For head coach Gregg Berhalter’s squad, the six-month sprint to Qatar 2022 begins with a June 1 friendly against fellow participant Morocco, one of Africa’s strongest sides.
The encounter, played at FC Cincinnati’s TQL Stadium, is one of four matches (and two friendlies) the USMNT will play during the upcoming international window. They’ll play another two preparation games overseas during the September window, giving them six tune-ups in total.
Here’s what awaits the Yanks in Ohio after placing third in the Concacaf Octagonal earlier this year.
How to watch and stream
- ESPN2, UniMas, TUDN
- Wednesday, June 1 | 7:30 pm ET
- TQL Stadium | Cincinnati, Ohio
The USMNT are back in a World Cup for the first time since Brazil 2014 after a galling miss on Concacaf’s final day of qualifying for Russia 2018. With those demons exorcised, it’s time for one of the world’s youngest national teams to get ready for the world’s biggest stage.
Berhalter named a 27-man roster for this camp, which was reduced to 26 after an ankle injury forced CF Montréal midfielder Djordje Mihailovic to drop out amid a fantastic MLS campaign. Manchester City goalkeeper Zack Steffen is also out due to family reasons, with NYCFC’s Sean Johnson replacing him.
What’s left is a somewhat first-choice team, one that’s weathering its fair share of injuries. So don’t expect an ideal XI, but standouts like Chelsea forward Christian Pulisic, RB Leipzig midfielder Tyler Adams and Nashville SC center back Walker Zimmerman are rearing to go.
It’s all building toward Group B play at the World Cup in November, where the USMNT will face England, Iran and a to-be-determined European team (Ukraine or Wales).
The Atlas Lions are the first African team the USMNT will face under Berhalter’s leadership, having gone unbeaten in CAF World Cup Qualifying (7W-0L-1D) while scoring 25 goals and surrendering only three. This go-around, the 2018 World Cup participants are drawn into Group F along with Belgium, Croatia and Canada, the latter of which topped Concacaf qualifying.
We’ll see who indeed features, but head coach Vahid Halilhodžić’s squad is ripe with players from top-end European leagues. The likes of Paris Saint-Germain defender Achraf Hakimi, Fiorentina midfielder Sofyan Amrabat and Sevilla forward Youssef En-Nesyri are among the standouts, with Wolves defender Romain Saïss their captain.
The USMNT last faced Morocco during a Send-Off Series match before the 2006 World Cup in Germany. The African nation has won all three previous meetings.