Andrew Carleton

Eight years on: Who starts for the USMNT at 2026 World Cup?

5 Comments

Imagine the year is 2026. The U.S. Men’s National Team is in the World Cup final. This is all hypothetical of course. But, who starts?

[ MORE: How 2026 World Cup was won by the United Bid ]

Wednesday’s vote to hand the United bid (Canada, Mexico and the United States) the World Cup has those in North America jubilant.

It may not take the sting out of the USMNT’s failure to reach Russia this summer, but it does give those that support the Stars and Stripes hope for the future.

Pro Soccer Talk takes a quick look at who could potentially start for the U.S. in 2026, with a number of bright, young stars aligning for the Yanks.


SQUAD BREAKDOWN

Zack Steffen has quickly become one of the top goalkeepers in Major League Soccer at the age of 23, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t have moved on to a top-tier European side by 2026. He could face some competition from other youngsters like Ethan Horvath or Jonathan Klinsmann, but things are shaping up for him to be the starter in net for many years to come.

Defensively, this is going to be a very strong unit, not to mention athletic. Matt Miazga and Erik Palmer-Brown could form a partnership for the next decade in the center of defense between the former’s size and the latter’s pace. Out wide, a pair of players playing in England and Spain, respectively, with Antonee Robinson and Shaq Moore will give the Americans two quality two-way players that can both defend and help in the attack.

It’s weird to think about life after Michael Bradley, but the U.S. has two studs in the midfield that will quickly change the perception of the nation. Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie will hold down the fort in front of the back four, with Adams being the wildcard because he simply doesn’t stop running. Ever.

Christian Pulisic will have already gone to Real Madrid and Barcelona and become a Champions League winner by this point. (Yes, maybe a bit too lofty on the expectations, but this is my dream.) Anyway, he’s a given. Andrew Carleton hasn’t gotten consistent time with Atlanta just yet due to the club’s massive amounts of attacking talent, but he’ll likely be in Europe as well by 2026. Then, PSG star Tim Weah will have the long-departed Neymar’s role of breaking down back lines and scoring 30 goals a year in Ligue 1.

Last, but not least, Josh Sargent will become the new Clint Dempsey/Jozy Altidore/Brian McBride hybrid that the U.S. has desperately needed up top. He’s fast. He’s strong. Dare we say, he’s used Werder Bremen as a stepping stone to Bayern Munich? Why not? He has star potential written all over him.

USMNT Projected XI 2026/Matt Reed

U.S. players to watch at the U-17 World Cup

Leave a comment

The 2017 U-17 World Cup provides American soccer fans even more intrigue than your average tournament due to the breadth of top attacking prospects on show.

[ WATCH LIVE: U-17 World Cup on Telemundo Deportes ]

Each age group has a top scorer or playmaker, but this season is exceptional. Sure we saw Christian Pulisic in 2015 and Paul Arriola in 2011, but the 2017 U.S. roster is heavy on players who should dot professional score sheets for a long, long time (and at a high level).

The U.S. open plays Friday at 10:25 a.m. ET vs. India. Full stream schedule here.

Timothy Weah, forward, Paris Saint-Germain

In UEFA Youth League play, Weah has four goals in six appearances. A hat trick came against Ludogorets Razgrad. Dad George won Serie A with AC Milan, Ligue 1 won with PSG, and was thrice the African Footballer of the Year so, yeah, pedigree.

Chris Durkin, midfielder, DC United

Playing time has come on-and-off for the Richmond Kickers of the USL, but the center mid has 990 league minutes this season and showed versatility by starting the league opener at left back.

Ayo Akinola, forward, Toronto FC

The Canadian-born 17-year-old got a string of performances for TFC2 in the USL, bagging a brace against Harrisburg City in mid-July.

Carlos “CJ” dos Santos, goalkeeper, Benfica

The former Philadelphia Union Academy backstop is with Benfica’s U-19s and just turned 17 in August.

Jaylin Lindsey, defender, Sporting KC

There are those who believe the physical center back is further along at this stage in his career than fellow SKC prospect Erik Palmer-Brown. He’s made two appearances for Swope Park Rangers in USL.

Andrew Carleton, forward, Atlanta United

The left winger is widely considered to be a star in MLS soon, and posted an assist for Atlanta in its Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup loss to Miami FC.

 

Josh Sargent, forward, Werder Bremen

The lone member of the U.S. roster to have already featured — and starred, with four goals — in a U-20 World Cup, Sargent heads to Bundesliga side Werder Bremen soon after the tournament. See above for his match-winner against Senegal.

VIDEO: U.S. U-17s win again, on verge of World Cup qualification

1 Comment

Provided the United States U-17 national team doesn’t lay a colossal egg in its group stage finale, the Yanks are going to the U-17 World Cup in India.

And they are doing it in quite stylish fashion.

The Americans buried Honduras 3-0 on Wednesday, getting a pair of goals from Josh Sargent (Scott Gallagher-Missouri) and a third from Ayo Akinola (Toronto FC II).

As long as the Yanks win, draw or lose by less than five against Cuba — who already lost 7-1 to Honduras — they are off to India.

[ MORE: Manchester United – Celta Vigo preview ]

You’ll also want to note that another player jumps off the highlight reel even without scoring. Atlanta United’s Andrew Carleton continues to prove why he’s one of the most exciting prospects in recent history. That dribbling at the 36-second mark!

Sargent also scored earlier in the tournament to beat Mexico for the Yanks first U-17 win over El Tri… ever.