Jesús Ferreira encourages Ricardo Pepi to compete ‘healthily’ for the starting role in the US team.

The United States team enters this week the final stretch of its preparation for the World Cup to be held in Qatar between November 20 and December 18.

The Americans will have two friendly matches that will also serve to define the 23 to 26 elements that will be part of the most important tournament in world soccer: Japan, on September 23 (5:25 am PT, ESPN) and Saudi Arabia, on September 27 (11 a.m. PT).

About to be defined the list of the final team that will go to the World Cup, internal competition seems to be gaining strength.

According to striker Jesús Ferreira, who plays for FC Dallas, having so many attacking options available to the team is what should motivate the fans and their coach the most.

“We know we have to focus and the team always comes first,” said the Colombian native. “I’m happy because the numbers ‘9’ are scoring goals. We want to have a good, beautiful competition, and we want the team to be well. We want the best ‘9’ who is on the pitch, who is scoring a goal”.

Ricardo Pepi, who has shown great growth in recent years, returned to the Stars and Stripes team after not being called up in June.

Pepi and Ferreira were teammates in Texas and now compete for a place in the starting lineup of the team led by Gregg Berhalter.

“I’m happy to see that he has returned to his goalscoring form,” the 22-year-old said Tuesday in a video conference from Germany, where they will play the Japanese. “I want to push him to be the best that he can be and I want him to push me to be the best that I can be. We have a healthy relationship, a healthy fight in a way for position.”

Ferreira is having a very good time with his squad and despite the fact that Pepi was important during the tie, in the last year he has had problems scoring and staying on the starting roster for his team, FC Groningen.

Pepi had a long drought after not being able to score in 30 games, for a period of 345 days, which includes his current team in the Netherlands, where he is on loan, Augsburg (owner of his pass) from Germany and the national team. The Mexican-American was finally able to get the ball in last Saturday in his team’s 2-1 loss.

For his part, the native of Santa Marta has had a great year with FC Dallas after scoring 18 times, accompanied by five assists so far this MLS season.

The striker also said he is taking advantage of the resources available to him as a player in the national team, such as having a psychologist with an emphasis on sports.

“It has helped me understand that I need to be more focused on touches during games, make sure I press well, make sure my runs are good, make sure I can go down and help come out with a first touch that helps build the exit”, explained the player. “It’s about making sure you have a good game before thinking about the final product, which is the goal.”

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