The FIFA 2022 World Cup is only five months away for the USMNT, on November 21st the U.S.A will take on Wales, then on Black Friday it’s a major showdown with England (November 25th), and a 1998 World Cup rematch with Iran to close out group play on November 29th.
For Gregg Berhalter, it will be the culmination of a three-year reign which has seen him take the USMNT to the Concacaf Nations League and Gold Cup titles as well as owning Mexico for much of his time in charge. Star players like Christian Pulisic, Tim Weah, Tyler Adams, and Weston McKennie have become the team’s backbone while dual nationals like Sergino Dest and Yunus Musah have integrated well in the squad.
If all the pieces come together and everyone is healthy here is our mock 26-man roster that Gregg Berhalter will be taking to Qatar 2022.
USMNT 26-man World Cup roster 5-months out
Goalkeepers (3): Matt Turner, Zack Steffen, Sean Johnson
At this point the number one going into the World Cup should be Matt Turner, Turner has shown well during qualifying and seems the steadier of the three under pressure. Johnson had a very good outing against Uruguay and his experience could come in handy if ever called upon.
Defenders (8): Walker Zimmerman, Antonee Robinson, Sergino Dest, Chris Richards, Cameron Carter-Vickers, DeAndre Yedlin, Reggie Cannon, Erik Palmer-Brown
Aaron Long might seem like the odd man out because with Chris Richards back to full health and playing either in the Bundesliga, LaLiga, or Premier League he would be a lock to start alongside Zimmerman come the World Cup. Cameron Carter-Vickers has a big upside if he continues to improve overseas, while lateral play could be tough for the USMNT. Dest will be the starting full back be it on the right or left, while DeAndre Yedlin who did not show well the last batch of games, looks like the player who will play meaningful minutes at the club level prior to the World Cup.
John Brooks looks too far down the pecking order to make a last leap onto the team unless he signs for a good club and is clearly a top defender on his team by then. George Bello and Shaq Moore look like players ready to step in, in case of injuries, but don’t quite seem as first options on a full roster.
Midfielders (9): Tyler Adams, Yunus Musah, Weston McKennie, Brendan Aaronson, Luca de la Torre, Kellyn Acosta, Cristian Roldan, Gianluca Busio, James Sands
This should really be a no brainer if all these players are healthy, they seem to be the coach’s best choices. Unless Malik Tillman is doing amazing things at Bayern Munich, he looks more like a 2026 player, but could easily replace Sands or Roldan on the squad if he is playing well. Djordje Mihailovic just got injured at the wrong time and may have blown his major chance at the World Cup. Paxton Pomykal is another player that could be in the squad in case an injury happens but at this point should not be considered first choice.
Forwards (6): Christian Pulisic, Timothy Weah, Giovanni Reyna, Paul Arriola, Jesus Ferreira, Ricardo Pepi
The main question here is why Ferreira and Pepi over others? Well because if Berhalter can sell himself and the team on the idea that the goals will come from other players having Pepi and Ferreira out there opening up spaces for the likes of Pulisic, Weah, or Aaronson could be more beneficial than the illusion of a number 9 that will score.
Ferreira had some decent looks against Uruguay but has another window to get on the squad with no questions, Pepi, well he had a disastrous start to his career in Europe but with his competitors faring no better in Berhalter’s style Pepi could open up play for the rest of the team. If Weah gets a good scoring touch this season don’t count out the chance that Berhalter could shock us all and play Weah at striker with Reyna manning Weah’s position.