EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Just days after being snubbed from the United States Men’s National Team for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Ricardo Pepi scored again for FC Groningen.
The 19-year-old El Paso County native opened the scoring for Groningen in the 45th minute of their 3-2 loss to Fortuna Sittard on Sunday afternoon. It was his sixth goal in nine matches for the Dutch side since coming over on loan from FC Augsburg of the German Bundesliga.
Pepi’s omittance from the USMNT drew plenty of criticism from fans and pundits around the country, particularly after he played a big role in qualification. He scored three goals and dished out two assists to help the U.S. make it to Qatar.
After he scored yet again for FC Groningen on Sunday, Pepi was asked about being left off the USMNT’s World Cup roster.
“It’s disappointing because I felt like I gave myself the best opportunity to be in the World Cup roster,” Pepi said. “I felt like I had a chance, but it’s also not disappointing at the same time because I did my thing, I went out there, played many minutes and scored my goals, so I’m really happy with that situation. At the end of the day, it’s a coach’s decision that I can’t control.”
If Pepi continues his strong run of form, USMNT and manager Gregg Berhalter could end up regretting the decision to leave the San Elizario native at home. Particularly if the U.S. struggles in Qatar, Pepi’s omission could loom large; only time will tell.
The United States will open the 2022 FIFA World Cup on Nov. 21 vs. Wales.