Happy New Year everyone, and welcome to 2021. We enter this year with the hope that we can leave the tumultuous year in the past and have a strong year to get our world back to some sense of a new normalcy. For the United States Men’s National Team, it means a chance to do some wonderful things. It could be the busiest year on the field they’ve ever had, and that means plenty of chances for the team to lift some trophies and, hopefully, begin their quest to qualify for the 2022 World Cup.
So, what predictions are in store for the USMNT for this year? We identify some in the hopes that on December 31st, we can look back and see how right we were.
Weston McKennie, Christian Pulisic, and Tyler Adams appear on the field together for the start of World Cup qualifying.
For two years, USMNT fans have been waiting patiently yet fervently for the core of Weston McKennie, Christian Pulisic, and Tyler Adams to all appear on the field together for a match. It’s the core that we expect to carry us throughout this decade, and it’s one we can’t wait to see. Unfortunately, this long anticipated lineup has eluded us so far, as injuries have kept one or more of the trio out of each lineup the past 3 years. Well, it may take a little while in 2021 for us to see it, but fear not, USMNT fans. This trio will step out onto the field for the start of World Cup qualifying in September together, part of a starting XI that is fully healthy and ready to begin the road to Qatar. And, America will rejoice that our core is fully combined to be the force we expect it to be.
The U-23s qualify for the Olympics.
The U-23s will not lament on the year lost due to the coronavirus. They’ve become a year older, wiser, and more experienced. That experience is going to guide them throughout the Olympic qualifying tournament in March, and the U-23s will represent the United States in Tokyo for this summer’s Olympics. It will be the first time we have a men’s team to watch in the Olympics since 2008.
The USMNT will have one match postponed due to COVID-19, but World Cup qualifying will start on time.
January through March will get off to a rocky start, as at least one match will be postponed due to an influx of Covid cases. However, despite the rocky start to the calendar, World Cup qualifying will start in September as currently scheduled. The first and second rounds, which will yield the final 3 teams in the Octagon, will go off with relatively few hitches, and the USMNT will know in late June who they will face in the first match of World Cup qualifying.
Despite a loss, the USMNT are in 1st place in World Cup qualifying at the end of the year.
There will be 8 World Cup qualifiers in 2020 for the USMNT, with the final 6 coming in early 2022. That means a total of 42 points are available for the taking throughout the Octagon. The USMNT will lose a match in the fall, but it’s not of any concern. No team goes through qualifying unbeaten. Despite that loss, the USMNT come out to a fast start in qualifying, and they end 2021 on top of the Octagon table and in prime position to clinch a spot in the World Cup during the January 2022 window.
The USMNT will win the Nations League but lose the Gold Cup.
The USMNT will mount its A+ team to go after the Nations League trophy in June, as the compressed and crowded calendar makes for a lot of decisions by head coach Gregg Berhalter on which players to call in for each window. In an effort to save some of the stars for the grueling World Cup qualifying campaign in the fall, he brings them in for the Nations League playoffs in June, and they deliver the first Nations League championship. However, a group of mostly young and inexperienced players do well in the Gold Cup, but fall in the final to Mexico.
Yunus Musah and Nicholas Gioacchini commit to the United States.
American fans rejoice in late May when Yunus Musah and Nicholas Gioacchini both announce that they’ve accepted call ups to the USMNT for the Nations League playoffs, cap-tying them to the program when they both step onto the field against Honduras. It ends a long period where Musah and Gioacchini both get called into a European camp for the USMNT during the March window, and they use that to weigh their options. Ultimately, they both confirm their commitment to the program and provide a boost to the midfield and attack for the player pool.
10 uncapped players make their debut for the USMNT.
In a year that will be busy, there will be plenty of opportunities for new players to enter the USMNT pool. With January Camp, friendlies, and the Gold Cup, head coach Gregg Berhalter will use that to introduce several more players into the fold. Ten players will make their USMNT debuts during 2021, with most of them coming during the friendlies that the USMNT will schedule in the first part of the year.
The USMNT will beat a Top 20 team that’s not Mexico.
The USMNT will likely play Mexico, currently ranked 9th in the FIFA World Rankings, a few times in 2021. They’ll definitely play them in World Cup qualifying at home in November, but they could also face them in the Nations League playoffs and the Gold Cup. So, there will be chances for the USMNT to beat Mexico throughout the year. However, the USMNT will schedule a major friendly either in March or June that will involve a team in the Top 20 in the FIFA World Rankings, and the USMNT will beat them. They may struggle in doing it, but the final scoreline will have the USMNT in the winner’s column.
The USMNT will end the year ranked 15th.
The USMNT will have a successful year that can be measured in a lot of categories, but one will be a rise in the rankings. Currently, the team is ranked 22nd, but they have a lot of opportunities to earn a lot of points with the Nations League, Gold Cup, and World Cup qualifying. That, plus winning most of them, will see the team rise all the way to 15th by the end of the year. It seems high for the USMNT, but a successful 2021 will be reflected in the World Rankings, so on the rise the team will go!
Write them in stone...your bold predictions for 2021. Hit the comments and let us know what bold predictions you have for the year, and let’s look back at the end of the year and hope we’re all right!