Cameron Carter-Vickers is the latest player to end up unavailable for the upcoming U.S. men’s national team friendlies against Japan and Saudi Arabia.
The Celtic center back was on Gregg Berhalter’s initial roster, but will not participate in the USMNT’s September friendlies after picking up an as-yet-unspecified injury in training.
Celtic boss Ange Postecoglu told the Daily Record early on Sunday that the 24-year-old would likely miss the USMNT camp, and that they hoped to have him available coming out of the international break.
“We’ll see how he is. I think he’s out of the US camp,” said Postecoglu. “We are hoping, post-international break, he won’t be too far away.”
Speaking at halftime of ESPN‘s broadcast of the Columbus Crew hosting the Portland Timbers, Berhalter confirmed that Carter-Vickers would not participate in friendlies against Japan (September 23 in Dusseldorf) and Saudi Arabia (September 27 in Murcia).
“Cam will be out of this camp, which is unfortunate,” said Berhalter. “We wanted to get him in and get him around the group this camp, but unfortunately he won’t be in. We are working on a replacement as we speak.”
Carter-Vickers is the latest USMNT player to end up unavailable in this window. Antonee Robinson and Tim Weah are both dealing with ankle sprains, though both players are believed to be close to a return. Zack Steffen was supposed to be out in order to rest and overcome a knee injury, but started for Middlesbrough on Saturday.
Berhalter then called in Internacional midfielder Johnny Cardoso as a replacement for Yunus Musah, who picked up what Valencia has said is a minor groin injury after the initial roster was announced.
Who will Berhalter call in to replace Carter-Vickers?
There was no immediate announcement of the USMNT’s choice to replace Carter-Vickers, but it stands to reason that Berhalter will add a center back to a squad that is currently down to just three (Aaron Long, Chris Richards, and Walker Zimmerman) rather than boosting numbers at a different position.
Mark McKenzie and Erik Palmer-Brown feel like the leading candidates at this point. While McKenzie has been in and out of Genk’s lineup so far this season, he has more of a history under Berhalter. However, Palmer-Brown has started every game for Troyes in Ligue 1, which may be enough to see him push ahead in what is probably a last chance to stake a claim on a World Cup spot for both players.
Berhalter also mentioned Matt Miazga as someone he’s been monitoring after announcing his squad, meaning the FC Cincinnati man is also a candidate here. While Berhalter also mentioned Fulham captain Tim Ream, it came with a note about how the style of play Ream does well in is not a good mesh with the USMNT’s system. A similar situation is likely to keep John Brooks out of the reckoning, even after the USMNT veteran sealed a move to Benfica.