By Doug McIntyre
FOX Sports activities Soccer Author
Editor’s Notice: “Airplane to Qatar” is FOX Sports activities’ new weekly characteristic monitoring the progress of gamers hoping to crack the United States males’s nationwide crew’s 26-player roster for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Now that three of the world’s prime 5 leagues have kicked off — the English Premier League, German Bundesliga and Ligue 1 in France are underway, with Italy’s Serie A and Spain’s La Liga following this weekend — the 2022 World Cup is beginning to really feel imminent.
For the primary time, the most important occasion in sports activities will happen in the midst of the European season. And with extra members of the USA males’s nationwide crew employed at prime golf equipment abroad than ever earlier than, it makes now the proper time to take common inventory of the USMNT participant pool.
Introducing “Airplane to Qatar”
U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter is predicted to call his squad round 10 days earlier than the People’ Nov. 21 World Cup opener in opposition to Wales. That is precisely three months away. Many of the locations are accounted for, after all. However there’s nonetheless room for motion out and in of the beginning lineup, and there is additionally nonetheless time for a shock or two.
So, each week over the following 90 or so days, we’ll look not simply at which gamers are prone to be on the flight to Qatar however the place they’re sitting, and on the gamers nonetheless hoping a late run of from or a stroke of fine fortune is sufficient to snare them a seat.
F/M Brenden Aaronson (Leeds): Whether or not or not you imagine Aaronson scored the game-winning objective for his new membership Saturday in opposition to Wolverhampton, “The Medford Messi” was electrical in his Premier League debut. He is establishing himself as a lock to begin in Qatar — if he wasn’t one already — both on the correct wing he mans for American coach Jesse Marsch at Leeds or centrally, the place he lined up for the USMNT in June.
M Tyler Adams (Leeds): Adams struggled early in opposition to Wolves however improved as the sport went on, beginning the sequence that led to the winner. The 23-year-old defensive midfielder will solely get higher as he adjusts to the Prem.
D Sergiño Dest (Barcelona): After his robust end to the 2021-22 season was interrupted by harm, Dest seems to have fallen out of Barca boss Xavi’s first-choice lineup this preseason. Irrespective of. The ultra-talented Dest is a shoo-in at proper again for the U.S. on the World Cup even when he isn’t getting 90 minutes repeatedly on the Camp Nou.
M Weston McKennie (Juventus): Regardless of a dislocated shoulder that can drive McKennie to overlook the primary few weeks of Juve’s season, the Texan ought to get loads of taking part in time when he returns with fellow central midfielder Paul Pogba nursing a persistent knee harm.
USMNT and Juventus star Weston McKennie out with a shoulder harm
We’re virtually 100 days away from groups taking the sector on the 2022 FIFA World Cup and U.S. star Weston McKennie is sidelined with a shoulder harm.
M Yunus Musah (Valencia): Nonetheless simply 19, Musah is hoping to show an eye-opening preseason right into a breakout marketing campaign in La Liga.
F Christian Pulisic (Chelsea): Pulisic performed the ultimate 25 minutes of the Blues opener and seems set for spot obligation once more this season. The excellent news? That ought to scale back the wear and tear and tear on the USMNT’s most irreplaceable attacker’s physique forward of the World Cup.
F/M Giovanni Reyna (Borussia Dortmund): The 19-year-old did not play for BVB final weekend, and he nonetheless is not absolutely match after hamstring accidents value him virtually all of final season. Nonetheless, Reyna can have a minimum of a job off the bench for the U.S. in Qatar even when he isn’t fairly 100%.
M Paul Arriola (Dallas): An everyday all through qualifying, Arriola is aware of his function, runs tirelessly and is a good presence within the locker room. These issues do matter at World Cups. Oh, and he is additionally having a profession season with FCD.
M Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo): As lengthy playmaker De la Torre will get a minimum of some common taking part in time in La Liga after graduating from the Dutch Eredivisie, he ought to make the lower.
M Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders): Morris been scoring repeatedly for the Sounders, with three strikes in his final eight video games. He additionally presents a defensive tenacity and physicality that’s distinctive within the participant pool.
F Jordan Pefok (Union Berlin): After profitable the Golden Boot in Switzerland final season, Pefok opened his account in Bundesliga on his debut. He’ll play himself onto the squad if he retains scoring.
D Tim Ream (Fulham): He turns 35 in October and hasn’t performed for the USMNT in virtually a yr, however do not depend Ream out. Timing issues, and Ream – who was glorious in opposition to Liverpool regardless of his involvement on the Reds’ late equalizer – is captaining a Premier League crew this season. Like Cannon, the sweet-passing lefty can be snug in several defensive formations.
M Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders): One other glue man, Roldan is in good kind in Seattle, is aware of Berhalter’s system inside out and will not rock the boat if he stays on the bench in Qatar.
D Chris Richards (Crystal Palace): Richards did not play in Palace’s opener following his switch from Bayern Munich, however he is virtually assured to make the U.S. roster even when that does not change quickly.
G Zack Steffen (Middlesbrough): Steffen had a shocker in his second match in England’s second tier, and the frequency of his errors at each the membership and worldwide ranges has turn out to be unimaginable to disregard. That stated, he nonetheless has a few months to place issues proper and discover his recreation.
G Matt Turner (Arsenal): As anticipated, Turner began his first Premier League season as Aaron Ramsdale’s backup. If Steffen continues to wrestle, although, he would possibly discover himself beginning in Qatar regardless.
D DeAndre Yedlin (Miami): The one member of the participant pool with earlier World Cup expertise — that ship has sailed for John Brooks, who nonetheless does not have a membership — Yedlin offers cowl at proper again ought to an harm to Robinson drive Dest to the left.
D Sam Vines (Royal Antwerp): The pure left again has been glorious for Belgium’s prime crew by three video games. If the ultimate fullback spot comes all the way down to Vines or Yedlin, although, guess on the vet.
F Haji Wright (Antalyaspor): The rangy striker drew a penalty and was his crew’s most harmful participant in a 1-0 loss to Turkish energy Galatasaray. However Wright will want targets — a lot of them —to assert a seat.
M Malik Tillman (Rangers): One other 2026 venture, Tillman should gentle up the Scottish league to sneak into the cabin. Fortuitously for him, he began on the correct foot (or head) on Tuesday.
F Gyasi Zardes (Colorado Rapids): Whereas Zardes stopped getting referred to as towards the tip of qualifying, the veteran ahead was simply named MLS participant of the week after netting a hat trick in opposition to Minnesota. Might a sizzling streak get him again within the combine?
One of many main soccer journalists in North America, Doug McIntyre has lined United States males’s and ladies’s nationwide groups at a number of FIFA World Cups. Earlier than becoming a member of FOX Sports activities in 2021, he was a workers author with ESPN and Yahoo Sports activities. Observe him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.
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