There is only five months left until the World Cup in Qatar and the USMNT have already begun their preparations. With Wales beating Ukraine in the World Cup qualifiers, the USMNT now know the three teams they will be facing. Greg Berhalter now needs to think about who will be in the starting 11 in their first game against Wales on November 21st.
Here is a look at the potential starting 11 for the USMNT for the World Cup:
Goalkeeper: Matt Turner
Matt Turner has been very consistent in goal for the USMNT since 2021. Berhalter chose Turner to be the Gold Cup last year since Zack Steffen played in the Nations Cup. With Steffen’s injury woes, Berhalter may go with Turner as its starting goalkeeper. He has also been solid for New England Revolution this season. Also, with Turner now joining Arsenal in July, he will gain Premier League experience heading to November.
Potential pick for starting goalkeeper: Sean Johnson
Sean Johnson has been nothing but amazing for NYCFC. He saved two important penalties during the MLS Finals in 2021 to help give New York its first MLS title. So far in the MLS Johnson has had eight clean sheets, which leads the league. He is on a 6 game streak of not conceding a goal in the MLS so far. He started in the friendly against Uruguay, where he did not allow a goal. However, Johnson is still new to international play and does not have the experience like Turner. If Turner ends up injured or cannot play, Johnson may be Berhalter’s second pick for goalkeeper if Johnson keeps up his form.
Bench: Zach Steffen
Zach Steffen has been the USMNT’s top goalkeeper for the last few seasons. He has experience playing for Manchester City in the Premier League and was an important role in the USMNT winning the Nation League’s cup in 2021. However, Steffen has been battling injuries and personal matters that forced him to withdraw from the June friendly’s. With the form both Turner and Johnson has been in, Steffen may only see time on the bench during the World Cup if he cannot stay consistent or healthy until now and November.
Bench: Ethan Horvath
Horvath was U.S’ hero during the Nation League’s finals in 2021 against Mexico. He replaced Steffen 70th minute after he went down with an injury. With the Americans up 3-2 in the 120th minute of the game, Mexico concede a foul in a box that led to a penalty taken by Mexico veteran Andres Guardado. Horvath made an incredible save to keep the win for the U.S. Though proven he can play with the National Team, he does not get enough minutes at his club team. Keeping form is very important for the World Cup and Horvath does not play enough minutes to be considered a starter for the World Cup.
Right Back: Sergino Dest
Sergino Dest is looking like he will be the starting right back in Qatar. He has had a good season with Barcelona, playing in one of the best leagues in world under Xavi Hernandez. He has made 17 stars in La Liga, made all three starts during the Champions League group stage, and all three starts in the Europa League knockout round. As long as Dest can stay healthy and consistent, he will be the starting right back in Qatar.
Potential pick for starting Right Back: Deandre Yedlin
Yedlin has been a long time member of the national team. He was a big part of the USMNT’s run during the 2014 World Cup. However, he has struggled with injuries and staying consistent in the last few seasons. He has made 13 starts for Inter Miami so far in the MLS and has been doing well staying consistent. He would be the second pick for right back, in the event Dest is injured.
Center Back: Walker Zimmerman and Chris Richards
There is no doubt that Zimmerman will be the starting center back for the USMNT in Qatar. He has been a huge part of the defense for the team. He also bring a leadership presence in the back. Unless injured, Zimmerman will start in the back for the U.S against Wales.
Richards has really stepped it up with the national team and it looks like he would be starting next to Zimmerman in Qatar. He was sent to TSG Hoffenheim on loan from Bayern Munich and has really learned from playing in the Bundesliga. He started in 13 Bundesliga matches and already has a goal and an assist to his name. Last year with Bayern he only appeared in one start but recorded an assist. Richards has potential to grow as one of the main players on this team and with the form he is in, he is very deserving of the second center back role for the World Cup.
Center Back Bench: Aaron Long
Longtime Red Bulls defender, Long has made his way back to the national team where he has been productive for the defense. Though he is older, Long does not have much experience playing international football. With Richards playing in Germany, he has more experience playing with internationals that give him the edge for the starting center back role over Long. However, he will still be part of the roster and a key substitute when needed.
Left Back: Antonee Robinson
English born, Robinson decided to play for the U.S since his father was raised in New York. He has made great improvement in the last year with Fulham. With 33 starts in the English League Championship, he totaled 2 goals and four assist. With Fulham claiming the title, they will play for the Premier League this August. Robinson will do nothing but improve from now until November while playing in the Premier League, where he will also gain experience playing with some of the world’s best player. Berhalter has been happy with his form and will sure pick him as the starting left back.
Center Midfielder: Tyler Adams
Tyler Adams has establish his center midfielder role for the USMNT. With 12 starts with RB Leipzig in Germany, Adams has played an important role in the U.S midfield and is no doubt the starting center back for the team in Qatar
Left Midfielder: Yunus Musah
Musah has established his role as left midfielder with his experience playing for Valencia in La Liga. He is young, and is playing in one of the toughest leagues in the world. There is no other player that is better for this position than Musah. As long as he stays healthy, he will take the starting role in Qatar.
Right Midfielder: Westin McKennie
McKennie has been doing very well during his time playing for Juventus. He started 15 games for Juventus with three goals in Serie A until going down with a broken foot earlier in the year. He has played a key role for Juventus and they were affected by his injury by failing to make a run to the Serie A title. McKennie is one of the best American players at the moment and is one of the most important players for them in the line up.
Midfielder Bench: Paul Arriola
Paul Arriola is a long time member of the USMNT. With all its young talent, there does not look like there would be a starting role for him in the World Cup. Though Arriola has years of experience, he lacks consistency. He scored against Grenada during the Nation League group stage, which is a good sign that he does contribute when he plays. He will be an important role coming off the bench for the team, and will be first in line if there is any injuries to the starting line up in the midfield.
Midfield Bench: Kellyn Acosta
A now veteran to the team, Kellyn Acosta will play a key role in coming off the bench. The USMNT have great depth in their midfield, therefore this leaves Acosta off the starting 11. Acosta has done well for his new club LAFC, who sit number one in the Western Conference and the best record in the MLS so far. Look to see Acosta produce for the team, and may even take on a bigger role if injuries come along to the starting roster
Striker-Jesus Ferreria or Ricardo
It looked like Pepi would have been the starting striker for the USMNT in Qatar after his performances during World Cup qualifiers, however he has not produced for his club team FC Augsburg. The team has not been happy with his performance, which has affected Pepi’s confidence. Due to his poor form, he was left of the roster for the U.S friendly’s and Nation League games. Pepsi may make the roster, but it isn’t 100% guaranteed it will be as a starter.
Jesus Ferreria, however, has been doing well with both club and country. Colombian born, Ferreria got his U.S citizenship after years of playing for FC Dallas’ academy. He already has 9 goals and 4 assist with Dallas in the MLS. He also scored 4 goals against Grenada, which was a huge confident booster for him. This shows that Ferreira is a huge candidate for that striker spot, however questions are asked if he will be able to score against Wales and England in the World Cup.
Berhalter really needs to think about what he will do regarding the striker position for Qatar, if he wants to give it to Pepi, or take the chance and give it Ferreria who is playing better at the moment.
Right Wing-Timothy Weah
Weah is the most important player in the team’s offense and must be in the starting line up in Qatar. With 17 starts at Lillie, Weah has produced 3 goals and four assist in Ligue One. The chemistry Weah produces fits great with the offense and will play a huge role for the team during the World Cup
Potential pick for Right Wing-Brenden Aaronson
Aaronson has really proven himself in his club FC Salzberg in Austria and could be considered a potential starter for the World Cup. However, this does not mean that Weah will not start. Berhalter may consider moving Weah as a striker if he cannot find any production from Ferreria or Pepi, thus giving the starting role to Aaronson as right wing.
Left Winger: Christian Pulisic
Captain of the team, Pulisic is a leader of this team. From becoming the first American to win the Champions League in 2021, Pulisic has establish his name to the U.S team and is also a huge fan favorite. When the U.S were eliminated from the World Cup in 2018, Pulisic made a statement that he will help lead the team back in 2022. He will definitely be occupying the left winger role in the World Cup while wearing the captains arm band.
Left Winger Bench: Giovanni Reyna
Reyna is another young American player playing for a big European club. He has spent the last 3 seasons with Borussia Dortmund and has represented the USMNT in the past before. Reyna started off well for both club and country, but struggled with injuries and consistency in the last few months. In 2021 he had 23 starts with Dortmund, but only 6 this season. Because of how well Weah has played, Reyna will see time on the bench, but will certainly come off the bench for the America’s in Qatar