Is the USA soccer team on the rise? With domestic soccer on a break, international soccer has taken center stage for a two-week period. Most of the games played within this period are the start of the qualification process for the Soccer World Cup in 2022. As such, I am going to look at both the current state of the USA Men’s soccer team and their prospects going forward. During the international break, USA beat Jamaica 4-1 and Northern Ireland 2-1.
Great Run Of Form
As mentioned, The USA have won their two games in this international break. This is no surprise though, the team have been on an impressive run of form in recent months. Gregg Berhalter’s side is unbeaten in their last nine games, winning eight and drawing one. Winning eight of nine is a strong record for any team and suggests that this USA side is heading in the right direction. Their good form has been rewarded, the USA team rose to a rank of 22nd in the world at the end of 2020. This was their highest end of year rank since 2013 when they ended the year ranked 14th.
Much of their success is based on the team’s attacking threat. Over the earlier 9 matches, they have scored an amazing 34 goals. This is an average of 3.77 goals a game, a rate any team in world soccer would be proud of. With the Champions league experience of Christian Pulisic and Giovanni Reyna leading the attack it is no shock that American soccer is trending in the right direction.
Record number of Champions League players:
Pulisic and Reyna are two of the leading lights for the USA soccer team. They are not the only ones playing at the top-level of world soccer though. This season has seen a record number of American soccer players play in the Champions League. In total, there have been nine players from the States who have featured in Europe’s top competition. This means that more American players have featured in the Champions League this season than ever before. The nine players are listed below:
Weston McKennie (Juventus)
Giovanni Reyna (Borussia Dortmund)
Christian Pulisic (Chelsea)
Chris Richards (Bayern Munich)
Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge)
Zack Steffen (Manchester City)
Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig)
Konrad de la Fuente (Barcelona)
Sergino Dest (Barcelona)
These players are not just making up the numbers. All bar one of them made it to the Last 16 stage with their club side. Four of them are in the competition at the quarter-final stage with Reyna, Pulisic, Richards and Steffen all playing for sides still in with a chance of European glory. Manchester City and Bayern Munich are the two favourites to win the competition and so it would be no surprise if an American ended up as a Champions League winner this season. This is certainly something which could help boost the USA soccer team even further.
The nine players who have played in the Champions League this season are all aged 25 years or under. This would suggest that none of them have yet reached the peak of their soccer careers. For them to play at the top-level before reaching their peak is extremely promising. It bodes well for the national side and means that this strong core of players should be able to play together for the foreseeable future.
Moving Towards The 2026 World Cup
The biggest benefit for this youthful side is that it should mean the USA team can build perfectly towards the 2026 World Cup. The 2026 Soccer World Cup is set to be hosted by the USA, Mexico and Canada. As co-hosts, the USA team automatically qualifies for the competition. This means that the side can really build towards a tournament where home support will be a massive bonus. With the talent the side has and the encouragement of home support, all things point towards success. The way this side are heading, it could be an exciting next chapter for the USA Men’s Soccer team.