The United States Men’s National Team has arguably the youngest and brightest golden generation in its history. They failed to qualify for the World Cup four years ago, but this USMNT team has drastically improved since then. Their squad is stacked with talent with Christian Pulisic contributing 21 goals and 10 assists over his 52 caps and up-and-coming youngster Gio Reyna providing the creative spark in midfield in the early stages of his international career. There’s also the talents of Timothy Weah to consider and Weston Mckinnie is showing a lot of promise too. Not only did they find the net 21 times during qualifying but after falling just short in the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup, they went on to win both the 2021 Gold Cup and the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League last year. The team is going from strength to strength with plenty of American talent plying their craft in European competition and Major League Soccer continuing to grow and expand, further benefiting the national team. There is a surge of optimism surging through American soccer right now and Gregg Berhalter’s side will be looking to ride the wave of momentum deep into this year’s World Cup. According to these soccer betting sites, the USMNT are +10,000 to win the World Cup in Qatar this winter. Some tough Group B matchups lie ahead of them but with a favorable draw for the knockout stage, if the USMNT can manage an upset or two, they will be in great shape to clinch their first quarter-final spot for over 90 years and past that anything is possible. Here’s a list of the players who will play a key role in Qatar if they are to plot out a route to the quarter finals or further.
Chelsea star Pulisic has been hailed as ‘Captain America’ for the side and fans will be hoping he can rally the US in Qatar. However, he will need to improve his current run of form if he is to have the desired impact at the World Cup. Pulisic has not scored since a hat-trick against Panama in a 5-1 CONCACAF World Cup qualification game back in March. The former Dortmund star failed to push his team past Saudi Arabia in a 0-0 stalemate in Spain as belief across the country starts to waver in the USMNT after a three-game winless streak. There’s a month to go for Berhalter’s side to find a sharpness unseen in Spain before their matchday one clash against Wales. Despite his performances as of late for club side Chelsea, the talismanic forward always manages to save something special for his country. He has over 30 goal contributions for the Star and Stripes and there will be no better time to add to that tally than out in Qatar. Much of the US public will pin their hopes on Pulisic firing his squad to the knockout stages.
Initially breaking through in the Bundesliga with FC Schalke 04, Weston McKennie made a headline move to then-Serie A champions Juventus in 2020. It came as a little bit of a surprise, with his skillset not immediately suited to the elite level, but Andrea Pirlo carved out a niche role which he performed pretty well. Since the return of Massimiliano Allegri, though, McKennie has struggled to be as impactful in a more conventional midfield role. He can add a high intensity approach to every phase of the game and has a good sense of timing when arriving into the penalty area, and it has been a consistent source of goals throughout his career. His tally for the USMNT stands at nine goals and three assists across his 37 appearances and while he has not been having the best performances of his career, he still has plenty to add to this squad in Qatar.
Christian Pulisic is expected to make an impact for the USMNT, but should he fall short of the mark and not fire on all cylinders it will likely be up to the 19-year-old Reyna to pick up the slack. The 19-year old recently turned heads when he registered an assist on both of Borussia Dortmund’s goals in the Champion’s League opener against Copenhagen. The Dortmund player has four goals and one assist in his 14 appearances for the Stars and Stripes and has provided much of the creative spark in the team’s attack over the course of their qualification and CONCACAF Gold Cup campaigns. He has established himself as one of Europe’s most enticing young prospects and he is likely to make an impact in Qatar. His biggest challenge both ahead of and during the World Cup will be to remain healthy.
Despite representing England right up to under-18 level, Yunus Musah is one of the USMNT’ most exciting young prospects. He made the switch of nationality not long after he made an important leap in his club career, leaving home, Arsenal’s academy, for Valencia in Spain. Since moving to the Mediterranean coast, Musah has been a regular in Valencia’s first-team line-ups in La Liga. A number eight in youth team football, Musah has found a role on the right-side of Valencia’s four-man midfield. He fulfills that task by utilizing his explosive athleticism and direct ball-carrying abilities. He has already notched up 17 appearances for the States so he is hardly an undiscovered talent, but his interlinking passes have been crucial in providing the impetus going forward. He appears on track to return to full health for Qatar, in what would be a significant boost for the group.
Timothy Weah presents the biggest question mark of all the USA’s young talent. The son of the legendary George Weah broke and became a staple in Lille’s first team from 2020. Over the last year he has blossomed as one of the more explosive and promising attackers in the USA camp. Weah’s problem however is that he has yet to feature in a game this season after sustaining a foot injury. If healthy Weah would be an unquestioned member of the roster, who would likely be in the conversation for a starting spot. The lack of fitness on the other hand brings into question whether he will be included if he actually is even healthy enough to participate in Qatar.