Europe-based USMNT stars who could miss out on the Copa America: Former Arsenal duo, Nott’m Forest man…

Ryan Baldi
Gio Reyna, Auston Trusty, Folarin Balogun, Ricardo Pepi

TT looks at the USMNT stars falling from Copa America contention

Led by Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie – who are enjoying the best form of their careers in Serie A with AC Milan and Juventus, respectively – there are several American players thriving in Europe this season who will be crucial to their nation’s hopes of success at the Copa America on home soil this summer.

But there are also a handful of Europe-based USMNT stars whose performances this term could be harming their chances of securing a key role within manager Gregg Berhalter’s squad for the tournament.

Here are four American players whose current club situations could be hindering their prospects of summer stardom on the other side of the Atlantic.

Gio Reyna

Back during the 2020-21 season, when he was breaking into the Borussia Dortmund first team as a teenager, anyone projecting ahead to the USMNT’s future tournament squads would have listed Gio Reyna as a sure-fire starter and a central figure around whom Berhalter must build.

But Reyna has endured a difficult couple of years since then. He’s started just 11 Bundesliga games for Dortmund since that breakthrough campaign and a January loan move to Nottingham Forest hasn’t gone to plan for the gifted playmaker.

The 21-year-old is, however, finishing the 2023-24 Premier League season strongly, having started the last two games for Forest and begun to exert some creative influence within the relegation-battling side.

And his performances in the United States’ Nations League triumph in March should at least be enough to assure him of a place in Berhalter’s Copa America roster. He might yet even be in contention to start. But Reyna is no longer considered a crucial figure for the USMNT.

Auston Trusty

Ordinarily, an American player who plays regularly for a Premier League club would automatically be an asset for the national team. But that’s not exactly how things have worked out so far for Auston Trusty.

The 25-year-old defender joined Arsenal in 2022 and was immediately loaned back to the Colorado Rapids for the remainder of the season. Upon moving to England midway through the 2022-23 Premier League campaign, he was sent on loan to second-tier Birmingham City. Then, last summer, Trusty was sold to Sheffield United without ever having played a game for the Gunners.

An international debut arrived in 2023, when the former Philadelphia Union player was named in the USMNT squad for the Nations League group stage. But Trusty has not appeared for the United States at all in 2024.

And while he has been a fixture of the Sheffield United backline this term, that is not the ringing endorsement it might seem – the bottom-placed Blades are on course to be the first Premier League team to concede 100 goals in a season since Swindon Town in 1993-94.

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Folarin Balogun

Brooklyn-born striker Folarin Balogun was a revelation in Ligue 1 last season, when he scored 21 goals for Reims during a loan spell from Arsenal.

The former England under-21 star then joined Monaco in a permanent deal worth up to €40 million. It was supposed to be a move that capitalised on the momentum the 22-year-old striker had built up the previous season, after failing to make an impact at Arsenal or in a previous loan stint with Middlesbrough. But so far the 10-cap USMNT forward has struggled to live up to his price tag.

Balogun has scored just seven league goals in 26 appearances this season and he is no longer a certain starter at the Stade Louis II.

Having only pledged his international allegiance to the United States in May last year, Balogun quickly impressed with Berhalter’s side, scoring in a 2-0 defeat of Canada in the 2023 Nations League final. He added two more goals to his international tally in friendlies against Oman and Ghana earlier this season, but he is scoreless in two USMNT outings in 2024.

Like Reyna, Balogun’s pedigree should be enough to earn him a place on the USMNT roster for the Copa America. But with Coventry City’s FA Cup hero Haji Wright on the rise, he could be pushed out of Berhalter’s first-choice line-up.

Ricardo Pepi

One player who could miss out altogether in the race for places among the forwards at Berhalter’s disposal this summer is Ricardo Pepi.

Curiously, the PSV striker boasts one of the most impressive goals-per-minute ratios in Europe, having scored seven times in just 404 minutes of Eredivisie action this season.

But the fact the 21-year-old striker – who joined the Dutch giants from German side Augsburg for €9 million last summer ­– has not been able to crack the starting line-up at the Philips Stadion, with just one league start and 23 appearances off the bench, will not work in his favour.

Pepi does, however, possess a solid record for the USMNT, with 10 goals from 23 caps. And Berhalter might value his game-changing ability off the bench as being worthy of a berth in his Copa America squad.

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