The United States is heading towards one of its most important World Cups in its history. There is only a month left before the start of the soccer season in Europe, and only a few months left until the World Cup begins in November.
With the start of the tournament approaching, here is an early look at the team that could represent the US at this year’s World Cup.
Christian Pulisic, Timothy Weah, Brenden Aaronson, Gio Reyna, Jesus Ferreira, Ricardo Pepi, Jordan Pefok, Malik Tillman
Pulisic, Weah, Aaronson, and Reyna are all almost guaranteed to make the roster if they are healthy. Pulisic, Weah, and Aaronson all regularly started for the national team after Reyna was injured, and all have performed extremely well over the last few months.
Reyna remains one of the most exciting young players for the United States, and assuming he returns to health this fall he will be on the US’ roster and play a key role for Gregg Berhalter. Ferreira is also likely to be a member of the roster after playing an important role for the United States during this summer’s friendlies and CONCACAF Nations League games.
Pepi, Pefok, and Tillman are all involved in a competition among several players to be a member of the roster. Pefok scored 27 goals last season for BSC Young Boys and recently signed with Union Berlin of the Bundesliga, where he will play in the same league as Pepi and Tillman. Pepi hasn’t yet scored in the Bundesliga, but still is one of the best young players from the United States and has a good chance of being a member of the roster.
Tillman made his first two appearances for the United States this summer after representing Germany at the youth levels. He made seven appearances for Bayern Munich last year, and should see more playing time for the club this fall. If he plays well, he could make the World Cup roster ahead of players such as Paul Arriola, Haji Wright, and Jordan Morris.
Weston McKennie, Yunus Musah, Tyler Adams, Kellyn Acosta, Luca de la Torre, Gianluca Busio, Djordje Mihailovic
McKennie, Musah, and Adams, like Pulisic, Weah, and Aaronson, are almost certainly going to make the roster if they are healthy. The trio have all been regular starters over the last few months for Berhalter during World Cup preparations.
Acosta and De la Torre are both important players and often play significant roles off the bench or as a starter when one of McKennie, Musah, or Adams need to rest. Both are also extremely likely to make the roster for the World Cup
Assuming Tillman plays a more attacking role in the midfield, another spot opens up for a more traditional central midfielder. That would allow Berhalter to have Busio and Mihailovic on the roster at the World Cup.
Busio was not on the United States’ summer roster a few months ago, but he made 29 appearances in Serie A last year. His club, Venezia, was relegated, but he will likely make a move to a different team this summer.
Mihailovic, a member of the 2019 Gold Cup team, was originally included on this summer’s national team roster before an injury caused him to miss both the friendlies and the Nations League matches. Despite that, he will still have a good chance of joining the roster at the World Cup this fall. Overall, this is one of the positions on the team with the most depth, and players such as Cristian Roldan or James Sands could also join the team this fall.
Chris Richards, Walker Zimmerman, Sergino Dest, Antonee Robinson, Aaron Long, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Reggie Cannon, Joe Scally
A few months ago, this position had a clear group of starters. Antonee Robinson, Zimmerman, Dest, and Miles Robinson. However, Miles Robinson’s Achilles injury earlier this summer means he will almost certainly not play at the World Cup.
Long is now the early favorite to start alongside Zimmerman, Antonee Robinson, and Dest after Miles Robinson’s injury. He started most of the US’ games earlier this summer. Carter-Vickers and Richards are the other options to start for Berhalter at center-back, and both will be members of the roster this fall if they are healthy.
At fullback, Dest and Antonee Robinson are the two starters and both will almost certainly make the roster if they are healthy. Cannon and Scally each played for the United States earlier this summer. Both are competing with DeAndre Yedlin to make the World Cup roster.
Scally will likely make the roster due to his experience playing at left-back, while Cannon and Yedlin could both be on the team if Berhalter chooses to have an extra defender instead of a midfielder or a forward. George Bello could also compete to make the team after being a member of the squad earlier this summer.
Matt Turner, Zack Steffen, Sean Johnson
Turner and Steffen will both make the roster if they are healthy, but it is unclear which one of them will be the starter. Turner recently completed a move to Arsenal, where he will be the backup to Aaron Ramsdale. However, with Arsenal in the FA Cup, EFL Cup, and Europa League this fall Turner will still get plenty of playing time and have an opportunity to compete to become Arsenal’s starter at the position.
Steffen has recently been Ederson’s backup at Manchester City, but it is possible he will join Middlesbrough on a loan deal this summer. The move would give Steffen more playing time ahead of the World Cup.
Steffen and Turner will compete to start at the World Cup, and whichever player is performing better this fall will likely get the opportunity to start. The United States friendlies in September could also have a huge impact on Gregg Berhalter’s decision at this position.
Johnson is leading the competition to be the final goalie on the roster, with Ethan Horvath and Gabriel Slonina also options for Berhalter. Both Horvath and Johnson were on the United States roster earlier this summer, and both started a game at the position for the team.
This is another competition that will be heavily impacted by each player’s performance this fall. Despite that, the third goalie on the roster is likely to be Johnson, who was excellent against Uruguay earlier this summer.