Union’s Fafa Picault joins U.S. national team roster for games vs. Colombia, Peru
Union winger Fafa Picault has been rewarded for his good form this season with the second U.S. national team call-up of his career.
This story has been updated.
Union winger Fafa Picault has been called up to the U.S. men's soccer team for just the second time in his career. The 27-year-old was summoned to the squad Friday after Tyler Adams and Hershey native Christian Pulisic withdrew because of injuries.
The U.S. will play Colombia on Oct. 11 in Tampa, Fla., and Peru on Oct. 16 in East Hartford, Conn. It's an official FIFA international window, and the Union don't have any games during that time.
Picault had been considered for the initial squad that was announced Monday but did not make the cut. Pulisic was to make his first national team appearance since the win over Bolivia at Talen Energy Stadium in May but recently suffered a torn calf muscle. Adams has been dealing with back spasms. He was not replaced.
A few days after the roster was announced, Weston McKennie withdrew because of an adductor injury suffered after the initial call-up. He was replaced by Toronto FC's Marky Delgado.
It was to be the first camp with Pulisic, Adams, and Weston McKennie together. The trio of midfielders is likely to be at the national team's core for years to come. We'll have to wait some more for their first ensemble performance.
Picault is the first Union player to be called to the U.S. national team since C.J. Sapong this past January. He is one of four players set to leave the Union the team during the upcoming FIFA window. Borek Dockal is headed to the Czech Republic national team for its UEFA Nations League games at Slovakia on Oct. 13 and Ukraine on Oct. 16. Andre Blake and Cory Burke will join Jamaica for their Concacaf Nations League game against Bonaire in Curaçao on Oct. 14.
A 27-year-old New York City native, Picault has eight goals and four assists this season, tied for the Union's scoring lead. His first national team call-up came for a May 2016 friendly at Puerto Rico when Jurgen Klinsmann was in charge. Picault was playing for German second-division team St. Pauli at the time. He joined the Union the following winter, and has 15 goals and 7 assists in his time here.
U.S. national team general manager Earnie Stewart saw many of those goals and assists first-hand as the Union's sporting director. Now, his task is building a team to work toward the 2022 World Cup.
Picault will be 31 at that point, likely too old to be worth a place on the team in Qatar. Stewart and interim coach Dave Sarachan have focused on building a core of young players, and for good reason. Some of those players, such as Josh Sargent and Tim Weah, were in Chester in late May for the U.S.' 3-0 win over Bolivia.
Picault can offer those players some advice on life in the global game. The New York City native played in Italian club Cagliari's youth academy, then played for the NASL's Tampa Bay Rowdies and Fort Lauderdale Strikers and Czech club Sparta Prague. He moved from Sparta to St. Pauli in 2015.
U.S. roster for games vs. Colombia and Peru
Goalkeepers (3): Brad Guzan (Atlanta United), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge, Belgium), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew)
Defenders (8): John Brooks (Wolfsburg, Germany), Reggie Cannon (Dallas), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Swansea, England), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Matt Miazga (Nantes, France), Antonee Robinson (Wigan, England), Ben Sweat (New York City FC), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle, England)
Midfielders (9): Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids), Jonathan Amon (Nordsjaelland, Denmark), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Marky Delgado (Toronto FC), Julian Green (Greuther Fuerth, Germany), Fafa Picault (Philadelphia Union), Kenny Saief (Anderlecht, Belgium), Wil Trapp (Columbus), Tim Weah (Paris Saint-Germain, France)
Forwards (3): Andrija Novakovich (Fortuna Sittard, Netherlands), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen, Germany), Bobby Wood (Hannover, Germany)
Here's how to watch all the national team games that could feature Union players in the October FIFA window.
Thursday, Oct. 11: United States vs. Colombia, 7:30 p.m. (Fox Sports 1 and UniMás)
Saturday, Oct. 13: Slovakia vs. Czech Republic, 8:50 a.m. (ESPNews and Univision Deportes)
Sunday, Oct. 14: Bonaire vs. Jamaica, 6 p.m. (ConcacafGo.com)
Tuesday, Oct. 16: Ukraine vs. Czech Republic, 2:45 p.m. (ESPNews); United States vs. Peru, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN2 and UniMás)