ST. LOUIS -- U.S. men's national team manager Gregg Berhalter has revealed his lineup ahead of Saturday's friendly against Uzbekistan, highlighted by an attack led by AC Milan winger Christian Pulisic and AS Monaco forward Folarin Balogun.
Luca de la Torre's presence in midfield depends on whether he recovers sufficiently from a calf injury. Tanner Tessmann will take de la Torre's place if the latter player can't go. Weston McKennie and Yunus Musah will take up the remaining two midfield spots while Tim Weah will play on the wing opposite of Pulisic.
Berhalter added Friday that Balogun will only play 45 minutes due to the player still settling into his new club following his transfer from Arsenal.
Saturday's match is the first of two friendlies against opponents from the Asian Football Confederation, with the second set to take place Tuesday against Oman in St. Paul, Minnesota
"It'll be interesting to see their diverse styles and what they bring and how we can counteract that," Berhalter said of the two upcoming matches.
The current camp is the first that Berhalter has spent with the team since the 2022 World Cup.
Berhalter's contract expired at the end of 2022, and was left in limbo as U.S. Soccer investigated a 1992 domestic violence incident involving Berhalter and his now wife Rosalind. That incident became known as the result of a public feud between Gregg Berhalter and the family of midfielder Gio Reyna.
For the next six months, the U.S. was managed on an interim basis by Anthony Hudson and later current USMNT assistant B.J. Callaghan, who led the USMNT to victory at the 2023 Concacaf Nations League. After conducting a search for the next U.S. manager, U.S. Soccer settled on Berhalter in June.
With Berhalter reunited with the team, he said the vibe is the same as before.
"I think the emotions were probably last week before you come into camp, and then when you get into camp you just feel so comfortable, whether it's with the staff or with the players," he told reporters at Friday's press conference.
"You pick right up where you left off, and we built some really strong relationships over these last four years. It was good to get in the camp and rekindle them and see the staff. The whole group has been working at a really high level for these last eight months and it's been really nice to see from afar."
"If you look at the top teams in the world, they evolve throughout the years and we want to be in the state of evolving," he said. "Because we know it's going to lead to improvement, whether that's set pieces, whether that's mid-block defending, the consistency in a mid-block that we don't have to high-press all game.
"There's a number of different things that we can start to talk about with the group."
Berhalter held fast to his goal of taking the U.S. to a round at the World Cup it hasn't been before, and thus changing American soccer forever.
The U.S. made it to the semifinals of the inaugural edition of the tournament in 1930, while its best performance in the modern era -- loosely defined as starting in 1990, when the U.S. men qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 40 years -- was a quarterfinal in 2002.
"For us, it's really the work we can do in the next three years to build the group that when we go into the World Cup, we're confident that we can beat the elite of international soccer," he said.
"That's what it's going to take to do what we're talking about doing, right? If we want to go to rounds that we've never been before, it's going to be we have to beat those teams and we use the next three years to build the team up to gain the experiences that we're confident that we can actually do that.
"When we say change soccer in America forever, for me it's both on the field and off the field. We have a fantastic group of guys. I think the world got to see that in the last World Cup with their humility and how they act and what type of people they are and I'm excited for America to get to know the group better both on and off the field."