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The USMNT Finally Has Their Very Own Golden Generation

After failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup because of a loss to Trinidad and Tobago, a country with a smaller population than the city of Dallas, the U.S. Men’s National Team (USMNT) looked to be on a downward spiral on the international footballing stage, and the media helped make that loud and clear. However, nearly 4 extremely painful years later, it seems that the USMNT is finally entering their golden generation with all the young talent they have.

In the near future, the veterans on the team will be crucial to success in tournaments, including guys like Wolfsburg center-back John Brooks, who ever since he scored that unforgettable header against Ghana in the 2014 World Cup has been the best American defender by far. Deandre Yedlin will also have an important role to play as a wing-back, given his track record and immense experience in the English Premier League. However, the reason behind my excitement is not the experienced players, it is the immense amount of young talent the team has.

Sergiño Dest, who has become a mainstay in the FC Barcelona lineup as well, is by far the best American fullback at the age of 20. Although his defending can be underwhelming at times, he provides the USMNT with something most elite international teams have, and the US has been lacking, an attack-minded wingback. His skill and technical ability with and without the ball adds another dimension to this American attack. Other young defenders look to be on the rise as well, such as 21-year-old center-back Chris Richards, who should gain invaluable experience playing for FC Bayern Munich, or 22-year-old Mark McKenzie, who had a brilliant outing in the CONCACAF Nations League final against Mexico despite his early mistake which cost a goal.

The midfield is truly where fans should start getting more excited with the emergence of Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams in recent years. McKennie is arguably the most versatile player on the team, playing as a box-to-box center midfielder. After having a solid season at 22 years of age and playing for Italian giant Juventus, his potential is truly sky-high. 22-year-old Adams, who looked like he was in line for a tremendous year at RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga, didn’t exactly have the season he probably imagined, with a more rotational role on the team. However, he’s too talented to be used rotationally on the USMNT and will look to have a big impact.

The pair of 21-year-old strikers in Timothy Weah and Josh Sargent will also be interesting to watch. They both have their faults and can be frustrating to watch at times. However, they often show flashes of why fans should be excited about them. Sargent especially seems to do everything well except finish, almost as if he were an American Álvaro Morata.

As people often do with their dinners, I saved the best for the last with the two men that truly will carry this team on their shoulders for the next decade or so. Their names are Christian Pulisic and Giovanni Reyna. Get familiar with them if you aren’t already because you will be hearing a lot about them in the future. Pulisic, or “Captain America” as he is known by American fans, has reached the pinnacle of football at the young age of 22, helping Chelsea win the UEFA Champions League. Pulisic is the country’s best player right now, and we will need him to step up at the World Cup qualifiers coming up. Reyna is a legit wonder-kid. At 18 years of age, he’s been very impressive for Borussia Dortmund, who have truly lucked out in having Reyna and 17-year-old English player Jude Bellingham. Knowing Dortmund, however, they’ll probably end up selling both of them as soon as they hit their primes. Reyna, in my opinion, will be just as good as Pulisic, if not better, in the next few years. However, regardless of who’s better, they will be an extremely formidable attacking duo to face for any defense in the world.

The reason for excitement should be clear by now. The USMNT has a big group of really talented players, all at the start of their young careers. Although this “golden generation” for the USMNT may not compare to those of other elite international teams, it still is likely the most skilled group our country has ever boasted. It is certainly a great step in the right direction for the program, and I can’t wait to see how the team performs over the next decade or so, starting with hopefully, the World Cup in 2022 at Qatar.

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