Pulisic, Steffen out of US squad for El Salvador test

Christian Pulisic of Chelsea celebrates after scoring their side's second goal during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on August 14, 2021 in London, England.

Premier League duo Christian Pulisic and Zack Steffen have been ruled out of the United States' 2022 World Cup CONCACAF qualifier against El Salvador on Thursday, coach Gregg Berhalter confirmed.

Chelsea star Pulisic is recovering from Covid-19 and did not travel to San Salvador with the US squad, which has been based in Nashville this week.

Manchester City goalkeeper Steffen was also ruled out of Thursday's opener after suffering back spasms in training.

Berhalter said Wednesday that in-form New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner would start Thursday's game in San Salvador, which kicks off the final round of 2022 World Cup qualifiers for teams from Central America, North America and the Caribbean.

Turner excelled in the USA's recent CONCACAF Gold Cup campaign, keeping five clean sheets, and also starred in last week's Major League Soccer All-Star game.

"We felt at this given moment, Matt is the goalkeeper in better form," Berhalter said.

"I have complete confidence in him and what he can do. Next step is to see if he can translate it into these ultra-competitive matches."

Pulisic, meanwhile, is likely to be replaced in the US starting line-up by either Red Bull Salzburg's Brenden Aaronson or Marseille winger Konrad De La Fuente.

Thursday's opener kicks off a hectic three-match international window for the United States, with a home game against Canada on Sunday followed by a trip to Honduras next Wednesday.

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