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Monday, September 25, 2023

McKennie, Pepi, Musah headline standouts from USMNT’s September window – Stars Obituary

The U.S. men’s national team’s September schedule has come and gone leaving head coach Gregg Berhalter and his staff much to ponder following back-to-back victories.

Tuesday’s 4-0 home win over Oman gave Berhalter his second victory since being rehired as USMNT head coach, just three days after his team earned a 3-0 result over Uzbekistan. Despite a lackluster showing against Uzbekistan, the USMNT delivered a much better performance at Allianz Field on Tuesday, ending the September window on a high note.

Several players delivered positive performances over the window including Weston McKennie, Ricardo Pepi, and debutant Kristoffer Lund. Fellow debutants Ben Cremaschi and Kevin Paredes also impressed in limited minutes and could be on the radar later this

Here is a closer look at the USMNT standouts from the September window:

Weston McKennie

Weston McKennie started in both of the USMNT’s matches this month, excelling against both Uzbekistan and Oman.

McKennie logged 171 minutes in Berhalter’s return, registering one assist, creating five offensive chances, and covering ample ground in midfield. The 25-year-old partnered Yunus Musah mainly in the USMNT midfield, receiving the freedom from Berhalter to try and impact things in the final third.

McKennie’s club role remains undetermined, but his USMNT role remains stronger than ever heading into the fall.

Ricardo Pepi

The U.S. men’s national team received three of its seven goals from strikers this window and two of those came from Ricardo Pepi.

Pepi came off the bench in both matches, delivering two goals and earning some needed confidence after a slow start to life with PSV. He scored on two of his five shots in his combined 90 minutes, showing his eye for goals in a pair of different ways.

Although Pepi will want to be a consistent starter, his impact as a substitute could help solidify his long-term role in the squad.

Yunus Musah

Yunus Musah was the only USMNT player to play the full 180 minutes this window, which could be crucial for his return to AC Milan.

Musah started in both victories this past week, winning 14 of 19 duels and covering ample ground in defense. The 20-year-old came into camp with limited minutes in Milan, but now leaves camp with a major confidence boost after two positive performances.

With Tyler Adams’ immediate future in doubt due to his injury recovery, Musah could play an even larger role during the October window.

Kristoffer Lund

Kristoffer Lund made his USMNT debut and first start during the September window, showing positive moments on-and-off the ball.

Lund played nine minutes against Uzbekistan before starting and logging 90 minutes against Oman. The 21-year-old looked confident and composed in possession, linking up with his attacking teammates on several occasions.

Lund won four duels, made 10 recoveries, and created two offensive chances against Oman. With the back-up left back job open, Lund very well could enter his name into the mix for the remainder of the calendar year.

Brenden Aaronson

One player that needed a spark coming into USMNT camp was Brenden Aaronson and the Leeds United loanee certainly left with one.

Aaronson registered one goal and one assist in his two substitute performances, logging 71 minutes over the past week. The 22-year-old assisted on Ricardo Pepi’s goal against Uzbekistan before delivering a free-kick goal against Oman.

He created two offensive chances in Tuesday’s win and was lively in the final third. Aaronson will now head back to Union Berlin with a point to prove after a frustrating start.

Who on this list impressed you the most against Uzbekistan and Oman? Who are you hoping to see on this list following the October window?

Share your thoughts below.

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