t available…”
From the sound of that, this injury won’t keep Carter-Vickers out of the World Cup but he also needed reps with the team due to not being involved in World Cup qualifying and just breaking back into the national team during the summer. Richards also has a minor injury but he hasn’t been available for Berhalter since January of 2022 due to an injury suffered while still at Hoffenheim. While Richards works to break into the starting lineup for Crystal Palace, his World Cup hopes are hanging on by a thread. Richards has played fewer than 200 minutes for Patrick Veiria during his time with the club and could easily see himself replaced by McKenzie, Palmer-Brown, or James Sands if he turns things around at Rangers before Qatar.
These injuries make it even more likely that Aaron Long and Walker Zimmerman will be the starting center backs at the World Cup as they’re the pair with the most chemistry, but it also shows just how big the loss of Miles Robinson is. McKenzie and Palmer-Brown will need to stand out during friendlies against Japan on Sept. 23 and Saudia Arabia on Sept. 27 which are the final tune-ups before heading to Qatar.
GOALKEEPERS (3): Ethan Horvath (Luton Town/ENG; 8/0), Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 10/0), Matt Turner (Arsenal/ENG; 18/0)
DEFENDERS (9): Reggie Cannon (Boavista/POR; 27/1), Sergiño Dest (AC Milan/ITA; 17/2), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 27/3), Mark McKenzie (Genk/BEL; 8/0), Erik Palmer-Brown (Troyes/FRA; 4/0), Joe Scally (Borussia Mönchengladbach/GER; 2/0), Sam Vines (Royal Antwerp/BEL; 8/1), DeAndre Yedlin (Inter Miami; 74/0), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; 31/3)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Kellyn Acosta (LAFC; 52/2), Tyler Adams (Leeds United/ENG; 30/1), Johnny Cardoso (Internacional/BRA; 3/0), Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo/ESP; 11/0), Weston McKennie (Juventus/ITA; 35/9), Malik Tillman (Rangers/SCO; 2/0)
FORWARDS (8): Brenden Aaronson (Leeds United/ENG; 22/6), Paul Arriola (FC Dallas; 47/10), Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas; 13/7), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders; 48/11), Ricardo Pepi (Groningen/NED; 11/3), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG; 51/21), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 12/4), Josh Sargent (Norwich City/ENG; 19/3)