Pulisic, McKennie, Adams start US qualifier vs El Salvador
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams started together for the first time in almost three years, and Jesús Ferreira was picked over Ricardo Pepi at forward for the United States’ World Cup qualifier against El Salvador on Thursday night.
The temperature at kickoff was 29 degrees, tying a record low for a U.S. home game.
U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter changed five starters from the previous qualifier, a 1-1 draw at Jamaica in November.
Goalkeeper Matt Turner, defender Walker Zimmerman and Ferreira were the only starters from Major League Soccer, players who had not appeared in a competitive match since last fall. They also were the only holdovers from the starting lineup in last month’s 1-0 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Turner started the first five qualifiers, then was replaced by Zack Steffen, who remained in England this week with a bad back.
Sergiño Dest started at right back after injuries that caused him to miss November qualifiers, Chris Richards was paired with Zimmerman in the same central defense duo that started in Jamaica, and Antonee Robinson started at left back.
Pulisic got his first international start since Sept. 8 at Honduras, when he injured an ankle, and McKennie returned from a one-match suspension for card accumulation.
Pulisic, Adams and McKennie had started just one match together previously, an exhibition against Ecuador in March 2019.
Adams, McKennie and Musah started in midfield, and Pulisic and Tim Weah — son of former FIFA Player of the Year and current Liberia president George Weah — flanked Ferreira atop the attack.
The starting lineup averaged 23 years, 92 days, the fourth-youngest for the U.S. in a qualifier behind three matches last fall.
Turner, Dest, Adams and McKennie started the 0-0 draw at El Salvador on Sept. 2 that opened qualifying, a match when Robinson entered in the 64th minute.
Adams was the only starter carrying a yellow card.
DeAndre Yedlin, Brooks Lennon, Sebastian Lletget and Gabriel Slonina did not dress.
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