USMNT readying for a big test at 2024 Copa America

CINCINNATI, OH – NOVEMBER 12: United States midfielder Weston McKennie (8) talks to forward Christian Pulisic (10) during a CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying game between the United States and Mexico on November 12, 2021 at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati, OH. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)

The United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) is hosting one of the biggest international soccer tournaments, the Copa America! In this edition of the tournament, the 10 South American nations and six Concacaf nations will duke it out to see who can be champions of the Americas! Can the USA do well in this tournament that is normally dominated by the Argentina’s and Brazil’s of the world?

Qatar 2022 World Cup. USA team group, during the Qatar 2022 World Cup match, group B, date 1, between USA and Wales played at Al Rayyan Stadium on Nov 21, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Pressinphoto/Imago/Icon Sportswire) ****NO AGENTS—NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA SALES ONLY****

USMNT Copa America 2024 Preview

The USMNT is in a state of flux. They have won three straight Concacaf Nations League titles, yet have struggled on the world stage. Head coach Gregg Berhalter is back at the helm, and the nation itself has already qualified for the 2026 World Cup as they are hosts alongside Mexico and Canada. With that, there are very few competitive matches for the USMNT to play in.

The 2024 Copa America is a huge opportunity for the USMNT to play against strong competition in a historic tournament. If this team is going to do well in two years’ time, then they will need to show they can match up well in other tournaments. This USA team is battle-tested, but still young. They are not a perfect team, but the rising generation of players has the talent to be special. Can this team make it through their group, and make a splash in the knockout rounds?

United States midfielder Tyler Adams (4) celebrates his goal with forward Christian Pulisic during the first half of a CONCACAF Nations League Final against Mexico, Sunday, March 24, 2024 in Arlington Texas (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

USMNT Roster

Goalkeepers (3): 18-Ethan Horvath (Cardiff City), 25-Sean Johnson (Toronto FC), 1-Matt Turner (Nottingham Forest)

Defenders (9): 2-Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic), 23-Kristoffer Lund (Palermo), 24-Mark McKenzie (Genk), 16-Shaq Moore (Nashville SC), 13-Tim Ream (Fulham), 3-Chris Richards (Crystal Palace), 5-Antonee Robinson (Fulham), 12-Miles Robinson (FC Cincinnati), 22-Joe Scally (Borussia Mönchengladbach)

Midfielders (7): 4-Tyler Adams (Bournemouth), 15-Johnny Cardoso (Real Betis), 14-Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo), 8-Weston McKennie (Juventus), 6-Yunus Musah (AC Milan), 7-Gio Reyna (Nottingham Forest), 17-Malik Tillman (PSV Eindhoven)

Forwards (7): 11-Brenden Aaronson (Union Berlin), 20-Folarin Balogun (Monaco), 9-Ricardo Pepi (PSV Eindhoven), 10-Christian Pulisic (AC Milan), 26-Josh Sargent (Norwich City), 21-Tim Weah (Juventus), 19-Haji Wright (Coventry City)

ORLANDO, FL – MARCH 27: during the World Cup Qualifier soccer match between the US MNT and Panama on March 27, 2022 at Explorer Stadium in Orlando, FL. (Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire)

A manageable Group C

The USMNT is in group C at this Copa America. They will face two Conmebol nations, and one concacaf one. Bolivia, Panama, and Uruguay round out the group for the USA. This is a manageable group for the USMNT, as they have the talent to finish in the top two spots and make the knockout rounds. Here’s a look at the group and nations the USA will face at the 2024 Copa America.

  1. Bolivia
  2. Panama
  3. USA
  4. Uruguay

The USA take on Bolivia in their first match of the 2024 Copa America this coming Sunday to kick off their tournament. Bolivia is ranked 85th in the FIFA World rankings and is a nation the USA should be able to beat. Their second match comes against familiar opposition in Panama. In the last 18 matchups between these two nations, the USMNT has won 11, drawn five, and lost twice vs Panama. The final match of the group stage is against Conmebol giants, Uruguay. This will be the toughest matchup in Group C and could determine who finishes first or second.

United States Players Celebrate on the podium after a win over Mexico in the Concacaf Nations League final soccer match, March 24, 2024 in Arlington Texas (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

A tough route to the Trophy

Whichever two nations do make it out of the Group, will likely face stiff competition in the quarterfinals. The two nations that come out of Group C will take on the top two teams from Group D. Looking ahead, that will likely be one of Brazil or Colombia. The USMNT did just play both of those nations in pre-Copa America friendlies. They got blown out by Colombia 5-1 and drew Brazil 1-1. Can this USMNT side do better if they face this opposition again in this tournament?

Should the USA get past the quarterfinal stage, they could face Uruguay and one of Brazil or Colombia yet again. If the unthinkable happens and the USMNT makes a run to the Copa America final, awaiting them will likely be Argentina who are the run-away favorites in this tournament.

This USMNT isn’t expected to win this tournament, even though it’s on home soil. Their expectation is set at making it to the quarterfinals. That would mean that falling short of the knockout rounds would be a failure, and making the semifinals would be an astounding success! We will have to see how this team responds to the expectations in the only true test before the 2026 World Cup.

USMNT, Paris 2024
ORLANDO, FL – MARCH 21: A detailed view of the United States Soccer Federation crest logo is seen in the player and team tunnel in game action during an International friendly match between the United States and the Ecuador men’s national teams on March 21, 2019 at Orlando City Stadium in Orlando, FL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)

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Featured Image Credit: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire