USMNT Hopeful For the Future
The US Men’s National Team is finally showing a bit of promise. It has been quite awhile since the USMNT has been a threatening side and a matchup worth worrying about. They made it to the Quarter-finals twenty years ago in 2002 and the Round of 16 in nail-biting fashion with a late winner against Ghana in the group stage. They could not, however, compete against Germany or Belgium.
The USMNT has not had success against top-class competition and fans are sick of it. The missed World Cup in 2018 was the cherry on top and the USMNT has come back in full force and looks very competitive for the qualifiers for 2022. The FIFA rankings have them in 20th and I believe that’s a fair assessment. They are young, though, and should only improve as a roster.
World-Class Midfield with Options
It starts with the midfield for the US. The obvious talking point is Pulisic who just became the first American to win the Champions League with Chelsea where he wears the number ten. He lost his starting job there but is an absolute force coming off the bench and there is a good argument to be made about why he should be in the starting lineup.
His pace is only rivaled by Yunus Musah. The 18-year-old plays as a winger for Valencia CF, but doubles very well as a central midfielder. He spent most of his international youth with the English national team, but recently committed to the USMNT and will play an integral role for the future if Berhalter gives him the time and space to excel. He is quick and decisive on the ball, and arguably a more threatening individual attacker than Pulisic.
Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams, however, will be the backbone of this USMNT for many years to come. Both 22 years of age, McKennie is dominant at Juventus and has really risen as a professional soccer player in the last year or so. He has shown up with Juventus and taken an important role with the club. Although they haven’t had the greatest success domestically, there is no doubt McKennie has learned and improved tremendously playing with the likes of Ronaldo, de Ligt, Dybala, etc.
Adams, unfortunately out with an injury, has been equally impressive with Red Bull Leipzig. The center defensive midfielder, barring no further intense injuries, will most certainly run the team through the center of the pitch for years to come. He is talented on the ball and really knows how to control the tempo of the game, but is tenacious on defense and will be extremely important to help John Brooks and Mark McKenzie at center back.
Long-Awaited Individual Success in Domestic Leagues
Maybe the most important indicator of hope for the USMNT is the number of trophies that have been won this past season in domestic tourneys. The list is too long to count here, and that’s the beauty of it. Important ones are obviously Pulisic and the Champions League, Steffen with Man City’s Premier League and EFL Cup title, Weston McKennie with two trophies (Coppa Italia, Super Cup), Aaronson grabbed himself a brace of trophies. The list goes on.
The point is, the USMNT are getting the job done in Europe for the first time ever, which can only indicate that the US have world-class talent and should be showing it very shortly.
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