What should the USMNT starting lineup be for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar?
Go on, keep thinking. You’re nearly there. Ah, you’ve come up with the same issues most of us are having: who is going to start at center back and center forward!?
[ MORE: Full schedule for the 2022 World Cup ]
We debate that and much more in the video above as the Pro Soccer Talk crew (yours truly, Nick Mendola and Andy Edwards) come up with the USMNT lineup they would start with at the 2022 World Cup.
Of course, form and injuries come into play here and we are still a little way away from things kicking off in Qatar in November. But are we really? The USMNT are only two friendlies (that’s 180 minutes folks) against Japan and Saudi Arabia away from wrapping up their preparations and Gregg Berhalter still has a few key issues to solve.
Below is a summary of the current situation, while the video above details who we would select to play for the USMNT in their preferred 4-3-3 formation.
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This is a flip of a coin situation between Zack Steffen and Matt Turner in goal. Neither will be regulars for Manchester City and Arsenal respectively this season, so whoever heads out on loan could have the upper-hand. It seems like City could be preparing to loan out Steffen, which is great news for him as Turner has overtaken him to become the USMNT’s No. 1 in recent months. However, Berhalter loves to play out from the back and Steffen is definitely better with the ball at his feet right now.
If Sergino Dest is fit he starts at right back, the same for Antonee Robinson at left back. Walker Zimmerman is a lock to start at center back but who starts alongside him is anybody’s guess and a huge problem area. After Miles Robinson went down with an Achilles injury (he has a very slim chance of returning before Qatar) the likes of Aaron Long, Erik Palmer-Brown and Cameron Carter-Vickers have been tried at center back, while Chris Richards is also a strong contender to start but he’s been struggling with injuries too. Wildcard: is John Brooks actually the best option in the player pool? Berhalter has left him out of recent squads but the free agent will play regularly next season and his quality on the ball out of the ball is his main strength.
The USMNT midfield three picks itself: Yunus Musah, Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams. That is about it. The only thing which could change here is Luca de la Torre coming in to have another deep-lying playmaker in the side, while Brenden Aaronson and Gio Reyna could also slot in as a more attack-minded No. 8 among the trio in midfield.
Okay, this is tough. Christian Pulisic will start on the left and Tim Weah has pretty much locked down the right flank in recent months, but who on earth is going to play up front? Jesus Ferreira has taken his chance recently, while the likes of Jordan Pefok, Haji Wright and Ricardo Pepi have all failed to take chances and Berhalter seems frustrated at his lack of center forward options. Could the USMNT actually play with a false nine? Could one of Pulislic, Weah or Reyna play as a false nine but then interchange? That could well be the USA’s best option to get all of their best attacking players on the pitch at the same time. Not having a consistent striker to call on is a real problem and this has been the USMNT’s main issue since the 2014 World Cup. Maybe Jordan Morris is the main to emerge from the pack to lead the line in Qatar?
Who should start for the USMNT at the 2022 World Cup? originally appeared on NBCSports.com