USMNT 2024 Copa America squad: Every player on the roster analyzed


You’re tired of hearing this by now, but it’s still true: this is a young and relatively inexperienced United States men’s national team. Of the 26 players Gregg Berhalter called in for the Copa América, only three have appeared in at least 50 senior international matches. Another trio has crested the 40 cap mark, while 12 players enter the tournament with fewer than 20 caps.

However, this isn’t the byproduct of a youth movement like Mexico’s. The program is saving plenty of promising players 23 years old or younger for the Olympics in Paris, including Kevin Paredes, Bryan Reynolds and Gianluca Busio. The U.S. also enters Copa América in relatively good health, though its one major absence, Sergiño Dest, will force Berhalter into some tough decisions.

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Gregg Berhalter names USMNT 26-man roster for Copa America

The tune-up friendlies showed two different sides of this team: being played off the field in the opener against Colombia, then staying resolute to play Brazil to an evenly matched draw days later. We don’t quite know what to expect from this team, but that’s the beauty of a major international competition: the element of unpredictability. Playing on home soil can’t hurt, either.

Here are the 26 players who will represent the United States as they look to match or exceed their semifinal finish in the 2016 Copa América Centenario.

Players are listed in alphabetical order by position. Ages and cap totals as of June 13, 2024


Goalkeepers

Ethan Horvath (Cardiff City) — 9 caps, 29 years old

A positional logjam kept Nottingham Forest from registering Horvath for the Premier League, leaving him without a place to play until a January move to Cardiff City. He immediately became the Bluebirds’ starter, performing commensurate to league average as Cardiff finished 12th in the Championship.

Although his club career has become fairly nomadic, Horvath has been steady when called upon by his national team. Among his nine appearances was a crucial shift from the bench in the 2021 Nations League final, when a handful of saves (including a stifled penalty kick in extra time) allowed the United States to win the competition’s inaugural installment. A capable deputy, Horvath won’t be daunted if called upon for a big moment this summer.

Sean Johnson (Toronto FC) — 13 caps, 35 years old

For decades, the nation’s goalkeeper pool was among its strongest. A litany of Premier League starters stole the headlines. Still, another proud tradition is that of the veteran third-stringer — an experienced netminder who provides additional wisdom even if their number is seldom called.

Like Marcus Hahnemann and Nick Rimando before him, Johnson has been Berhalter’s trusted man; this summer, he’ll reprise his role from the 2022 World Cup. It’s a spot he had to earn, fighting off the emergence of Drake Callender. Amidst a bounce-back second season with Toronto FC, the 35-year-old remains a vital part of the locker room’s leadership corps.

Matt Turner (Nottingham Forest) — 41 caps, 29 years old 

What seemed like a dream move last summer for Matt Turner quickly devolved into a nightmare. Signed from Arsenal to be Forest’s starter, the club kept Turner busy early and often. The club’s frenetic nature in the transfer market took over. They signed yet another international goalkeeper, Matz Sels, following previous moves for Turner, Odysseas Vlachodimos and Keylor Navas in successive windows. By March, Forest had dropped Turner to the bench.

Turner has had some questionable missed saves, particularly a few low-likelihood shots through his legs, but he remains the USMNT’s best shot-stopper by some margin. Questions about his distribution persist, but he’s organized the defense better than anyone in the role since Tim Howard.

matt turner 2023 24 shots conceded


Defenders

Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic) — 17 caps, 26 years old

It can be tough to assess players on Celtic and Rangers given their dueling dominance in Scotland. Since joining Celtic in 2021, Carter-Vickers has actualized the promise that made him a hot prospect early in his career. Still, it hasn’t made him a regular starter for the USMNT. He looks good in defense and possession, but nearly everyone does with a perennial champion.

Under Brendan Rodgers and Ange Postecoglou, Celtic has been as possession-dominant as any team in Europe. Carter-Vickers plays plenty of short passes that pad his completion rate, but his line-breakers and diagonals give the attack a jolt. Those will be vital for the U.S. to progress upfield this summer, while his defending in the sky (70.6% aerial win rate) and on the ground (13% dribble-past rate, among Scotland’s best) could position him to retain a starting role for years to come.

cameron carter vickers pass clusters

Kristoffer Lund (Palermo) — 3 caps, 22 years old

After struggling to develop international-caliber left backs for decades, the U.S. is in a relative golden age at the spot. Having represented Denmark in youth international ranks, Lund’s 2023 commitment to the U.S. provides another option that regularly plays in a major European nation.

Lund was initially hyped as a progressive option down the flank, a threat to find space out wide, collect the ball and take off on the dribble. His first season with Serie B side Palermo saw him refine his defensive chops, too, when disrupting opponents’ progress on the ground and winning aerial duels. His future looks bright — and he could be ready for some late minutes to stretch a game this summer.

Mark McKenzie (Genk) — 13 caps, 25 years old

Historically, a central defender is primarily assessed for their ability to stifle progress. The job description is in the name, after all. While McKenzie isn’t exactly a slouch at defending, he’s on this squad predominantly for his work with the ball at his feet.

McKenzie is among the best ball-progressing defenders in Europe beyond the continent’s top five leagues. He averages 6.3 progressive passes per 90 minutes, ranking in the 96th percentile of fbref’s “Men’s Next 14” leagues. He averaged 5.8 passes into the final third per 90 as Genk finished 5th in Belgium’s Pro League, helping bypass a midfield block. He may not project to start often at the tournament, but if he comes on, expect some scintillating long distribution.

Shaq Moore (Nashville SC) — 19 caps, 27 years old

Even on a struggling Nashville side, Moore’s defensive work kept him in contention for this squad. Moore is a proactive tackler, averaging 6.24 “true” tackles per 1,000 opposing touches since the start of 2023. Still, he’s most likely third in this position’s depth chart, behind Scally and an out-of-position attacking alternative like Tim Weah or Weston McKennie.

One aspect of Moore’s game does lend itself well to late-match game states. He offers a dangerous long throw, with the 19th most heaves into the box of any MLS player since the start of 2023. If the U.S. needs a goal late in a game, he could be the man for the moment.

DOHA, QATAR - DECEMBER 3: Tim Ream #13 of the United States before a FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Round of 16 match between Netherlands and USMNT at Khalifa International Stadium on December 3, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images)


Tim Ream has become a crucial veteran presence in the USMNT’s backline. (Photo by Brad Smith, Getty Images)

Tim Ream (Fulham) — 58 caps, 36 years old 

In a few years, discussing Ream’s international career will be laden with “what if?” scenarios. The center back didn’t find consistency with the USMNT until 2019, having been frozen out by Jürgen Klinsmann during the 2014 World Cup cycle. In 2022, he anchored the backline at the World Cup, with his defending and passing acumen garnering praise from his teammates and Pep Guardiola alike.

Father Time remains undefeated, however, and Ream played just once after mid-February. That felt like a ceremonial sendoff in Fulham’s season finale at Craven Cottage against relegated Luton Town. The lack of recent involvement adds rust to the squad’s most senior member, though starts in both tune-up friendlies suggest he’ll be relied upon again this summer. Whatever transpires, his leadership will be vital for a youthful USMNT at this tournament, whether he’s a regular in Berhalter’s lineups or not.

Chris Richards (Crystal Palace) — 18 caps, 24 years old

Last season was a breakout year for Chris Richards, the first time he logged over 2,000 minutes for a club’s senior team. A rash of injuries and a relegation scare forced Crystal Palace to deploy Richards in midfield, only playing at his primary position for 1,266 of his 2,091 Premier League minutes. However, the time he did spend along the backline showed that he’s coming into his own as a defender.

chris richards defending

In the 1,266 minutes, Richards was among the Premier League’s most active aerial duelists and one of the division’s most effective tacklers. Although his rate of winning aerial duels was pedestrian, he capably kept opponents from beating him on the dribble. After missing the 2022 World Cup due to injury, Richards is on track to establish himself as the program’s best defender.

Antonee Robinson (Fulham) — 43 caps, 26 years old

There’s a case to be made that Robinson is already this program’s greatest left back. Granted, that speaks volumes about the lack of options in the role for decades, where the team’s starter was often playing out of position (see: Eddie Lewis, Carlos Bocanegra, DaMarcus Beasley and Fabian Johnson). It’s also a distinction that’s deserved on his own merit. This season, “Jedi” put forth a season that has him in the upper echelon of Premier League left backs.

antonee robinson forward carries 1

Robinson is a capable one-on-one defender, leading all Premier League fullbacks, averaging 5.16 interceptions and blocked passes per 1,000 opponent touches. He also created 1.27 chances per 100 touches of the ball, 17th among the league’s 46 full-backs and wing backs who played at least 900 minutes in 2023-24. That creativity and progressive play may be even more vital this summer given Dest’s absence from the opposite flank.

Miles Robinson (FC Cincinnati) — 29 caps, 27 years old

Robinson was in line to start at the 2022 World Cup before a torn Achilles tendon ruled him out for the tournament. He’s worked hard to recover to his previous form, including the spring that makes him a threat in the air on both ends of the pitch.

The data suggests he isn’t quite the same defender as before that injury. He’s less likely to attempt a tackle or interception than before, and his current aerial duel win rate of 66% is his lowest since becoming a regular starter in 2019. He’s also completing fewer long passes than he had before his injury (45.3% this season). He is, however, still acclimating after switching clubs this winter. Nevertheless, he’s a favored figure of Berhalter’s and a program veteran with a point to prove.

Joe Scally (Borussia Mönchengladbach) — 11 caps, 21 years old

joe scally fbref metrics

The projected “next man up” following Dest’s injury, Scally has been a fixture in Mönchengladbach’s lineup for three seasons. He has logged over 6,000 Bundesliga minutes before turning 22, and Scally figures to have a long career ahead of him. The question is if he’s ready to be the top option in a major international tournament — and how closely he’ll be able to replicate Dest’s role. In the USMNT’s tune-up games against Colombia and Brazil, he faced world-class challenges lining up opposite Luis Díaz and Vinicius Jr.

Scally doesn’t carry the same upfield compass that guides Dest’s every decision. Instead, he’s a more traditional full back, prone to slinging effective short passes and prioritizing his defensive responsibilities over the attacking ones. If he isn’t the first-choice option as the tournament progresses, he’s capable of playing all three defensive roles.


Midfielders

Tyler Adams (Bournemouth) — 39 caps, 25 years old

When healthy, Tyler Adams can impact a game like nobody else in the USMNT pool. His recovery defending is tireless, and he expertly reads an opponent’s build-up sequence to stymy it before danger strikes. The problem has been that requisite availability, as 2023-24 saw him log the fewest minutes in any season (just 121 in the league) since his professional debut in 2015.

The good news: Adams is well-versed in Berhalter’s system, easing his reassimilation. While some in the pool are better at breaking lines with their passes and others enter in better form, none can match Adams’ all-around defensive midfield skill set. For the USMNT to be at its best this summer, they’ll need him to be on the field more often than not.

Johnny Cardoso (Real Betis) — 13 caps, 22 years old

While a slew of promising young Americans developed in MLS and Europe, Johnny Cardoso honed his craft in Brazil. The midfielder emerged with Internacional and was a starter in 2022 and 2023, catching eyes with impressive facilitation that fed his team’s forward line. It also drew the attention of Real Betis, who signed him in January 2024 and promptly thrust him into their starting lineup.

pizza joao lucas de souza cardoso DM 2023 24

The trick will be combining his passing acumen with the more defensive-minded role he adopted at Betis. His defensive work rate stood out and forced ample turnovers, even as he’s adjusting to greater involvement in that phase of the game. If everything comes together, he’ll be the worthy alternative to Adams this team has long needed.

Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo) — 21 caps, 26 years old 

He isn’t the pool’s most athletic midfielder, nor does he rack up highlight reel actions on a regular basis. Sometimes, the greatest compliment a player can be paid is that they are easy to overlook; simply, De la Torre makes midfield work look neat and tidy with the ball at his feet.

The midfielder was a regular fixture in the Celta Vigo lineup thanks to his usefulness in build-up play. Few midfielders in all of Europe boasted a greater volume of carries and dribbles. He also improved his ability to collect the ball in the box rather than staying at the heart of the park. He’s often overlooked due to buzzier alternatives in the role, but fans shouldn’t stress if he enters a match.

Weston McKennie (Juventus) — 53 caps, 25 years old 

Being versatile is a blessing and a curse. Sure, it helps keep a player in contention for playing time throughout their career. As McKennie has learned over the years, however, the frequent role changes can come at the cost of refining one’s skills as a club plugs holes. McKennie finally stayed in a consistent role for a full season in 2023-24 — to the delight of Juventus and his career alike.

weston mckennie fbref metrics

McKennie is an infectious personality, a camera operator’s best friend with his every reaction. He’ll likely stay in the lens’ sight this summer with his proactive defensive work and his improved game in possession, more comfortable playing distributor on top of his established off-ball work. Tack on his prowess in dead-ball situations, and McKennie is among this team’s most important members.

Yunus Musah (AC Milan) — 37 caps, 21 years old

Here’s a good example of how a typical club season for a 21-year-old player can have an outsized impact on such a young national team. Musah made a big leap when he left Valencia for AC Milan last summer, going from being a starter for a relegation-zone club to a rotational figure for a top-tier side. His minutes regressed and he played a myriad of roles.

It sets him up for a possible breakout in 2024-25, but doubles as a setback for a player who was among the USMNT’s most important from a young age. Musah’s transition year comes at a time when it’s clear that Gio Reyna needs to start for this team to generate consistent chances, and he projects to be the odd man out to accommodate. He may not be as involved as he was when he turned heads with his tidy and effective play at the 2022 World Cup, but fear not: Musah’s career is still decidedly on the rise.

GettyImages 2102855801


A strong showing in Copa América could help Reyna overshadow the drama of the 2022 World Cup. (Photo by Shaun Clark, Getty Images)

Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund) — 28 caps, 21 years old

Perhaps a move to Nottingham Forest isn’t in a player’s best interest as the club cycles through options like a video gamer overhauling a roster in record time. Injuries kept Reyna from featuring regularly for Dortmund, and a lack of alternatives sent him to the City Ground late in the January window. The club seldom played with an attacking midfielder, however, and 2023-24 was a lost season for a player who has already suffered a few of those since emerging in 2020-21.

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Still, Reyna has an eye for creating chances that few USMNT players have had since Landon Donovan’s heyday. He’s dangerous whether his team is exploiting a transition moment or in a sustained phase of possession, and he’s made himself undroppable for his nation even as his club career has stagnated. His frustration with a lack of involvement at the 2022 World Cup will forever be part of his legacy, but a strong Copa América could help overshadow that.

Malik Tillman (PSV Eindhoven) — 11 caps, 22 years old 

In most eras, Tillman would have a clear role in attacking midfield. It’s the role he occupied as PSV dominated the Eredivisie in 2023-24, scoring nine goals and assisting 10 more en route to a title-winning season. With that act following the 10 goals he scored on loan with Rangers in 2022-23, he should be a certain starter this summer, right?

malik tillman halfspace attack touchmap

Unfortunately for Tillman, he hasn’t found a clear role for the U.S. Berhalter often opts for three central midfielders, too withdrawn a spot for Tillman’s skill set — and, historically, a role that would be Reyna’s or Musah’s to occupy. His central channel preference makes him a cumbersome option on the wing. He’s an undeniable talent and an impactful player on his day; maybe this summer will see him find a home in Berhalter’s setup.


Forwards

Brenden Aaronson (Union Berlin) — 41 caps, 23 years old

A firm Berhalter favorite, Aaronson has struggled since leaving RB Salzburg for Leeds in 2022. Following their relegation, he spent last year on loan with Union Berlin. Some late heroics helped the club avoid relegation from the Bundesliga, but he’ll return to Elland Road with a point to prove to the English club’s fanbase.

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Even in the most difficult stretch of his career, his tireless work rate remains unimpeachable. Aaronson is more of a spark plug for this team as constructed than a starter, able to change a game by sheer force of will whether it’s in midfield or on the wing. Even in a rotational role, Aaronson could kick off a comeback this summer.

Folarin Balogun (Monaco) — 12 caps, 22 years old

When Balogun committed to the United States instead of England or Nigeria, it seemed like a massive coup. Seldom has the USMNT enjoyed dependable output from a center forward, with Brian McBride and Jozy Altidore being rare exceptions in this century. Coming off of a strong season with Reims, a $43 million move to AS Monaco seemed like evidence that the USMNT finally had a top-tier striker.

At this stage, Balogun is more of a volume scorer than a pinpoint finisher. He has woefully underperformed his expected goal output since the start of 2023, and was dropped from the Monaco lineup midway through the season. His assimilation with the USMNT hasn’t been seamless either, with three goals from a dozen caps. Still, a striker’s legacy is determined by tournament performances more than friendlies. His first major competition since committing will be a timely test of his mettle.

Ricardo Pepi (PSV Eindhoven) — 25 caps, 21 years old

Alongside Malik Tillman and Dest, Pepi had some fine moments as PSV dominated the Eredivisie, scoring seven goals and adding two assists. Unfortunately, those moments largely came from the bench, limiting Pepi to just 572 minutes in league action. It’s an understandable plight for a young striker, especially when veteran Luuk de Jong scored 29 goals as the team’s starter. Still, it wasn’t the “leap” many have hoped to see since Pepi left FC Dallas in 2021.

That super-sub season may actually give the USMNT a boost entering this tournament, though. Pepi was a hard omission from Berhalter’s World Cup squad, but enters the Copa América already equipped to impact a game from the bench. Pepi’s time in the spotlight may not be far away, but he could be vital in brief spurts this summer.

Christian Pulisic (AC Milan) — 68 caps, 25 years old 

It feels odd given his age and the fact that he only finally enjoyed a full season as a major European club’s starter, but Pulisic is the most capped member of this squad. The resurgence of the program has been carried on his shoulders, and he finally has a supporting cast of a similar standard. It eases the pressure on him to do it all, which could bring even more of his best to the international level.

christian pulisic all shots

Pulisic has proven to be more of a finisher than a creator — more of a Clint Dempsey than a Landon Donovan. He flourished playing on the right at AC Milan after years out left (and left out) with Chelsea… although Berhalter favors him on the left. When Pulisic plays with freedom, he can take over a game like nobody else on this roster.

Josh Sargent (Norwich City) 23 caps, 24 years old 

Even as 2023-24 saw Balogun struggle and Pepi toil on the bench, it wasn’t a complete dud for USMNT strikers. Following Teemu Pukki’s move to Minnesota United, Sargent finally enjoyed a full season as Norwich’s starting striker. He rewarded them handsomely, bagging 16 goals on 11.2 non-penalty xG as the club returned to the promotion playoffs.

In a perfect world, he would be neck-and-neck with Balogun for starts at this tournament. However, Sargent was a question to make the roster due to a nagging foot injury suffered late in the Canaries’ campaign. Strikers, like all soccer players, are famously dependent on their feet, and his ability to impact this tournament is an open question. The fact he made the squad does give some confidence that he could be ready.

Tim Weah (Juventus) — 39 caps, 24 years old

Weah is another versatile player in the pool whose club role changes on an annual basis. Once a striker and often still a winger, Juventus found him to be a capable wing back this past season — a revelation that could come in handy given Dest’s injury.

As a wing back, Weah’s dribbling prowess and skill at executing a give-and-go helped Juventus qualify for the Champions League and win the Coppa Italia. He was also adept at making an impact in defensive phases, a credit to his reading of a game. If he’s a winger this summer, he’ll be among the USMNT’s most important attackers. If he shifts to Dest’s role, however, he could be an X-factor for which few opponents are adequately prepared to contain.

Haji Wright (Coventry City) — 10 caps, 26 years old

When Haji Wright broke into the pool in 2022, conventional wisdom was that he was a target forward — the role that saw the 6’3” striker flourish in Turkey. One of just three United States players to score at the World Cup in Qatar, the fit up top looked suspect. As Balogun committed to the program and Pepi and Josh Sargent continued to develop, it seemed certain that Wright would be a peripheral figure in the coming years.

haji wright all open play touches in the championship 2023 24 halfspace touchmap

Credit to Coventry City for unlocking a new side of Wright’s game in his English soccer debut. Playing out wide for the first time, he managed to score 16 goals and add six assists in the league, proving his end product would translate to playing along the touchline. That revelation unlocks greater tactical flexibility and should help Wright see the field often throughout the tournament.

(Photo: John Todd, Stephen Nadler/Getty; Design: John Bradford) 





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