USMNT: What To Expect Leading Up To 2018


The USMNT has officially started their next World Cup cycle, and they started it off with a bang. Their first friendly was an extremely hard-fought 3-2 loss at the hands of Chile. This loss, however, can be attributed to experimenting with a 3-5-2 formation, and then switching halfway through the match to our signature diamond 4-4-2, as well as the team’s lack of match fitness. The second friendly of 2015 was a fantastic 2-0 win against Panama, which bodes well for the Gold Cup this summer. In this article, I’d like to provide you with a “what to expect” on the USMNT front, for the matches and events leading up to the 2018 World Cup.

2015 Friendlies

More from CONCACAF

In the team’s first two friendlies, they looked great, especially in the match vs Panama. We can definitely do well in our upcoming friendlies, which will be against Denmark, Switzerland, Mexico, the Netherlands, and Germany. Denmark and Switzerland both have talent on their sides, but its nothing that our team can’t do well against, providing that Lord Bendtner doesn’t use his insane skill to tear apart our defense. Mexico will be a bigger challenge, as they are a very solid team, and if Ochoa performs even half as well as he did in the World Cup, it’s going to be a challenge to get the ball past him.

The biggest challenges our team will face before the Gold Cup will be our friendlies against the Netherlands, and the reigning World Cup Champions Germany. The Netherlands are an extremely good team, boasting talent with the likes of Robin van Persie, Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben, Klaas-jan Huntelaar, and Memphis Depay. With the recent USMNT defensive concerns, this could prove to be an extremely tough match for the USA.

In the 2014 World Cup, the USMNT faced Germany in the Group Stage, and held them to only one goal; a feat which only France and Argentina could accomplish throughout the whole tournament. The German team is obviously an amazing team, yet I believe that the USMNT can do far better against them than most fans think.

2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup

This summer, the USMNT will be participating in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which will be held in many cities across America. The USMNT is in Group A for the tournament as they drew Panama, Haiti, and Honduras/French Guyana. The USMNT beat Panama 2-0 earlier this year, so they should be able to do it again. Honduras and the USA drew last year, so that could be a result that we may see again. Haiti and French Guyana are two teams the USMNT should be able to beat. With all that said, it should be almost guaranteed that the USMNT makes it out of the Group Stage.

If they do make it out, they could still face tough competition in Mexico and World Cup Quarterfinalists Costa Rica. These would both be tough games for us, but we have beat both of these teams before, so there’s no way we shouldn’t be able to do it again. We have a very good chance to make and win the final, and therefore qualify for the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia. For more information regarding ticketing, dates, venues, and teams, for the Gold Cup check out this article from

2016 Copa America Centenario

 In the summer of 2016, the Copa America will be played as a celebration of the 100th year of CONMEBOL, and there will be six CONCACAF teams invited as opposed to the usual two. It will also be the first ever Copa America to be held outside of South America, as it is being held right here in the USA. Looking forward to this tournament, the USMNT will be playing against some very tough CONMEBOL teams, namely Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Uruguay. Along with these teams are some tough CONCACAF teams in Mexico and Costa Rica. This would be a huge victory for the team, because it would show the world that the USA is becoming a soccer country. With that said, it will be very tough to do, given the teams we would have to face, but, as the American Outlaws would say, I believe.

2017 Confederations Cup

If the USMNT prevails this summer at the Gold Cup, they’ll earn a spot at the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia. For those who may not know, the Confederations Cup is an 8 team tournament held every four years that consists of the holders of each of the six FIFA confederation championships, along with the current World Cup holder and the host nation. Reaching the Confederations Cup Final is a realistic goal for the USMNT, as we have gotten third place twice, and second place once. The Confederations Cup is usually referred to as a rehearsal for the World Cup, as it is held in the nation that will host the FIFA World Cup in the following year. So, if the USA makes the Cup, and can do well, it will bode well for the 2018 World Cup.

There are obviously going to be more friendlies in between these big tournaments, and also the 2017 Gold Cup, but if we go to the Confederations Cup, we probably won’t be appearing at the Gold Cup, so I didn’t include it. Also, Check out this article if you want to see my opinion on the USMNT’s chances at the 2018 World Cup.

Next: MLS Expansion: League Has Many Choices

More from Playing for 90