The history of the United States and the FIFA World Cup is that of a romance with a passionate beginning whose flame gradually flickered out. In Qatar 2022, the American team seeks to rekindle it with perhaps one of the best rosters in its history.
The names of Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Gio Reyna, Zack Steffen, Tim Weah, Ricardo Pepi and company are in charge of not only recalling but surpassing the legacy of historic names such as Landon Donovan, Eric Wynalda, Marcelo Balboa and Kasey Keller, among others.
The history of the Stars and Stripes has been sustained by the contribution of key men whose goals have made an entire nation dream, a nation that has shown that soccer does have a place in its heart filled with very popular sports. These are the best scorers for the United States in the history of the FIFA World Cups.
USMNT performance at World Cups ahead of Qatar 2022
Of the 21 World Cups played over a 92-year history, the United States has played less than half, just 10 editions. They reached their zenith very early, when they only reached third place in the first edition, in Uruguay 1930, where they showed their class with victories over Paraguay and Belgium.
Then, after eliminating Mexico in the qualifying rounds, he played in the 1934 World Cup, where Italy, the host and eventual champion of the edition, eliminated him in the first round. Having missed the 1938 edition, it played the first post-war World Cup in 1950, where it finished in 10th place.
From that moment on, an era of darkness took hold of the USMNT. Forty long years had to pass before the American team could compete in a FIFA World Cup again, and that happened in Italy 1990, where they finished second to last after losing their three group stage matches.
Thus came the 1994 edition, which was organized on American soil, where there was a clear improvement, but not enough to reach again the heights reached at the FIFA World Cup Uruguay 1930. In fact, of the 7 consecutive editions played by the United States, only in Korea-Japan 2002 was it able to finish in the top 10 (including an exquisite elimination of Mexico in the Round of 16).
Russia 2018 brought the ghosts of the second half of the 20th century out of the memory chest. The USMNT was out of the World Cup again. Thus, with renewed hopes, Qatar 2022 looms on the horizon for the Stars and Stripes, who will be looking to make a splash with a generation of young and talented players who are competing week in and week out in the best leagues in the world.
Top scorers of the USMNT at the FIFA World Cup
Whether in Qatar 2022 or in any of the other editions of this tournament, goals are needed to crown a good collective performance. And that is where men like the ones mentioned below appear, capable of hurting opponents at the highest level.
Landon Donovan - 5 goals
By many, considered to be the greatest soccer player in the history of the United States. Captain America was always ready to save his team, and his country, against any opponent, and the FIFA World Cup was no exception. He is also the American player with the most World Cup appearances. His goals were distributed as follows: 2 in Korea-Japan 2002, none in Germany 2006 and 3 in South Africa 2010.
Clint Demspey - 4 goals
Versatile player who was able to play both as a midfielder and as a striker. He had a great associative capacity but above all he was a goal scorer. In the FIFA World Cups he played 10 games and scored 4 goals to set the record of being the American who has scored in more editions of this tournament, with 3.
Bert Patenaude - 4 goals
The idol from Massachusetts is a historic figure in American soccer. Bertrand Artur Patenaude was the first player in the history of the FIFA World Cup to score a hat-trick. He achieved this feat in the USMNT's second match of the 1930 edition, a 3-0 win over Paraguay. With his four goals in Uruguay, he holds the record for the American with the most goals in a single World Cup.
Brian McBride - 3 goals
A powerful striker, with great height and aerial play, he was a guarantee of goals. He is currently sixth on the list of top scorers in USMNT history. He played in 10 FIFA World Cup matches in 1998, 2002 and 2006, but could only score in France and Korea-Japan.
18 other players with 1 goal
This list includes renowned players such as Eric Wynalda, who held the title of top scorer in the history of the USMNT for 13 years (a position that Landon Donovan took from him in 2013), former Roma player Michael Bradley, Earnie Stewart, and the former USMNT player Michael Bradley.