Posted on: November 13, 2022 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

Photo by Julio Cortez, AP

Four years ago, after countless demoralizing performances in the qualification round, the United States men’s soccer team lost 2-1 to Trinidad and Tobago.

Thankfully, the U.S. is back in the mix for soccer’s most prestigious prize: the 2022 World Cup. The only problem is that the team is inexperienced. In 2014, the United States played their hearts out until the round of 16 (lost to Belgium 2-1). This time around in Qatar, it will not be so easy. The United States were officially named the youngest team in the tournament, which is good for the future, not so much for the present.

Mohammed Jbara

Freelance Contributor

However, all hope is not lost. The 26-man team who will lead the red, white and blue was announced on Wednesday by head coach Gregg Berhalter. The highlights of the team are Chelsea forward Christin Pulisic and Juventus midfielder Weston McKinnie. Pulisic is the designated captain.

The young group received some silverware in the four-year span between 2018 and 2022.

The United States are part of the Confederation of North, Central American, and Caribbean Association Football. CONCACAF have two official tournaments, the Gold Cup and CONCACAF Nations League, that occur in between World Cups and right before World Cup qualification matches. The United States are the current champions of both and won both cups in 2021.

Photo by @USMNT on Twitter
The U.S. team’s roster was posted on the team’s official Twitter Wednesday afternoon.

The difference between this team and the one in 2014 is that the 2014 squad were all in the prime of their career or had previous experiences in multiple World Cups. This current team doesn’t have that luxury. I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing all-in-all; it could be a blessing in disguise. Because of the fresh meat, teams will not know what to expect.

The United States will partake in Group B this World Cup, facing England, Wales, and Iran. Group B is an intermediate group: not the toughest, but certainly no piece of cake.

England are currently in what they’re calling “The Golden Age of English Football.” There’s an argument that this team (amid injuries) is the deepest in the national team’s history. If one of their starters goes down, they have another star-caliber player waiting in the wings. England were semifinalists in the previous World Cup, as well as runners up in the 2020 European Championships. This is no easy contender for the U.S.

Then there’s Wales who are an aging squad, but still have great players.

This year’s Iran team may have a Cinderella run in this tournament. Right now they are being held under the radar, but they could have a good run through the brackets. The team is led by forward Mehdi Taremi, who is having himself a season for his club team, FC Porto.

I see the United States qualifying for knockout rounds by placing 2nd in their group behind England. The World Cup is set up where the winners of a group face the runners-up of another. The runners-up of Group B are set to face the winners of Group A: Netherlands, Qatar, Senegal, and Ecuador.

Of the many predictions being cast this World Cup, there’s unanimous agreement that the Netherlands will top Group A. This is where the United States will be sent home. Just like in 2014, the United States will be knocked out in the Round of 16, this time by the Netherlands.

The fact the United States have the youngest team in the tournament will allow them to work on the one major weakness this team has: inexperience on a big stage. This World Cup is set to be the most bewildering tournament in soccer history. If the United States move past the Round of 16, it will add to the perplexity of this tournament. However in 2026, the United States, along with Canada and Mexico, will host the World Cup. And that time, the United States team will make their mark.

Just not in 2022.