Who are the USMNT's best players? Key performers to watch in World Cup 2022 knockout rounds

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Weston McKennie Christian Pulisic USMNT World Cup 2022
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The Stars and Stripes are into the knockout stage - GOAL takes a look at their key players

The United States men's national team has emerged from Group B and their performances have instilled plenty of belief that they can go even further at World Cup 2022.

Gregg Berhalter's side managed to hold England - one of the tournament favourites - to a scoreless draw and showed tremendous nerve to overcome Iran and book their place in the knockout stage.

They find themselves in the side of the knockout bracket that contains the Netherlands, who they play in the last 16, Argentina, Croatia and other heavyweights, but have enough quality of their own not to give way to trepidation.

GOAL takes a look at the best USMNT players at Qatar 2022.

  1. Tyler Adams | Leeds United | MF
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    Tyler Adams | Leeds United | MF

    Captain fantastic, Tyler Adams has been the beating heart and engine room of the USMNT's efforts at the World Cup in Qatar.

    The Leeds United midfielder played every minute of every game in the group stage, acquitting himself admirably against the likes of Jude Bellingham, Mason Mount and Declan Rice in the draw against England.

    His words off the pitch have drawn praise from colleagues, fans and rivals, while his performances on the field have earned comparisons to legendary France midfielder N'Golo Kante. That likeness is no exaggeration either, considering he is the player with easily the most possession wins for the U.S. at the tournament.

  2. Tim Ream | Fulham | DF

    Tim Ream | Fulham | DF

    Fulham veteran Tim Ream continues to defy the march of time by bringing his sparkling Premier League form to Qatar and starring for the Stars and Stripes in defence. The USMNT only conceded one goal in the group stage and, as well as tussling impressively with Gareth Bale, Ream managed to keep Harry Kane quiet.

    Despite being 35 years of age, Ream played the entirety of every game in the group stage and showed little sign of tiring, which is a testament to how well the centre-back looks after himself. A leader, he has rolled back the years at this World Cup, seizing the opportunity presented to him by Gregg Berhalter..

  3. Sergino Dest | AC Milan | DF
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    Sergino Dest | AC Milan | DF

    He may have Ajax, Barcelona and now AC Milan on his soccer CV, but Sergino Dest had something to prove when he arrived at the World Cup and he has certainly silenced a few doubters with his displays up and down the wing.

    The flying full-back put the cross in for Christian Pulisic's crucial winner against Iran and his passes into the box have been a real asset, especially on the counter-attack. Defensively, Dest has been strong too, rarely putting a foot wrong.

  4. Christian Pulisic | Chelsea | FW
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    Christian Pulisic | Chelsea | FW

    Christian Pulisic has truly risen to the occasion for the USMNT at the World Cup, chipping in with an all-important goal against Iran and supplying an assist against Wales. The Chelsea forward's club career may have stalled somewhat, but he remains a key component for the national team.

    While primarily known for his technical ability, shooting and passing range, Pulisic's performances in Qatar have shown another side too, with the Hershey native putting his body on the line for his country. Compatriot Kellyn Acosta lauded Pulisic's bravery, telling reporters he has been "tough as nails" at the World Cup. He has transformed from 'Wonderboy' to Superman.

  5. Timothy Weah | Lille | FW
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    Timothy Weah | Lille | FW

    Being the son of a Ballon d'Or winner has ensured that plenty of expectation accompanies Timothy Weah. He hit the ground running with a goal against Wales - which drew high praise from Pele, no less! - and has undoubtedly been the USMNT forward who looks most likely to score.

    Weah has brought some fighting spirit to the team too, something that was most aptly summed up by his comments to FOX in the aftermath of the decisive win over Iran. "I always say it's us against the world," said the attacker. "No one believed that the U.S. could play good football. We're just here trying to show the world."

  6. Weston McKennie | Juventus | MF
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    Weston McKennie | Juventus | MF

    Tyler Adams may be 'Captain Fantastic' and Christian Pulisic may be "tough as nails", but Weston McKennie is "the best central midfielder the U.S. has ever had" - that's according to USMNT legend Brad Friedel.

    The Juventus star played in every game of the group stage, where his tireless running and intelligent positioning were notable features. While he spurned a fantastic chance to score against England, McKennie's quality is unquestionable and he is the standard-bearer in the middle - the player they look to for inspiration.