USMNT upcoming schedule – Nations League, friendlies, World Cup

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In just under six five four three two months, the USMNT will kick off its campaign at the 2022 World Cup, but first, a pair of friendlies against two of the other 31 sides heading to Qatar.

[ MORE: Japan 2-0 USMNT recap & highlights | Player ratings ] 

We already knew the USMNT will face England and Iran, and we now know that the Yanks will open their World Cup campaign against Wales, who knocked off Ukraine to book their spot in Qatar. But first, Gregg Berhalter and Co., will play a pair of friendlies against World Cup-qualified sides, as well as their first two games of the 2022-23 CONCACAF Nations League, this summer.

[ MORE: Five questions for the USMNT’s September friendlies ]

Two more friendlies during the September international window, the only window during the first half of the (condensed) 2022-23 European club season, will see the Yanks face a pair of World Cup sides — Japan and Saudi Arabia.

Players will be released by their clubs no later than Nov. 14, with the tournament set to kick off one week later, on Nov. 21, and the USMNT closing out the first day of action with their opening game.

As for now, here is the USMNT’s upcoming schedule for the remainder of 2022 and early 2023…


USMNT upcoming schedule

* Friendly
** CONCACAF Nations League
*** 2022 World Cup

vs. Morocco* — June 1 — Win 3-0 | Player ratings | Recap & highlights
vs. Uruguay* — June 5 — Draw 0-0Three things we learned
vs. Grenada** — June 10 — Win 5-0 | Three things we learned 
at El Salvador** — June 14 — Draw 1-1 | Three things we learned
vs Japan* — Sept. 23 (in Dusseldorf, Germany) — Loss 2-0 | Recap & highlights | Player ratings
vs Saudi Arabia* — Sept. 27 (in Murcia, Spain)

vs. Wales*** — Nov. 21, 2 pm ET — Al Rayyan, Qatar
vs. England*** — Nov. 25, 2 pm ET — Al Khor, Qatar
vs. Iran*** — Nov. 29, 2 pm ET — Doha, Qatar

2023

at Grenada** — March 24, TBD — St. George’s, Grenada
vs El Salvador** — March 27, TBD — TBD


USMNT World Cup qualifying scores, recaps, analysis

at El Salvador — Sept. 2Draw 0-0 | Player ratings | Three things we learned
vs. Canada — Sept. 5 — Draw 1-1 | Player ratings | Three things we learned
at Honduras — Sept. 8 — Win 4-1| Player ratings | Three things we learned

vs. Jamaica — Oct. 7 — Win 1-0 | Player ratings | Three things we learned
at Panama — Oct. 10 — Loss 0-1 | Player ratings | Three things we learned
vs. Costa Rica — Oct. 13 — Win 2-1 | Player ratings | Three things we learned

vs. Mexico — Nov. 12 — Win 2-0 | Player ratings | Three things we learned
at Jamaica — Nov. 16 — Draw 1-1 | Player ratings | Three things we learned

vs. El Salvador — Jan. 27 — Win 1-0 | Player ratings | Three things we learned
at Canada — Jan. 30 — Loss 0-2 | Player ratings | Three things we learned
vs. Honduras — Feb. 2 — Win 3-0 | Player ratings | Three things we learned

at Mexico — March 24 — Draw 0-0 | Player ratings | Three things we learned
vs. Panama — March 27 — Win 5-1 | Player ratings | Three things we learned
at Costa Rica — March 30 — Loss 0-2 | Player ratings | Three things we learned


Final CONCACAF World Cup qualifying standings

Canada — 28 points – (QUALIFIED) GD +16 – automatic qualification
Mexico — 28 points (QUALIFIED) GD +9 – automatic qualification
USMNT — 25 points – (QUALIFIED) GD +11 – automatic qualification


Costa Rica — 25 points (PLAYOFF) GD +5


Panama — 21 points (ELIMINATED)
Jamaica — 14 points (ELIMINATED)
El Salvador — 10 points (ELIMINATED)
Honduras — 4 points (ELIMINATED)

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Christian Pulisic to miss USMNT vs Japan due to injury

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Christian Pulisic will miss the USMNT’s clash against Japan due to injury, U.S. Soccer has confirmed.

[ LIVE: Japan vs USMNT – Analysis, watch, video ]

Pulisic, 24, was scheduled to be a key man (as always) for the USMNT in their final two friendlies before the World Cup kicks off in November.

However, a statement was released by U.S. Soccer after Pulisic was left out of the starting lineup for the friendly against Japan in Dusseldorf, Germany.

It has since been revealed that Pulisic suffered a knock in training early this week and has been left out as a precaution.


Statement on Pulisic

“Christian Pulisic is off today’s roster because of a knock he took in training earlier this week. He will be evaluated day-to-day for his availability to play against Saudi Arabia on Sept. 27 in Murcia, Spain,” U.S. Soccer said.

So, Pulisic could miss the game against Saudi Arabia as well.

This is not great news for Gregg Berhalter who will have wanted his best starting lineup together for these final two friendlies.

With Zack Steffen, Yunus Musah, Antonee Robinson, Chris Richards, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Tim Weah and now Pulisic all going down with injuries, this isn’t the best preparation possible.

However, it does provide opportunities for others.

The latest update

Berhalter spoke to ESPN before kick off and Jon Champion and Taylor Twellman revealed that if Pulisic had this knock during the World Cup, he would be patched up to play in the game. So it isn’t that serious.

“He took a knock in training. We spoke with the club and it is precautionary,” Berhalter said. “He is day to day and hopefully he can take part on Tuesday [vs Saudi Arabia].” 

Pulisic and all USMNT fans will be hoping that this small issue won’t impact the Chelsea winger at all ahead of the World Cup which kicks off in less than 60 days.

That said, his issues with injuries continue to concern USMNT fans as he just can’t seem to stay fit for an extended period of time.


USMNT starting lineup options for pre-World Cup friendly vs Japan

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180 minutes of friendlies, against Japan and Saudi Arabia this week, is all the time that Gregg Berhalter will have with USMNT players before the squad reports to 2022 World Cup camp in November.

[ MORE: Five questions for the USMNT | Japan vs USMNT preview ]

Serious questions remain over at least two starting spots for the USMNT, with the 2022 tournament in Qatar now under two months away. Center back and center forward are, worryingly, total unknowns at this point. They were at the start of World Cup qualifying last October, and they remain so today.

Left back will be something of a trouble spot for Berhalter this international window, due to Antonee Robinson picking up an ankle injury while playing for Fulham on Sept. 3, but the 25-year-old isn’t expected to miss much time and remains on track to start against Wales on Nov. 21.

Join our live Q&A over on NBC Sports’ YouTube channel following the Japan vs USMNT game on Friday, Sept. 23, as we will be live from around 10:30am ET to answer your questions!

PST’s Joe Prince-Wright expertly broke down the situation at each position this week (below), and then we’ll look at some of the potential (and likely) options for Berhalter when the Yanks face Japan in Dusseldorf, Germany.

With red-hot Jordan Pefok surprisingly left off this roster despite his incredible start to the season for Bundesliga leaders Union Berlin, the duo of Ricardo Pepi and Josh Sargent have been given one final chance to prove themselves to Berhalter. Gio Reyna is back in the squad, which is a huge boost, and it gives Berhalter so many options in the attacking midfield areas. How will he squeeze Brenden Aaronson, Christian Pulisic and Reyna into the same starting lineup? Can he?

At center back things have been complicated by injuries to Cameron Carter-Vickers and Chris Richards, who were set to battle it out to see who starts alongside Walker Zimmerman at the World Cup. The likes of Aaron Long, Mark McKenzie and Erik Palmer-Brown will see this as a huge opportunity to make the roster as it seems unlikely Miles Robinson will make the squad following his Achilles injury. Yunus Musah being out with an injury is a blow as he was certain to start alongside Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie in midfield. In goal, Zack Steffen is out after being out injured and only just returning so Ethan Horvath and Sean Johnson will battle it out for that third and final goalkeeping spot with Matt Turner now looking like the starter.

FULL SCHEDULE FOR 2022 WORLD CUP

Best possible/highest upside USMNT lineup

Turner

Dest — Zimmerman — McKenzie — Scally

Adams — De la Torre

McKennie

Aaronson — Ferreira — Pulisic

In-form USMNT lineup

Horvath

Yedlin — Zimmerman — Palmer-Brown — Scally

Adams — Acosta

McKennie

Aaronson — Sargent — Pulisic

Likeliest USMNT lineup

Turner

Yedlin — Zimmerman — Long — Dest

Adams — Acosta

McKennie

Aaronson — Ferreira — Pulisic

Report: Graham Potter prioritizing Harry Kane at Chelsea, offering Lukaku

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A sensational report out of Italy claims that new Chelsea boss Graham Potter’s priority in the transfer market would be to buy Harry Kane from Tottenham Hotspur.

Perhaps even more sensational, but also logical given that Antonio Conte is Tottenham’s boss, is the claim within the report that Serie A star Romelu Lukaku, on loan to Inter Milan from Chelsea, would be part of the makeweight.

[ MORE: Five questions for the USMNT ]

Wait, what?

The hang-up, according to Calcio Mercato, is that Inter reportedly has an option to extend Lukaku’s loan by a year.

Let’s dig into the juiciness as this international break waits to give us more, you know, actual football.

Harry Kane to Chelsea: Why it won’t, but could, happen

Let’s start here: Harry Kane is going to cost someone a boatload of money in the market, and you’d be crazy to think Tottenham wouldn’t add a massive inconvenience fee if the destination had to be hated London rivals Chelsea.

Even though Todd Boehly’s been willing to splash all kinds of cash to show that the Blues aren’t going to become an afterthought now that Roman Abramovich is gone, the cost would have to be eclipse what Chelsea played Manchester City for Raheem Sterling. Yes, Sterling is younger than Kane but the latter is England’s captain.

That said, the injured Lukaku is just over a year removed from having a monstrous year under Conte as Inter broke Juventus’ long hold on scudetti.

Lukaku, who turned 29 in May, posted 34- and 28-goal seasons for Inter before going to Chelsea for a ho-hum 13 last season. He has a goal and an assist in three appearances since going on loan to Inter.

Kane is two months younger than Lukaku and a more proven Premier League commodity, a player threatening to chase down Alan Shearer and Wayne Rooney in order to score the most goals in league history.

He’s scored 20+ Premier League goals in five different seasons and has bagged six goals in seven games this season. He scored 27 with 10 assists across all competitions last season.

Conte is the wild card here. He holds immense power at Tottenham and could get the move closer to the line if he (and director Fabio Paratici) desperately wanted Lukaku as the piece to push Tottenham to the brink of title glory.

All that said, to see Lukaku hit a third piece of the Big Six, like Sterling before him, would be a truly captivating story line.

World Cup 2022 Group B: England, USA, Iran, Wales schedule, fixtures, rankings

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With England, the USMNT, Wales and Iran placed together in Group B, this is an absolutely blockbuster group brimming with narratives.

Can the Three Lions take care of business with minimum fuss? Or will the USMNT, Wales and Iran cause upsets as their solid units all have talented attackers who can win a game in just one moment?

[ MORE: Full schedule for 2022 World Cup ]

From Harry Kane leading England to Gareth Bale leading Wales’ charge to Christian Pulisic primed to push the USMNT towards the knockout rounds and Iran’s hopes pinned on prolific forward duo Azmoun and Taremi, this is going to be a tough group to call.

Many believe England are the favorites but Wales, the USMNT and Iran are very evenly matched and their world rankings (an average ranking of 15 if you combine all four teams) show just how tough this group will be.

[ MORE: Ranking every World Cup team, 32-1 ]

Below is everything you need to know on World Cup 2022 Group B.


Group B schedule (all kick off times ET)

November, 21: England vs Iran – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan – 8am
November, 21: USA vs Wales- Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan – 2pm
November, 25: England vs USA – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm
November, 25: Wales vs Iran – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan – 5am
November, 29: Wales vs England – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan – 2pm
November, 29: Iran vs USA – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm

When: November 21-29 2022
Group stage game kick off times: 5am, 8am, 2pm
Location: Qatar
TV channel in English: Fox
TV channel in Spanish: Telemundo, Universo, Peacock


England

Current FIFA world ranking: 5
World Cup titles: 1 (1966)
World Cup appearances: 15
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA
Coach: Gareth Southgate
Key players: Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Jordan Pickford

USA

Current FIFA world ranking: 14
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 9
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CONCACAF (3rd place)
Coach: Gregg Berhalter
Key players: Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams

Wales

Current FIFA world ranking: 19
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 1
How they qualified: Qualified from UEFA via playoffs, Path B
Coach: Rob Page
Key players: Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey, Ben Davies

Iran

Current FIFA world ranking: 23
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 5
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from AFC (Won Group A)
Coach: Dragan Skocic
Key players: Ehsan Hajsafi, Sardar Azmoun, Mehdi Taremi