The USMNT's ongoing quest for a dependable, goalscoring No. 9 took a dramatic turn on Wednesday with the release of the Nations League squad: the World Cup trio of Jesús Ferreira, Josh Sargent and Haji Wright were all omitted while Daryl Dike and Ricardo Pepi got call ups.
Ferreira has two goals in three games for FC Dallas, Wright has 12 in 18 Süper Lig appearances for Antalyaspor but only just returned from a thigh complaint while Sargent (11 goals in 31 games for Norwich in the Championship) is also coming off an ankle injury.
It's clear that a bit of caution is being used with Wright and Sargent, but the USMNT now gets to call on a fully healthy Dike while Pepi has regained his form with Groningen in the Eredivisie by scoring nine goals in 20 games.
Dike's road back from successive longterm injuries has been slow and steady, but the 22-year-old is now rolling with West Brom. He's started five straight games, going the full 90 in three of them, and on Wednesday he scored his seventh goal in 19 Championship appearances.
The finish was a beautifully composed volley off Jed Wallace's cross.
DARLY DIKEEEEE #wba pic.twitter.com/IBGTuek4Nx— LP (@wbaIiam) March 15, 2023
We haven't seen Dike play for the U.S. since the 2021 Gold Cup semifinals. He has three goals in eight caps, but both Dike and Pepi (three goals in 12 caps) will be looking to add to their numbers against Grenada on Mar. 24 and at home in Orlando versus El Salvador on Mar. 27.
We back https://t.co/x4zjHlBEEo— Ricardo Pepi (@Ricardo_Pepi9) March 15, 2023