The World Cup is quickly approaching, and despite concerns about how the U.S. team will fare, it will still enter the competition with high hopes after reaching the round of 16 in both the 2010 and 2014 tournaments before their unfortunate absence from Russia in 2018. However, despite occasional difficulties, this U.S. team enters the World Cup with a respectable record in the competition, defeating Mexico to win both the Nations League and Gold Cup. Although the warm-up games against Japan and Saudi Arabia in September weren’t pretty, seven players who were in the team against Saudi Arabia on September 27 won’t be in the squad when the season begins against Wales on November 21.
Although the United States is up against Iran, England, and Wales in Group B, it is still a manageable assignment if the defense can come together. With Zack Steffen leaving the team and Tim Ream coming for the first time since 2021, there will probably be new faces in the starting lineup, but will they be sufficient to help the team advance past the group stage? Let’s examine each game and discover the results using my predictions:
Schedule for the USMNT World Cup
Monday, November 21 at 2 p.m. vs. Wales ET
Friday, November 25: versus. England, 2 p.m. E.T.
Tuesday, November 29: Iran at 2 p.m. E.T.
Now let’s predict:
Prediction: Wales 1, United States 1
Given the short turnarounds, it is reasonable to anticipate that the United States will play slowly in their opening encounter. Although they’d prefer to defeat Wales, an excellent defensive effort is more crucial since keeping the game close in the first half can give the squad a foundation to build. The team will need to be cautious around Gareth Bale, but they can only concentrate some of their attention on the LAFC player because Keiffer Moore and Neco Williams can cause problems.
This game will serve as a good litmus test for the USMNT defense and set the tone for the competition because if they struggle to contain Wales, the other teams in their group will be even more challenging to handle.
Star Player: Sargent. Sargent will be well-positioned to start the second group stage encounter against the Netherlands when Wales’ strong defense intercepts Jesus Ferreira after scoring a goal off the bench to celebrate his return to the team.
Biggest Flop: Ferreira. At some time, the starting nine must score goals, even though he will occasionally generate opportunities that the wingers fail to convert. If Ferreira doesn’t achieve that, he’ll probably be benched for the rest of the USMNT’s World Cup campaign.
Prediction: England 2, USA 0.
The USMNT struggles to stay up during their most formidable challenge during the group stage. In a game when Matt Turner in goal saved the Three Lions from putting up a somewhat lopsided score, Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden stand out for the Three Lions. The U.S. must maintain the tension in this situation to prevent a humiliating defeat. Although losing to England won’t hurt them much, losing 5-0 England could make them more vulnerable going into their crucial match against Iran on the final day of a group stage play.
Star Player: Turner. Goalkeepers are at their best in situations where they must stand on their heads to try and keep the score tight when they are outmatched. Turner is a great shot-blocker, and the United States keeps the game tight by putting his reflexes on the whole show.
Biggest Floop: Sergio Dest. As England’s wingers consistently outperform Dest on the sides, rumors about his defensive shortcomings will spread. It’s not until Joe Scally replaces him that things start to calm down for the USMNT, and finishing the contest raises selection concerns ahead of a decisive meeting with Iran.
Prediction: Iran 1, USA 2.
The U.S. can perform at its peak in a game where losing means leaving. Mehdi Taremi scores early as he splits the defense to equalize Christian Pulisic’s opening goal of the group stage before the half. However, the USMNT will come alive in the second half when Sargent scores the game’s winning goal, completing the circle of his reintroduction to the team. Iran will have opportunities during the game, but a controlled midfield performance will ensure that those opportunities are manageable for the defense.
Star Player: Tyler Adams. Adams puts in an excellent shift at the head of the midfield, protecting the defense, but his shot in the second half also allowed Sargent to win it and round up a great performance.
Biggest Flop: Tim Weah. With Weah, Brenden Aaronson, and Gio Reyna vying for the right-wing slot, Berhalter has difficulty keeping his right-wingers in check. However, Weah’s wasteful performance causes him to lose his spot.
Prediction for the round of 16: Netherlands 3, United States 1
USMNT is currently playing with house money in round 16, but their disadvantage compared to the best teams in the world is again evident. As the game spirals out of control, the United States cannot steal the ball from the Oranje. Despite another goal from Pulisic, the USMNT will leave the World Cup with a bitter taste despite its success. Given the team’s youth, this is a learning lesson for them before 2026, when Miles Robinson will hopefully be back to his best and ready to start a tournament without defensive concerns.
Star Player: Pulisic. The World Cup has proven that Pulisic deserves to play frequently. The Blues will receive some requests for his services in January. However, it’s still being determined whether it will be at Chelsea or elsewhere.
Biggest Flop: Ream. Ream has a reassuring presence during the group stage, but the loss of Robinson in the encounter against the Netherlands puts him in over his head.