USMNT Power Rankings: Who will make the 2026 World Cup squad?
The U.S. men's national team's road to the 2026 World Cup effectively began the moment the final whistle blew at Khalifa International Stadium following the last-16 defeat to the Netherlands. Players were asked about it in the moments after: What that road would look like, who would be a part of it, who would lead the charge.
Much will change on that road, and predicting World Cup squads years in advance is almost impossible. Three years before the 2022 World Cup, USMNT fans knew nothing of Yunus Musah. Matt Turner was barely a starter in 2019. Brenden Aaronson didn't even make his MLS debut until midway through that year.
But here we are predicting that road. Given the youth of the 2022 World Cup team, it's safe to say we know some players who will be involved. Much of the team's young core isn't going anywhere, which is great news for whoever coaches the team this cycle.
Some players, too, will likely age out, with veterans like DeAndre Yedlin, Aaron Long and Sean Johnson unlikely to be involved all the way through the cycle, even if they are for parts of it. Some World Cup veterans, players like Shaq Moore and Cristian Roldan, will still be in the mix, but face battles to stay involved due to young players coming up behind them.
With all that said, GOAL is going to spend the next three years tracking the top 50 players in the USMNT pool...
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#1 Christian Pulisic
He's had a rough go of it lately and his Chelsea future remains unclear, but Christian Pulisic is still absolutely vital for the USMNT.
His goal against Iran in the World Cup pushed the team into the knockout rounds and, as 2026 looms, it's almost certain he'll remain the USMNT's star man going forward.
His club future will play a part in that, though, as it has become quite clear that the situation at Stamford Bridge is probably not going to work out.
Does Pulisic move to another elite side or take a step back to perhaps take two forward? We'll see but, regardless, he'll be involved in a big way going forward.
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#2 Tyler Adams
Captain America, and, boy, does he deserve it.
Adams is the quintessential leader and there's no reason to believe the U.S. will need to look anywhere else when it comes to their captaincy. Few players embody the spirit of the national team quite like Adams, who is ferocious, unafraid and, perhaps most importantly, mature beyond his years.
Since joining Leeds, he's grown into a spectacular defensive midfielder and has taken his game to a new level in the Premier League. Now, we'll just have to see if Adams and Leeds remain there as they have a relegation fight on their hands.
#3 Weston McKennie
The second piece of the MMA midfield, and don't worry: the third will be on this list soon.
McKennie's certainly had his ups and downs since breaking through with the national team, but he's better for it, as evidenced by his performances in Qatar, where he was rock solid despite being less-than fit.
Like Adams, his future will depend on what goes on with Leeds, but, even if things go south, he'll have no shortage of suitors.
#4 Tim Weah
Weah has been played out of position lately at Lille, but at least he's playing.
A right winger for the USMNT, a left back on the club level, but, no matter where he plays, Weah is mighty dangerous. He scored the USMNT's first goal in Qatar and was arguably their most dangerous attacker throughout.
Weah brings a different element to his game than the other wingers in the pool, who tend to cut in and facilitate. Weah, meanwhile, is a bit more direct and dangerous, and that's what makes him such a key piece of the USMNT puzzle.
#5 Gio Reyna
The 2022 World Cup is now over, thankfully for Reyna, who has become quite a controversial figure in the months since.
Forget the off-field nonsense, though, and instead look at what he brings on the field. You've seen it with Borussia Dortmund and, when healthy, you've seen it with the USMNT: Reyna is special.
Hopefully, he'll be able to remind people of that soon as the 20-year-old midfielder remains arguably the USMNT's most promising prospect, and that's saying something.
#6 Antonee Robinson
Like Tim Ream, Robinson has played a key role in a spectacular Fulham season but, unlike Ream, he'll almost certainly be at the World Cup in 2026.
Robinson remains the USMNT's best left-back and, overall, had a good World Cup in Qatar. The defender is just 25 now, meaning he will be in his prime when the next World Cup rolls around, which is good news for the U.S.
There are some good left-backs coming up behind him, so he isn't a lock going forward, but it's certainly his spot to lose.
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#7 Yunus Musah
And now the third member of the MMA midfield in Musah, a player that has a bright, bright future.
It may not come at Valencia, as the Spanish side continues to be something of a mess with Musah's role proving far too inconsistent for a player of his potential. He's been linked with plenty of moves; could this be the summer one comes to fruition?
No USMNT player has a skillset quite like Musah, who progresses the ball up the field with ease. He remains a perfect fit next to McKennie and Adams, with that trio likely to be together for some time.
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#8 Sergino Dest
Who knows where Dest will end up, as he's struggled at both Barcelona and AC Milan. There's no shame in that, though.
Just 22 years old, Dest still has a lot to learn, especially on the defensive end, but you can't knock what he brings into the attack. To his credit, he was actually solid defensively in Qatar, showing improved awareness and discipline, a good sign for sure.
His loan to Milan hasn't worked out and Barca probably won't want him back, but he still has a home with the USMNT, where he's probably shown the best version of himself so far.
#9 Brenden Aaronson
All energy, all the time. What team couldn't use that?
His role at Leeds has diminished in the second half of the season as Aaronson has been limited to a substitute's role in the Premier League. He played the same role for the U.S. in Qatar thanks to his ability to play either centrally or out wide.
He's just 22, so there are brighter days ahead for a player that may not be the only Aaronson to be a regular for the U.S. by the time 2026 rolls around...
#10 Walker Zimmerman
He's been the USMNT's Mr. Reliable in defense, and he likely will be once again to start the cycle.
Aside from that one blemish against Wales, Zimmerman has been rock solid and should still be in a good place to contribute in 2026. Now, that depends on the growth of other players in the pool, but you know what you're going to get with Zimmerman.
The Nashville SC defender is a player you can lean on for stability and leadership, which will always be helpful at the start of a cycle when new faces come in and out of the pool.
#11 Matt Turner
Turner may be a backup at Arsenal, but he's the USMNT's No.1 for the foreseeable future.
The ex-New England Revolution goalkeeper was fantastic in Qatar and has looked good in limited minutes since his move to England. He may never break through in north London, and that's okay. His club future can be decided at some other time.
For now, though, Turner is almost certainly the guy, even with a goalkeeper prodigy waiting in the wings.
#12 Miles Robinson
The Atlanta United star should have been in Qatar, but the soccer gods are cruel.
His Achilles injury kept him out for the World Cup, where he would have been an unquestioned starter. Such is life, unfortunately.
Robinson, though, is back and healthy for the start of the MLS season, and the 25-year-old center-back will now look to rediscover the form that made him a national team regular in 2020 and 2021.
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#13 Joe Scally
He'll have the 2022 World Cup experience under his belt, even if he didn't play, and Scally is destined to play at one of these tournaments eventually.
His experience in the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach is incredible considering he's just 20 years old. He's gone toe-to-toe with Bayern Munich on multiple occasions and won! What more can you ask for?
He's versatile, solid defensively and, based on how he handled not playing in Qatar, mature beyond his years. He should develop plenty in Germany as time goes on.
#14 Chris Richards
Another player that may have had something to say in Qatar if healthy.
Richards is still pushing his way into the picture under Patrick Vieira at Crystal Palace, but it's clear that the talent is there. The 22-year-old has all the tools necessary to be a pretty good center-back and, if he was healthy in the fall, there's a chance those tools would have been enough to book him a World Cup spot.
He'll need to stay healthy and get some consistent minutes, but Richards is certainly one to watch over the next few years.
#15 Ricardo Pepi
The train was derailed for a bit, but it's definitely back on track.
Pepi has rediscovered himself while on loan with Groningen, putting his disastrous start to life in Europe in the rearview mirror. Still, much will depend on what happens next. Does he stay with Augsburg, go out on loan or join a new club altogether? We'll find out this summer.
Still, it's good to see Pepi bounce back from a disastrous 2022 and show why many anointed him as the USMNT's No.9 of the future in the first place.
#16 Gaga Slonina
Slonina will almost certainly be on the 2026 roster. To be fair, he was close to being in the 2022 squad.
The question is if he will have developed enough to be the starter in such a short amount of time. Slonina is still just 18 years old, despite all of the professional experience he racked up with the Chicago Fire. He's now at Chelsea, featuring for the club's Under-21s to gain experience.
Slonina is perhaps the world's most promising young goalkeeper and, despite his age, has already shown incredible maturity. Let's see where he is in a few years time, but all signs point to him being the go-to goalkeeper at one point or another.
#17 Malik Tillman
He arrived just a bit too late for the 2022 tournament, but the road to 2026 is off to a good start for Tillman.
After coming through the Bayern Munich system, Tillman's move to Rangers has been a masterstroke, as the young midfielder has shone with the Scottish giants. It remains to be seen how long he'll be in Scotland, but it's safe to say it won't be long.
Tillman has incredible potential and is super versatile, which is always good. There's plenty of upside with the 20-year-old midfielder, who should be a key part of the 2026 cycle for whoever is the new USMNT coach.
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#18 Cameron Carter-Vickers
He was something of a surprise call-up for Qatar, but Carter-Vickers has grown into arguably the best defender in the Scottish Premiership.
Carter-Vickers has been a rock since joining Celtic, concluding his seemingly never-ending series of loans away from Tottenham. He may not be long for Scotland, though, as Premier League clubs will certainly come looking if he maintains this level.
It's great to see the 25-year-old defender getting a legitimate opportunity to shine after spending so long in limbo, and he's certainly making the most of it.
#19 Luca de la Torre
He didn't see the field in Qatar, but he sure is impressive in La Liga.
De la Torre is becoming a regular for Celta Vigo, where his silky smooth game is continuing to develop. It'll be tough for him to crack the USMNT starting XI, but there's no doubt that there's big value in what the 24-year-old midfielder has to offer.
Because of that, he's worth keeping an eye on. If he continues to progress in La Liga, that will be very, very good news for the U.S.
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#20 Jesus Ferreira
His stock is a bit lower than it was leading up to the World Cup, but there's no doubt that Ferreira still has plenty of potential.
After converting from a No.10 to a No.9 with FC Dallas, Ferreira went out and bagged himself 18 MLS goals in 2022 before turning 22. That is an impressive haul no matter which way you look at it.
The future is bright for Ferreira, who does have some holes in his game, but plenty of time to work on those as he continues to learn the striker position.
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#21 Josh Sargent
Sargent has found some confidence at Norwich, and that's a very good thing.
After spending several seasons playing for bad, bad teams, Sargent has done well in the Championship, showing glimpses of what made many in American soccer so high on him. It's incredible what a little bit of service can do for a striker, huh?
He did well at the World Cup, but he still needs to add more goals to his game if he is to truly make a push to be the go-to No.9.
#22 Zack Steffen
A lack of playing time proved to be his undoing during the buildup to Qatar, but Steffen has plenty of time to remedy that this time around.
He's played consistently for Middlesbrough, which is fantastic considering all of the years he sat behind Ederson at Manchester City. The talent is most certainly there with Steffen, who is a gifted goalkeeper, but it's all about getting him minutes to find his form and confidence.
We'll see where he ends up after this season, but don't write him off despite the decision to leave him off the squad in 2022.
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#23 Daryl Dike
Stylistically, Dike didn't quite fit what Berhalter wanted to do, but one has to wonder if he would have been in Qatar if he was fully healthy.
The West Brom striker went through a whole bunch of injury issues, but is now on the other side of that and scoring in the Championship. The 22-year-old ex-Orlando City man has all the makings of a true, top-level English league striker, and is more than equipped to rise up the ranks in the coming years.
If he does, he may just be the guy the USMNT has been looking for at the No.9 position.
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#24 Alejandro Zendejas
There's still a chance he opts to play for Mexico, but he's with the USMNT for now so we'll count on him.
Zendejas' ability on the ball is incredible and, while he may never leapfrog the likes of Pulisic or Weah, he is, at worst, a fantastic change-of-pace option off the bench when you need a goal.
The Club America forward is super tricky and still growing, although there's always that chance Mexico comes calling again now that Tata Martino is gone.
#25 Paxten Aaronson
The younger Aaronson may have even more upside than his brother.
He recently made his move to Eintracht Frankfurt, making him the latest American to choose the Bundesliga as the league to further his development.
The 19-year-old is still pretty raw, but after making his USMNT debut in January, it seems he's on his way towards joining his older brother as a national team regular.
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#26 John Tolkin
Antonee Robinson's lack of backup has been a major talking point for some time, and Tolkin seems like the guy best equipped to push the Fulham star at left-back.
Tolkin has become a regular with the New York Red Bulls and, at some point relatively soon, will be moving on to Europe. He's confident, smooth and certainly unwilling to back down, all good traits for a young full-back.
He got his first taste of the national team just before the World Cup as a guest player and then earned his first cap in January, so he seems to be on his way.
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#27 Brandon Vazquez
He broke onto the scene in 2022 with 18 MLS goals. Now, the question is if he can do it again.
Vazquez scored in his first taste of USMNT action in January and the signs are there that he could be a valuable contributor going forward. Right now, the only thing lacking is consistency, as we've only seen one real season of goals for him.
Even so, one season of goals is enough to earn him consideration given the need at No.9, so we'll likely see more of him going forward.
#28 Djordje Mihailovic
It feels like he made the perfect move to Europe.
The Eredivise should allow Mihailovic to thrive as the former CF Montreal star found a good landing spot in AZ. The Dutch league is known for developing attacking players, and Mihailovic should shine as an attacking midfielder for the club going forward.
He was close to making the 2022 squad, but will have his sights set on 2026 as he looks to establish himself among the USMNT's European contingent.
#29 Haji Wright
The only USMNT striker to actually score a goal in Qatar.
Wright's goal was something of a fluke, but, hey, you'll take that kind of luck as a striker. He came out of nowhere to end up actually playing a key role at the World Cup, where his hold-up play proved invaluable.
He's only 24 and has shone in the Turkish league with Antalyaspor, which could lead to more European interest and, ultimately, more USMNT chances.
#30 Kellyn Acosta
Until a new No.6 rises up as Adams' backup, Acosta is the guy.
Intelligent, experienced and dangerous on set-pieces, the LAFC star is a solid role player for the U.S. who can be trusted in a big situation. Look at his foul on then-club-mate Gareth Bale in the Wales game if you want an example of the veteran savvy Acosta brings to the table.
He's only 27, meaning he'll be right on the edge of his prime come 2026, so expect him to stick around.
#31 Tim Ream
There's essentially no chance he's around in 2026, but, in 2023, it's easy to argue that no American is playing at a higher level than Ream.
The 35-year-old defender has found another gear as he's helped lift Fulham towards a European place in the Premier League. It all comes after a dazzling World Cup, where Ream was a standout performer after being Berhalter's most stunning selection.
There's no guarantee that Ream is even playing in 2026, let alone playing at a national team level but, in the here and now, you have to give him credit for just how incredible he's been for club and country over the last year or so.
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#32 Mark McKenzie
The 24-year-old center-back is a regular with Genk in the Belgian Pro League and already has solid experience with the national team.
He won at both the senior and U20 level for the U.S. and was right on the fringes of the squad heading towards Qatar. McKenzie, though, is still nowhere near his prime and, with plenty of questions at center-back, he should still be in the mix.
#33 Eryk Williamson
The Portland Timbers midfielder is Acosta's biggest competition for that No.6 spot.
Williamson has always seemingly been close, but hasn't quite broken through to the national team. He's good on the ball and could play either next to Adams or in place of him when needed.
We'll need to see more of him, though, if he's to earn a more consistent role in meaningful games.
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#34 Jordan Pefok
He looked like he could be the guy in Qatar before the goals dried up, but Pefok is still very much part of this player pool.
Union Berlin are in the hunt right at the top of the Bundesliga, with Pefok scoring several key goals early in the season. He'll need to rediscover that form to remain in contention, but it'll be hard to keep out a Bundesliga winner if Union can go and pull this off.
#35 Taylor Booth
If he keeps up this form, Booth will be rising up this list.
The 21-year-old midfielder has broken through with Utrecht after making the move away form Bayern Munich, earning Eredivisie Player of the Month in November. The move to the Netherlands has given Booth the opportunity he never got at Bayern and, at least so far, he's run with it.
Internationally, Booth was called into USMNT camp back in 2021, but has yet to make his first senior appearance.
#36 Cade Cowell
If January camp was anything to go by, Cade Cowell's breakout may be coming soon.
The 19-year-old attacker has incredible physical gifts, having been blessed with ridiculous pace. And, in January, he showed a new level of confidence and decisiveness, looking like an absolute menace capable of putting any backline on the back foot.
Big clubs have been swirling for the San Jose Earthquakes star, who looks like a lock to get his chance this cycle.
#37 Auston Trusty
The on-loan Arsenal defender has been one of the best defenders in the Championship this season.
Trusty has made the most of his time at Birmingham City, pushing him right back into the USMNT picture.
He originally burst onto the scene as a young star with the Philadelphia Union before falling down the pecking order during his time with the Colorado Rapids, but it's safe to say that Trusty should get a look with the U.S. again soon.
#38 Jonathan Gomez
Gomez is still awaiting his La Liga debut, but he's already got some USMNT experience under his belt.
The 19-year-old full-back has two USMNT caps, and one Mexico cap, as he's already gotten a solid look at the international game. Now, he'll just have to break through at Real Sociedad, one of the best talent developers in Spanish soccer.
Look for him to feature for the U20s and U23s for the next year or two.
#39 DeJuan Jones
Another rising full-back, Jones has certainly looked the part in his two USMNT caps.
The New England Revolution star has been ever-present in MLS for the last few seasons, helping push him onto the radar for the USMNT. He's a player that should get some more chances heading into 2026, especially after impressing in January camp.
#40 James Sands
Sands is back with NYCFC after his loan at Rangers was cut short, so we'll have to see how he develops over the next few years.
Does he start as a center-back, a midfielder or both? Does Europe come calling or does he remain in MLS? Is his versatility an asset to the new USMNT coach or a hindrance as it leaves him without a defined position?
All are big questions to be answered over the next three years.
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#41 Ethan Horvath
His form has been up-and-down, but Horvath is still a part of the goalkeeping pool.
He was a hero against Mexico in the Nations League and has long been seen as a good locker room guy, helping him book his spot in Qatar. He's had good and bad moments while on loan at Luton Town and his next move will be a big one as Nottingham Forest will need to make a call one way or another.
Still, he's just 27 and not yet in his goalkeeping prime, although there are several other young shotstoppers in the mix coming for his spot.
#42 Kevin Paredes
Another American in the Bundesliga, but Paredes is already making waves at Wolfsburg.
He's found a role with the team on the left, and his versatility could be key for both club and country in the years to come. He can play anywhere down the left side, from left-wing to left-back, and has even moonlighted as a central player at times.
The big question is where Paredes actually ends up positionally, as being a jack of all trades can only take you so far. If he can lock down consistent minutes as, say a left-back, it'll bode well for the USMNT.
#43 Gianluca Busio
He's fallen way, way down the pecking order since moving to Venezia, but there's still so much time for Busio to dig himself out of this.
The 20-year-old midfielder's move to Serie A didn't take off like anyone thought and he'll need to figure that out sooner or later as Venezia could very well tumble down to the third division in Italy if things don't bounce their way.
Busio's time in MLS proved that he is a good player. It may just come down to finding a better place and a different level to showcase that.
#44 Paxton Pomykal
After missing almost the entirety of 2020, Pomykal is seemingly fully fit and back to the level he showed in his 2019 breakout season. The question is how much further he can take it.
He's expected to be a key player for FC Dallas going forward, and for good reason. Pomykal is a talented central midfielder who is comfortable enough to progress the ball.
Assuming he's in good form in MLS, he'll be in and around the national team picture.
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#45 Jordan Morris
He divides USMNT fans and he'll be in his 30s by the time the World Cup rolls around, but Morris will likely be in contention for selection for a bit longer.
The Seattle Sounders star remains a good, reliable, direct option off the bench and, when healthy, he remains a top attacker in MLS. His health, obviously, is key in all of this, as his legs have a lot of wear and tear.
He may very well get passed by a younger attacker at some point soon, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see Morris play early in the cycle.
#46 Reggie Cannon
It's easy to forget that Cannon is just 24, considering the fact that it feels like he's been around for a while. Still, he's growing with Boavista and could certainly feature for the U.S. after missing out on a trip to Qatar.
Cannon will be one of the players most hard done by missing out, but that doesn't mean his national team career is over by any stretch. He still very well could be an answer at right-back or, perhaps, on the right side of a back three.
#47 Caden Clark
Clark has finally arrived in RB Leipzig. Now, we'll have to see how long it takes for him to break through.
The midfielder has plenty of potential and lots of fight in him, which bodes well for a young player trying to make his way in Europe. His time with the New York Red Bulls included flashes of brilliance but also plenty of quieter moments as he dealt with injury issues and some inconsistency.
Leipzig aren't an easy team to break into, but the club clearly sees something in him. He'll get his chances with U.S. youth teams, most likely, and then he'll go from there.
#48 Bryan Reynolds
Just a few years ago, Reynolds was seen as the USMNT right-back of the future. And now, despite being just 21, Reynolds has already faced a whole bunch of adversity.
He was bought by Roma and never really fit in, prompting two loan spells to the Belgian league. Now with Westerlo, he's getting consistent minutes, which at this point in his career, is all that matters for a player whose talent simply needs a bit more time to shine through on the field.
The point is this: it would be silly to write off a 21-year-old defender that many once viewed so highly.
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#49 Josh Wynder
If you want to invest early, now is a good time to buy Josh Wynder stock.
The Louisville City center-back is drawing interest in Europe and, once he turns 18 this summer, will almost certainly head abroad. He's been compared to Virgil van Dijk and has gotten good professional experience in the USL.
It's still too early to truly project what a 17-year-old defender will look like in three years, but the potential is certainly there. He's likely one for the U20s or U23s, but it wouldn't be shocking to see a USMNT call-up at some point this cycle.
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#50 Matthew Hoppe
Another player that desperately needs to find a home at club level.
Hoppe has bounced from Schalke to Mallorca to Middlesbrough to, now, Hibernian as the young striker has already become a bit of a nomad over in Europe. His failure to find the right club situation has led to a stunt in his development since he emerged as a star of the future in the Bundesliga.
Hoppe needs good, consistent minutes and, if all goes well, a few goals to get his confidence back if he's to return to the USMNT picture.
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#51 Folarin Balogun?
Balogun has a big decision on his hands, but should he choose the USMNT, he would instantly go straight toward the top of the list.
The on-loan Arsenal striker has dominated Ligue 1 this season and would finally give the U.S. a real answer at the No.9 spot. However, he's played with England for the entirety of his international career thus far and, technically, he could also still feature for Nigeria.
Bringing in Balogun would be a massive, massive deal that could change the USMNT's path to 2026 in a big way.