USMNT and Crystal Palace center back Chris Richards posted to Instagram on Tuesday confirming American fans’ fears that he will miss the 2022 World Cup due to injury.
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Richards has been recovering from a hamstring injury that he suffered in September. It was thought that he could recover in time for the tournament, however that is no longer the case.
The 22-year-old is arguably the second or third best center back that the USMNT has. Injuries have been an issue for him in the past year which limited him to appearing in only five World Cup qualifiers for the USA. He played the full 90 minutes in four of those five games.
Who Will Replace Richards?
Judging from Gregg Berhalter’s starting lineups in the last six games, the U.S. head coach views Aaron Long as a locked in starter alongside Walker Zimmerman. (Much to the displeasure of USMNT fans)
Berhalter hasn’t had it easy with the center back situation. Usual starter Miles Robinson suffered a ruptured Achilles in May ruling him out for the World Cup. Now with Richards out the choice of which defenders to bring becomes harder.
The dark horse center back to be included on Berhalter’s 26-man roster is Fulham captain Tim Ream. Ream hasn’t represented the U.S. since Sept. 3, 2021, but injuries to Robinson and Richards could open the door for him.
Ream was rightly left out of the team for the past year after poor performances, but some renaissance form with Fulham this season could get him back in the squad.
Which center backs should Berhalter bring? He will announce that at the USMNT World Cup roster reveal party in New York City on Nov. 9 at 5 p.m. ET. We predicted the 26 players Berhalter will pick and you can read those predictions here.
USMNT Center Back Depth Chart (Not including injured players)
- Walker Zimmerman
- Cameron Carter-Vickers
- Tim Ream
- Aaron Long
- Mark McKenzie
- Erik Palmer-Brown
- John Brooks