The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is just around the corner with the action set to kick off on November 21st at the Al Thumama Stadium in Qatar. Anticipation for the showcase event is reaching fever pitch with the World’s biggest sporting spectacle fast-approaching, and United States Men’s National Team fans start to dream of lifting the fabled FIFA World Cup trophy aloft. Head coach Gregg Berhalter is in the midst of masterminding the team’s route to the knockout stages in what will hopefully be another successful tournament for the Stars and Stripes. He will need key personnel to be at their very best if they’re to meet their own lofty ambitions this Winter. 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, from captain Christian Pulisic to up-and-coming youngster Gio Reyna, the States look in good shape. 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. According to the best soccer betting sites, the USMNT is +10,000 to win the 2022 World Cup. 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. With that in mind, we take a look at some of the young talent looking to break out and make the difference as the USMNT hope to secure their first quarter-final spot in over 90 years.
Christian Pulisic is the poster boy of American soccer. The forward has raced to 52 appearances for his country scoring 21 goals and claiming ten assists in that time. He will look to carry this team forward into the knockout stages of the World Cup. However, his form for club side Chelsea has not been convincing as of late. The forward struggled for game time under recently departed boss Thomas Tuchel notching up only a handful of appearances over the course of last season and he hasn’t fared much better at the start of this year. There’s no doubt he could still 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 Borussia 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.
Last summer in 2021, Vines had only distant hopes of being in contention for the World Cup but he ended up playing the most minutes at left back for the Gold Cup winning team beating his competition in George Bello. A move to Royal Antwerp saw his game develop further and he has since established himself as a regular starter at the Belgian outfit. Fulham’s Antonee Robinson is the unquestioned starter in the position when healthy but his battle with an ankle sprain has made him a doubt with other left backs options haven’t been appealing. Bello has since faded from the national team picture entirely and younger options like John Tolkin, Caleb Wiley and Jonathan Gomez are not ready yet. Vines has played a big part in Antwerp’s near perfect start to their league campaign and with few options to turn to, he could play a pivotal role for the USMNT at the back.
Musah was not present during the United States final two friendlies before the World Cup due to a groin strain. His absence exposed just how crucial he has become to this team, even at such a young age. The 19-year old has not only made waves since becoming a regular in Valencia’s first team, but more importantly he has proven to be the most productive link between the US attack and midfield. 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. Musah did return to the field for Valencia’s most recent game against Osuna, so he appears on track to return to full health for Qatar, in what would be a significant boost for the group.
Dest is one player who’s is and will continue to benefit from a change in his club situation, perhaps more than anyone else. After being on the outside of Barcelona manager Xavi’s plans for the season Dest made a move to AC Milan, which has seen him excel. More importantly an injury to fellow right back Davide Calabria, has thrust Dest into a role where he will be the main guy at right back for the foreseeable future. The momentum from his good form, and consistent playing time will see Dest go from a player who’s spot may have not been guaranteed in Gregg Berhalter’s squad, to one who will enter the tournament as a ‘must start’.
The visibly talented attacking midfielder has shown flashes of his ability at Ibrox and Rangers are known to have an option-to-buy on the player come the end of the season. The structure of the creative transfer has previously been lauded in Germany and the fact Malik Tillman is back in the USA squad is testament to his ability. He has blistering pace and is excellent with the ball at his feet. Posing a threat from anywhere on the pitch, he has the potential to terrorise defences with his direct running and has the ability to finish well too as demonstrated by a superb solo effort in a recent game against SPFL side Motherwell. If he can improve his consistency then he will be one to keep an eye on for the future in the USMNT.