Gregg Berhalter, head coach of the US men’s national team (USMNT), has formalized his 26-man squad ahead of USA’s appearance at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. 25 of the 26 players selected will play at a World Cup for the first time, with wing back DeAndre Yedlin the only player to have featured at a World Cup finals back in 2014.
The USA is in a highly competitive Group B at the finals, competing with England, Wales, and Iran for a place in the knockout stages. England is understandably the favorite to win the group with the leading sportsbooks, but it feels wide open for that second qualification spot.
America, Wales, and Iran are all ranked inside the top 20 of the FIFA world rankings, which means anything is possible. USA is the highest ranked of the remaining teams in Group B at 16th, followed by Wales (19th) and Iran (20th). Just hours after the USMNT and Welsh squads were announced, there was nothing to separate the two nations in the futures betting for Group B. They were both priced at +500 to win Group B with DraftKings Sportsbook, which is the number-one recommended operator for first-time bettors at OddsChecker. However, the US was the favorite to qualify from the group at -105 compared with Wales’ qualification odds of +100.
The key talking points in Berhalter’s 2022 FIFA World Cup squad
One of the most notable of Berhalter’s decisions was the inclusion of veteran defender Tim Ream. Long-time fans of the USMNT will remember only too well Jurgen Klinsmann’s decision to leave veteran Landon Donovan out of his 2014 World Cup squad. A decision which they would eventually rue. Ream’s addition to Berhalter’s defensive options ensures an old head in a squad that boasts a largely youthful feel.
Arsenal’s Matt Turner looks set to start in goal, with Berhalter opting against picking Zack Steffen, who joined Middlesbrough on loan from Manchester City this season to try and stake a claim. MLS defenders Aaron Long and Walker Zimmerman will be hoping to get the nod for the opening group game ahead of Cameron Carter-Vickers and Sergiño Dest. Crystal Palace defender Chris Richards is unavailable after sustaining a leg injury in early August.
Berhalter’s go-to midfield trio of Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie, and Yunus Musah are fit and available for selection, along with the likes of Celta Vigo ace Luca de la Torre and LAFC creator Kellyn Acosta.
In the final third, Berhalter has named Chelsea star Christian Pulisic, which is no surprise given that he’s proven his fitness in recent months. However, Pepi’s goalscoring spree with Dutch side Groningen was overlooked in favor of the physical presence, Haji Wright, who plies his trade in Turkey with Antalyaspor and could be a useful bench option. Josh Sargent has also earnt a call-up after a solid start to life in the English Championship with Norwich City.
Upon announcement of his World Cup roster for Qatar, Berhalter insisted his squad was a “talented group” and boasted a “strong team spirit”.