What are the USA’s Prospects at the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar?

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The United States men’s national soccer team secured their passage into the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar back in March. After failing to qualify for the last World Cup in Russia four years ago, they’ve shown good resilience to bounce back and secure one of the three automatic qualification spots in the CONCACAF region, alongside table-toppers Canada and Mexico.

At times it was a hard slog for Gregg Berhalter’s men, but the pot of gold at the end of the 2022 World Cup qualifying rainbow is a Group B spot alongside England, Wales, and long-time political rivals Iran. On the face of it, this is quite a kind group for the USA to find itself in. Admittedly, locking horns with England so early in the competition is far from ideal, but both Wales and Iran are below the US in the FIFA world rankings, giving Berhalter’s troops a credible chance of qualifying for the knockout stages.

With three months until the first ball of the 2022 World Cup is kicked in Qatar, the USA is currently priced as pre-game favorites in their Group B opener against Wales. They are available at the best price of +145 with DraftKings Sportsbook, which currently has a sizeable welcome promotion for soccer bettors in eligible US states.

If the US can overcome Gareth Bale and Wales – who is currently plying his trade in the MLS with LA FC – they will become red-hot favorites to reach the knockout stages. What will Berhalter’s squad look like going into soccer’s first-ever winter-staged World Cup? Below, we’ll explore all four elements of the US roster to determine their chances of going deep into the competition.

Issues between the sticks for the US

Arguably the biggest issue for Gregg Berhalter ahead of the 2022 World Cup is selecting his starting goalkeeper. Zack Steffen and Matt Turner will likely do battle for the number-one jersey, yet neither will be getting regular first-team football in the months before boarding that plane for Qatar. This is a shame given that the US has had a proven stable of keepers in tournaments gone by, namely Kasey Keller, Brad Friedel, and Tim Howard. Steffen could just edge out Turner, with the latter unlikely to get the necessary game time at the club level to prove his worth.

Central defenders are by no means cast in stone either

The central defensive pairing of Miles Robinson and Walker Zimmerman would have almost certainly been Berhalter’s preferred selection at this year’s World Cup. However, a ruptured Achilles tendon injury sustained by Robinson all but rules him out of international duty this winter. There will also be a nagging concern that Zimmerman hasn’t been tested outside of the MLS environment. One experienced player that could come in and deputize for Robinson is powerhouse defender Cameron Carter-Vickers. He has played in the English Premier League as well as the EFL Championship and is currently plying his trade in the Scottish Premier League with Celtic.

Midfield strength is key to this US team

The engine room of the midfield is one area of the roster that Berhalter can rely on. Weston McKennie is the heartbeat of this US national team, so many Americans will have their fingers and toes crossed that he has fully recovered from his broken foot sustained earlier this year. The likes of Chelsea dynamo Christian Pulisic and RB Leipzig’s Tyler Adams will also provide the legs and flair, alongside Valencia midfielder Yunus Musah. Berhalter looks likely to run the rule over Bayern Munich goalscoring midfielder Malik Tillman too after pledging his international allegiance to the US.

The lack of a focal point in an attack could be crucial

The US national team indeed has plenty of prowess from the flanks, but there is a glaring lack of an in-form center forward. Ricardo Pepi endured a 24-game streak without hitting the back of the net in the German Bundesliga. Two potential forwards are plying their trade in England, with West Bromwich Albion’s Daryl Dike and Norwich City’s Josh Sargeant both looking for big starts to the EFL Championship in 2022/23 to catch Berhalter’s eye.

Ultimately, qualification out of Group B will be Berhalter’s number-one mission. From there on in, he’ll be hoping for a kind draw and some in-game fortune to run deep in the competition.

Andrew

Andrew is a professional writer with 7+ Years of experience. His style and uniqueness inspire and educate readers throughout the world.

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About the Author: Andrew

Andrew is a professional writer with 7+ Years of experience. His style and uniqueness inspire and educate readers throughout the world.

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