The U.S. men's national team's 2023 summer schedule is now over. They lifted a Nations League trophy, topping Mexico and Canada in memorable wins, but then a heavily-rotated team fell short in the Gold Cup. There's still plenty left to do this year, though, from Gregg Berhalter's first matches back in charge against Uzbekistan and Oman, friendlies against Germany and Ghana and then some Nations League matches to close the year.
There's plenty of soccer to be played this year, of course, and plenty of storylines left to unfold, from Berhalter's initial lineup decisions to a series of major transfers. Still, from the moment Panama's final penalty kick hit the back of the net in the Gold Cup on Wednesday night, all eyes turned towards one thing: the Copa America.
South America's premier tournament is coming stateside in 2024 and, while participants still haven't been confirmed as we await results from the Nations League, it's a safe bet to assume the U.S. will be there.
The Copa America is very much the USMNT's big moment this cycle, the one real chance for this team to get competitive fixtures on the road to 2026. With no World Cup qualifying necessary and big-time friendlies far less common than in years past, the U.S. won't have many big moments to truly prepare for the world's biggest tournament hitting home soil.
Because of that, the Copa America is paramount. Berhalter and co. will get the chance to go against opponents like Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile and the list goes on. Running the gauntlet of South American teams will be difficult, for sure, but there is confidence that the U.S. can make some sort of run when the tournament gets going next summer.
Picking a squad won't be easy, and much can change over the next year. There's also the added complication of the 2024 Olympics, which could see several of the USMNT's younger stars and seasoned veterans head to Paris rather than compete in the Copa America. It remains to be seen how the USMNT will balance it all, but the team's top stars will no doubt be on full display against South America's finest next summer.
With that said, GOAL takes a look at what the USMNT lineup could look like and which players could jump into the XI by next summer:
(Players with * are also Olympic eligible)