Ricardo Pepi’s six-month goal drought a concern for USMNT

It was Oct. 7, 2021, when Ricardo Pepi’s place in the U.S. men’s national team’s starting lineup looked to be fortified for the foreseeable future. Two goals against Jamaica in Austin had cemented three more World Cup qualifying points, and the teenage sensation was on his way to joining the likes of Christian Pulisic, Tyler Adams, Gio Reyna, Weston McKennie and the rest of the young, entrenched members of the squad. A $20 million January transfer to Augsburg did little to dispute that notion.

It has now been exactly six months since those goals vs. the Reggae Boyz, and the second of them was the most recent one he has scored for club or country over a span of 21 appearances and 1,113 minutes. Suffice it to say, his place in the U.S. XI—let alone a spot on the U.S. roster—for the Nov. 21 World Cup group opener against either Wales, Scotland or Ukraine is now looking tenuous at best. 

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