A Bright Future for Our USMNT

For my handful of fellow footballing/soccer enthusiasts on WordPress like Ark (South Africa & England) of A Tale Unfolds, John Z (Australia & Brazil) of The Superstitious Naked Ape, Brian (England) of Butterflies to Dragsters, Hariod (England) at Contentedness who has unfortunately been absent for some time now, Swarn (Canadian) of Cloak Unfurled also absent from here quite awhile, and any others who are passionate about the world’s Most Beautiful Game, I wanted to post a precursor of U.S. Men’s footballing hopes leading up to the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Africa, this November. Also, to start a bit of chatter and fun banter back-n-forth of our various national teams and favorite players.

USA vs N. Ireland – March 2021 – L to R back row: Tim Ream, Antonee Robinson, Matt Miazga, Aaron Long, Theoson Siebatcheu, Zack Steffan; front row L to R: Yunus Musah, Kellyn Acosta, Sergiño Dest, Christian Pulisic, Giovanni Reyna

If the U.S.A. starting lineup can remain healthy between now and Nov. 20th when the Cup begins and during their individual club seasons, the Yanks can show very well. Plus, the U.S. is in a decent Group B and should advance to the next round either as the runner-up team of the Group or possibly the winner, if… and this is a huge ask, IF we can beat Iran and Wales, and perhaps draw with England to move on to the Round of 16.

But I must reiterate, if our first-team starters can stay injury-free between now and Dec. 3rd or 4th, then we have a decent-to-good chance of doing well in the Round of 16 and possibly advancing to the Quarter-finals! The Quarters are the farthest the USMNT has ever advanced in recent modern times. The last time we went that far was with our historically best national team roster ever: the FIFA WC 2002 in Japan/S. Korea. We lost to Germany by a score of 0 — 1, but competed pretty well.

Why do we American fans have much to be excited about? Because we have at least seven (7) great starters by any world-footballing measurements. From exceptional-to-very-good, in my professional opinion, best to last, here are our top 7, Tier One U.S. players:

  1. Christian Pulisic (23y/o) – Forward, Chelsea FC
  2. Weston McKennie (23y/o) – Midfielder, Juventus
  3. Giovanni Reyna (19y/o) – Forward, Borussia Dortmund
  4. Zack Steffen (27y/o) – Goalkeeper, Man. City
  5. Sergiño Dest (21y/o) – Defender, FC Barcelona
  6. Tim Weah (22y/o) – Forward, Lille
  7. Tyler Adams (23y/o) – Midfielder, Leeds United

One of our brightest upcoming stars on the world stage of football is by far and away Gio Reyna. Giovanni has recently endured an injury-prone last 12-14 months with a nagging hamstring. But once he is fully healthy and back to full-strength, watch out! Enjoy these highlights of our 19-y/o phenom:

For us to have a good chance of advancing out of the Group stage and out of the Round of 16, these seven players must remain healthy and playing their A-game. Without our big three—Pulisic, Reyna, and McKennie—we stand no chance of going deep into the tournament. If they fall, we could be or will be coming home early. World Cup fans, keep your eyes on these U.S. players. Because if they perform at their very best and link-up, then the U.S. will be a threat for any national team in the tournament.

Moving on to our good potential Tier Two squad players to watch, they are as follows:

  1. Paul Arriola (27y/o) – Forward, FC Dallas
  2. Matt Turner (28y/o) – Goalkeeper, Arsenal
  3. Christian Roldan (27y/o) – Midfielder, Seattle Sounders
  4. Brenden Aaronson (21y/o) – Forward, Leeds United
  5. Walker Zimmerman (29y/o) – Defender, Nashville SC
  6. Jesus Ferreira (21y/o) – Forward, FC Dallas
  7. Antonee Robinson (25y/o) – Defender, Fulham FC
  8. Luca de la Torre (24y/o) – Midfielder, Celta de Vigo
  9. Yunus Musah (19y/o) – Midfielder, Valencia
  10. Kellyn Acosta (27y/o) – Midfielder, L.A. FC

And finally our Tier Three squad players:

  1. DeAndre Yedlin (29y/o) – Defender, Inter Miami
  2. Reggie Cannon (24y/o) – Defender, Boavista
  3. Ricardo Pepi (19y/o) – Forward, FC Augsburg
  4. Sean Johnson (33y/o) – Goalkeeper, NYC FC
  5. Ethan Horvath (27y/o) – Goalkeeper, Luton Town FC
  6. John Brooks (29y/o) – Defender, Hertha BSC
  7. Cameron Carter-Vickers (24y/o) – Defender, Celtic
  8. Haji Wright (24y/o) – Forward, Antalyaspor
  9. Djordje Mihailovic (23y/o) – Midfielder, CF Montréal
  10. Aaron Long (29y/o) – Defender, NY Red Bulls
  11. George Bello (20y/o) – Defender, Arminia Bielefeld
  12. Chris Richards (22y/o) – Defender, Crystal Palace FC
  13. Malik Tillman (20y/o) – Midfielder, Rangers/Bayern Munich

As you may have noticed, as of this date the USMNT is noticeably weakest in defense, particularly center defense with the exception of Zimmerman. Walker is reliably consistent, but he is not prolific with his pace or ball-technique. He is fairly strong in the air. And Sergiño Dest (Left Back) is our best attacking wing-fullback followed by Antonee Robinson (Right Back). However, Antonee is known to be inconsistent with his attacking decisions and he sometimes is too direct and shows reckless abandon with the ball in those moments. This recklessness gets him into yellow-card trouble.

USMNT – Champions of 2021 CONCACAF Nations League, 3 – 2 over Mexico

Our older veterans in the squad, such as Steffen, Yedlin and Brooks, do offer good European footballing intelligence in very competitive European leagues, however, with perhaps the exception of Steffen, none of them are of Tier One quality to impact games significantly.

Despite our rather shallow bench of little elite European experience, I am personally super thrilled about our likely USMNT potential in Qatar this World Cup, as well as our future eight years. So Ark, John Z, Brian, and any other chatty footballing fanatics, what do your Pep Guardiola, Carlo Ancelotti minds think? Tell me about your national teams and favorite players. What are your expectations for the sporting world’s biggest spectacle on Earth since 1930? Any predictions on who will be in the Final?

Live Well – Love Much – Laugh Often – Play Football!

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21 thoughts on “A Bright Future for Our USMNT

  1. The US will probably get lost on the way to Qatar, Wales will have to coax Bale out of retirement, England fans and commentators will go on and on about 1966 and lose to somebody in a penalty shoot out.
    Brian won’t watch because no Norwich players are in the squad (a blessing perhaps?), John won’t watch because the ball is the wrong shape, and Germany & Argentina will probably be in the final.
    No need to bother watching now, eh?
    😎

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lost? BWAAAA! But we sure know where to send fast our invading military forces against perceived enemies of no-nation U.N. recognized states, don’t we!? 😉

      Oh, COME ON Arky! Give your 3-Lions a bit more credit. They did very well in the Euros and Gareth Southgate has done, I think, an outstanding job with the team, media, and fans. The 3-Lions are definitely advancing out of Group B, that’s for sure. I even like their chances in the Round of 16.

      Germany? Maybe. Argentina? Nah. Don’t see that happening due to weak managers and an always incohesive unit in the locker room. Messi has never, EVER been a quality or superb Captain. Argentina into the Quarters, but that’s it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Having just witnessed England play like a bunch of wet teabags against Italy,losing 1 – 0 in the Nation’s League (finishing bottom of their group and getting relegated in the process), and cringing after the commentator mentioned Qatar and bloody 1966, I currently have as much interest in the world cup as I do about having root canal without anesthetic.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Well I may just watch you know. Who knows one of our outstanding EFL flops may get picked, Josh Sergeant has just scored 3 in the last two games so if the US of A want a proven striker…..
    As for Engerlands chances, we have a cunning plan we are going to field the Lionesses! That will see football coming home!
    Seriously, we can learn so much from those ladies. Our team has the ability and skill but just cannot put it out there when it counts.
    Oh Prof, beware of Wales they will be as dangerous as, (cough) the Three Lions.
    And Ark Manc 2 Bin Dippers 1, come on down, so much fun in the championship.

    Liked by 2 people

    • 😆 Yeah, I was quite shocked by that result yesterday. I shared Dougie’s concerns, but honestly thought Klopp and the boys would figure it out, further making Man U’s miseries worse. But boy was I wrong! And that had to be one of Virgil van Dijk’s worst games in a long, long time. And Brian, I certainly didn’t expect my Arteta Dunners to be top of the table 3 matches in… even with a 5 soft-games League start! Goodness. 😯 What a wonky start to the EPL, huh?

      Yeah, Josh Sergeant HAS the talent to make the cut for Qatar ’22, but he just seems to be inconsistent with his goal-production and creativity when it comes to our USMNT games. I think it may be a Gregg Berhalter thing versus a Dean Smith style? Or teammates around him? Idk.

      Liked by 1 person

      • They may look like soft games Prof but they have to be won. At the start of the season all sorts of weird results crop up (Brentford 4 Mancs 0, Leeds 3 Chelsea 0), these won’t happen once the top teams get into their rhythm. It’s a good laugh for us neutrals but they are just a flash in the pan.
        Sergeant needs to keep producing his current form, he won’t keep Pukki out of the side for long if he dries up.
        Dean Smith style? What’s that then? We haven’t worked it out yet!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Maybe I should explain briefly Gregg Berhalter’s style and you can determine differences since you’d be much more familiar with Dean Smith’s tactics.

          Berhalter likes to get his center-backs forward with (exquisite?) skill to switch the point of attack outside to his fullbacks/wingbacks. This hopefully creates positional flank overloads that soon/quickly feed the striker/center-forward moving (3rd, 4th man off the ball) to get in behind the opponents center-backs. Berhalter also likes to incorporate in this attacking style a “Deep Pivot” by his defensive midfielder to feed either diagonal runs by strikers near-post or far-post, or… to feed the wide wingbacks moving forward. This wingback attacking style does come at the cost of good counter-attacks by the opposition. And in those defensive scrambles, forwards ABSOLUTELY MUST track-back and track-back FAST—it’s a lot of sprinting for strikers/forwards if the defensive back-four lack in technical passing skills.

          There. Does that help Brian? 😉 Is that Dean Smith’s playing style with your Canaries? Does Sergeant have a different role there for Norwich?

          Like

      • FYI I fookin’ hate ”Dougie”. Don’t arsk. School days….
        Doug, Douglas, Scouse Bastad, Four eyes, Handsome devil are all acceptable.

        The last person who insisted on using this abbreviation I was forced to take out a contract.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I think the groups are fairly matched a couple of decent teams, one mediocre and one hoping for a moment of glory (Iran).
        Group E with Spain and Germany is interesting so too C Poland could upset Mexico or Argentina.
        England better get their act together, they have been awful in their last few games.

        Liked by 1 person

        • All the Groups are indeed pretty balanced as you broke-down; agreed. Group E edges out my selection for the Group of Death over Group H, which in my estimation is a highly competitive Group with ALL FOUR TEAMS being solid squads, each with very capable talent—duh, CR7 right? 😄 Group C was my third choice for strength of teams/nations.

          Therefore, here’s my top-to-bottom strongest to weakest Groups:

          #1 — Group E
          #2 — Group H
          #3 — Group C
          #4 — Group F
          #5 — Group G
          #6 — Group B
          #7 & #8 — Groups A and D

          Care to list your order Brian, if you have time? 😉

          Like

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