Steffen starts for US vs Mexico as Berhalter uses top lineup

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Fans of the United States national soccer team enter Azteca stadium prior to a qualifying soccer match for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 against Mexico, in Mexico City, Thursday, March 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

MEXICO CITY – Zack Steffen was in goal as U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter used an “A” team lineup and changed five starters Thursday night for a World Cup qualifier against Mexico at Estadio Azteca.

Right back DeAndre Yedlin, midfielders Tyler Adams and Yunus Musah and winger Christian Pulisic also joined the lineup.

Central defenders Miles Robinson and Walker Zimmerman, left back Antonee Robinson, midfielder Kevin Acosta, winger Tim Weah and forward Ricardo Pepi were the holdovers from the 3-0 win over Honduras on Feb. 2.

Berhalter had debated with his staff whether to use a “B” team at Estadio Azteca, where the Americans have five losses and three draws in eight qualifiers, and to rest his top players for a home qualifier Sunday against Panama, which appears to be a more significant game in the standings.

Steffen, bothered by back spasms, had been supplanted by Matt Turner, who started eight of the first 11 qualifiers. Turner is sidelined by an ankle injury and Berhalter picked Steffen over Ethan Horvath. Steffen is a backup at Manchester City and was playing just his second match since Feb. 5, while Horvath has gained the starting role at Nottingham Forest.

Nine of the 11 starters also opened the 2-0 win over Mexico at Cincinnati on Nov. 12, when Pulisic entered in the second half and scored the go-ahead goal, and Acosta also came in late.

Pulisic, Acosta and Yedlin also started the 1-1 draw at Mexico in a 2017 qualifier.

Defender Reggie Cannon did not dress after testing positive for COVID-19. He had been held out of training Wednesday because of an inconclusive test result.

Turner, Cannon, Weston McKennie, Jordan Morris and Luca de la Torre were dropped from the lineup that started against Honduras. McKennie is sidelined by a broken foot.

No. 3 goalkeeper Sean Johnson and midfielder Gianluca Busio did not dress

Mexico coach Tata Martino changed four starters from the 1-0 win over Panama on Feb. 2, inserting right back Jorge Sánchez, central defender Johan Vásquez, defensive midfielder Edson Álvarez and winger Jesús Corona.

They joined goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, central defender César Montes, left back Gerardo Arteaga, midfielders Héctor Herrera and Charly Rodríguez, winger Hirving Lozano and forward Raúl Jiménez.

Luis Rodríguez, Julio César Domínguez, Jesús Gallardo and Luis Romo were the players in the lineup against Panama who were dropped.


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