United States World Cup 2022 guide: Key players, injuries, tactics & tournament prediction

The USMNT are back after missing out in 2018.
The USMNT are back after missing out in 2018. / Briony Painter | 90min

The United States Men's National Team return to the World Cup scene this winter following an absence in 2018.

Gregg Berhalter's side finished third in the Concacaf qualifying table on 25 points from 14 games, three adrift of Canada and Mexico above them.

The USMNT have arguably the most talented group of players emerging in their country's history and despite not playing a World Cup match since 2014, expectations are high.

Here's what to expect from the USMNT at the 2022 World Cup:

When are the United States' group games?

  • USMNT vs Wales (November 21, 19:00 GMT)
  • England vs USMNT (November 25, 19:00 GMT)
  • Iran vs USMNT (November 29, 19:00 GMT)
  • USMNT vs Wales H2H record: Played 2, Won 1, Drawn 1
  • USMNT vs England H2H record: Played 11, Won 2, Drawn 1, Lost 8
  • USMNT vs Iran H2H record: Played 2, Won 0, Drawn 1, Lost 1

Who is in the United States' confirmed 26-player squad for the World Cup?

The USMNT announced their squad at an event in New York City on Wednesday, November 9, with Berhalter making a number of eye-catching calls:

Goalkeepers: Ethan Horvath (Luton), Sean Johnson (New York City FC), Matt Turner (Arsenal)

Defenders: Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic), Sergino Dest (AC Milan), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Shaq Moore (Nashville), Tim Ream (Fulham), Antonee Robinson (Fulham), Joe Scally (Borussia Monchengladbach), DeAndre Yedlin (Inter Miami), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville)

Midfielders: Brenden Aaronson (Leeds), Kellyn Acosta (LAFC), Tyler Adams (Leeds), Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo), Weston McKennie (Juventus), Yunus Musah (Valencia), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders)

Forwards: Jesus Ferreira (FC Dallas), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Josh Sargent (Norwich), Tim Weah (Lille), Haji Wright (Antalayaspor)

Which United States players are missing the World Cup through injury?

Crystal Palace centre-back Chris Richards announced prior to the 26-player squad confirmation that he won't be able to recover from a leg injury in time for the World Cup.

Richards joins fellow defender Miles Robinson in being confirmed absent, but midfielders Weston McKennie and Luca de la Torre have both made it back in time.

Who are the United States' best players

International Friendly"Japan v United States of America"
Adams will anchor the USMNT's midfield. / ANP/GettyImages

Christian Pulisic

Long hailed as 'Captain America', Christian Pulisic is the USMNT's talisman. The 24-year-old winger has 21 goals and 12 assists in 51 caps for his country and has already lifted silverware in the form of the Concacaf Nations League.

Pulisic is still battling for his place in Chelsea's starting XI at club level but, if anything, that'll only decrease the chances of picking up an injury for a player who has suffered fitness issues.

Tyler Adams

He's still only 23, but Tyler Adams has been around the block in Europe and MLS. The midfielder has been one of Leeds United's best players in the Premier League so far this season and he has a big job to do in the No.6 role for the USMNT. Adams' energy, pressing, and defensive instincts will be vital to Berhalter's style of play, as will his ability on the ball.

Giovanni Reyna

In terms of natural talent, there's no better American right now than Gio Reyna. Yes, like Pulisic, the Borussia Dortmund youngster is prone to injuries, but whether playing on the wings or as a No.10, Reyna can slice through an opposing defence as if it wasn't there. The future is bright for this 19-year-old, who is just getting started.

Weston McKennie

While not as technically gifted as some of his teammates, McKennie's movement and in-game intelligence is key to the USMNT. He'll be expected to both arrive late as a goal threat and help out Adams with defensive duties, while also progressing the ball for good measure.

United States predicted starting line-up

Berhalter has almost exclusively stuck to a 4-3-3 system during his time in charge of the USMNT, relying on dominating possession and pressing quickly when they lose it. The former Columbus Crew head coach will stick to his guns in Qatar.

USMNT predicted XI: Turner; Dest, Zimmerman, Long, Robinson; Adams, McKennie, Musah; Reyna, Ferreira, Pulisic.

United States' form going into the World Cup

The USMNT have played 12 games in 2022 and to say they've been inconsistent would be understating it.

Berhalter's side have won just five of those games and failed to pick up back-to-back victories, while they've drawn four and lost three times.

United States' last five results

USMNT 0-0 Uruguay
USMNT 5-0 Grenada
USMNT 1-1 El Salvador
USMNT 0-2 Japan
USMNT 0-0 Saudi Arabia

Where will the United States finish in the World Cup?

Anticipation is high around the United States having not played a World Cup game for eight years, but there is also an element of realism given the lack of experience in the group.

England are the obvious favourites in Group B, but the USMNT will fancy their chances against Wales and Iran. That said, they will think the same and it really could be a single point or six picked up for USMNT - it all depends on the performance on the day.

will be fancied against both Wales and Iran. There is a universe where they leave with just a single point, but a far more likely one where they take 4-6.

Should they get into the knockouts, the USMNT's most likely opponent will be the Netherlands, but it may not even get to that.

Prediction: Group stage exit

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