Preview: World Cup-Bound USMNT Kicks Off Qatar Prep With Friendly Vs. Morocco In Cincinnati – U.S. Soccer

CHICAGO (May 31, 2022) – After qualifying for the FIFA World Cup this spring, the U.S. Men’s National Team will kick off its preparation for Qatar 2022 against African powerhouse Morocco. USA-Morocco marks the first of three final pre-World Cup home games and the first of six matches the USMNT will play before heading to Qatar in November.
 
Wednesday’s kickoff from TQL Stadium in Cincinnati is set for 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2, UniMas, TUDN).
 
Morocco, currently ranked 24th in the world, is one of five African nations to qualify for this winter’s World Cup. The Atlas Lions are facing the USA before beginning its qualifying campaign for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.
 
 
GOALKEEPERS (3): Ethan Horvath (Nottingham Forest/ENG; 7/0), Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 9/0), Matt Turner (New England Revolution; 16/0)
 
DEFENDERS (9): George Bello (Arminia Bielefeld/GER; 6/0), Reggie Cannon (Boavista/POR; 24/1), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic/SCO; 8/0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 23/3), Erik Palmer-Brown (Troyes/FRA; 3/0), Antonee Robinson (Fulham/ENG; 25/2), Joe Scally (Borussia Mönchengladbach/GER; 0/0), DeAndre Yedlin (Inter Miami; 73/0), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; 28/3)
 
MIDFIELDERS (7): Kellyn Acosta (LAFC; 51/2), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig/GER; 27/1), Luca de la Torre (Heracles/NED; 7/0), Weston McKennie (Juventus/ITA; 31/9), Yunus Musah (Valencia/ESP; 16/0), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders; 31/0), Malik Tillman (Bayern Munich/GER; 0/0)
 
FORWARDS (7): Brenden Aaronson (Leeds United/ENG; 18/5), Paul Arriola (FC Dallas; 44/9), Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas; 9/3), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders; 46/10), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG; 48/21), Tim Weah (Lille/FRA; 22/2), Haji Wright (Antalyaspor/TUR; 0/0)


Two changes have been made since the initial announcement of the USMNT roster on May 20. Veteran goalkeeper Sean Johnson was added to the squad after Zack Steffen had to withdraw from camp due to family reasons. Midfielder Djordje Mihailovic suffered an ankle injury during CF Montreal’s 4-3 win against FC Cincinnati on May 28 and was also forced to withdraw from the roster on Monday.
 
Date
Opponent
Venue
Result/Time (ET)
TV Info
Wednesday, June 1
Morocco
TQL Stadium; Cincinnati, Ohio
7:30 p.m. ET
ESPN2, UniMas, TUDN
Sunday, June 5
Uruguay
Children’s Mercy Park; Kansas City, Kan.
5 p.m. ET
Fox, Univision, TUDN
Friday, June 10
Grenada – Concacaf Nations League
Q2 Stadium; Austin, Texas
10 p.m. ET
ESPN+, UniMas, TUDN
Tuesday, June 14
El Salvador – Concacaf Nations League
Estadio Cuscatlan; San Salvador, El Salvador
10 p.m. ET
FS1, Univision, TUDN

WORLD CUP BOUND

The U.S. successfully completed the gauntlet of Concacaf qualifying in March, clinching its berth to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar on the final matchday. In what promises to be one of the toughest groups in the tournament, the USMNT was drawn into Group B alongside the final UEFA play-off winner (one of Ukraine, Wales or Scotland, to be determined this international window), 2020 European Championship runner-up England, and IR Iran.
 
The USA will have six preparation matches before heading to Qatar in November – these four during the June international window plus two additional friendlies in September. The trio of June matches on U.S. soil represent the USMNT’s final home games before the World Cup, with the June 10 match vs. Grenada in Austin serving as the team’s final send-off before Qatar 2022.
 
USMNT fans will be thrilled to see Weston McKennie’s name back on the roster. After suffering a broken foot in the 1-1 draw against Villarreal on Feb. 22 in the UEFA Champions League, the midfielder returned to play on May 21, coming off the bench in Juventus season finale against Fiorentina. 
 
After long layoffs from the USMNT, two players’ stellar club form have propelled them back to the National Team: defender Cameron Carter-Vickers and forward Haji Wright. Carter-Vickers last played for the USA in 2019 and made eight appearances for the USA after earning his first cap in November 2017. On loan at Celtic, the center back anchored the Scottish giants to the league title and a League Cup championship.
 
Wright is on a red-hot scoring streak for Antalyaspor in the Turkish Süper Lig, tallying in seven of the team’s final eight matches and netting 14 goals on the season. A regular with the U-17 Men’s Youth National Team during the 2014-15 cycle, Wright has never appeared for the senior USMNT but was called into a summer training camp in May 2019.
 
Bayern Munich midfielder Malik Tillman is the lone player on the roster receiving his first call-up to the senior USMNT. A dual national of the United States and Germany, Tillman officially became eligible to represent the United States after FIFA approved his one-time change of association request on Monday.
 
Tillman played for the U-15 Men’s Youth National Team in 2016 and has since appeared at a number of levels in Germany’s Youth National Team set-up as recently as March 2022. The 19-year-old made seven appearances for the 2021-22 Bundesliga champions this season, while spending most of his time with Bayern II in the fourth-division Regionalliga.
 
A number of USMNT players abroad head into camp with new silverware as the European club season comes to a close. Forward Brenden Aaronson helped Red Bull Salzburg win the Austrian Bundesliga and Austrian Cup earlier this month, while defender Antonee Robinson and Fulham won the English Championship in convincing fashion, earning promotion to the Premier League for the 2022-23 season.
 
In Germany, Bayern Munich midfielder Malik Tillman won the Bundesliga title while Tyler Adams lifted the DFB Pokal with RB Leipzig. This weekend, goalkeeper Ethan Horvath and Nottingham Forest earned promotion to the Premier League with a tightly-contested victory in the Championship Playoff Final against Huddersfield Town.
 
Additionally, forward Jordan Morris and midfielder Cristian Roldan helped the Seattle Sounders become the first MLS club to capture the Concacaf Champions League title earlier this month, topping Liga MX’s Pumas 5-2 in the two-legged final.
 
The USMNT was by far the youngest team to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, garnering valuable experience going through the rigors of World Cup qualifying. Through 14 qualifiers, the team’s average age of players that appeared was 24.07. The next closest was Ecuador, whose average age of all players during their 18 qualifying matches came in at 25.81.
 
 
The USMNT played its final three World Cup qualifying matches during the March international window, earning three crucial results to punch its ticket to Qatar. Things kicked off against archrival Mexico at El Tri’s famed home fortress, Estadio Azteca. The USA earned a crucial point in Mexico City, drawing 0-0 and extending its unbeaten streak vs. Mexico in official competition to a record four matches.
 
In its final home game of the Octagonal, the USMNT delivered an emphatic 5-1 win against Panama to reach the brink of World Cup qualification. Playing in front of a raucous, sell-out crowd in Orlando, Fla., forward Christian Pulisic netted a hat trick while FC Dallas teammates Paul Arriola and Jesûs Ferreira also added goals.
 
On the final matchday of World Cup qualifying, the USA traveled to Costa Rica with the chance to qualify with a win, draw, or loss by less than six goals. Despite the 2-0 defeat, the USMNT earned its berth to Qatar with a third-place finish in the Octagonal standings.
 
 
 
 
GOALKEEPERS (3): Yassine Bounou (Sevilla/ESP; 40/0), Munir El Kajoui (Hatayspor/TUR; 43/0), Anas Zniti (Raja Casablanca; 5/0)
 
DEFENDERS (10): Nayef Aguerd (Rennes/FRA; 19/1), Sofiane Alakouch (Metz/FRA; 3/0), Yahia Attiyat Allah (Wydad Casablanca; 1/0), Sofian Chakla (OH Leuven/BEL; 4/0). Mohamed Chibi (AS FAR; 1/0), Jawad El Yamiq (Valladolid/ESP; 11/2), Achraf Hakimi (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA; 48/8), Adam Masina (Watford/ENG; 14/0, Sammy Mmaee (Ferencvaros/HUN; 8/0), Romain Saïss (Wolverhampton/ENG; 60/1)
 
MIDFIELDERS (7): Selim Amallah (Standard Liege/BEL; 19/4), Sofyan Amrabat (Fiorentina/ITA; 34/0), Aymen Barkok (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER; 17/1), Ilias Chair (Queens Park Rangers/ENG; 8/1), Fayçal Fajr (Sivasspor/TUR; 48/3), Azzedine Ounahi (Angers/FRA; 4/2), Adel Taarabt (Benfica/POR; 29/4)


FORWARDS (7): Zakaria Aboukhlal (AZ Alkmaar/NED; 9/2), Munir El Haddadi (Sevilla/ESP; 11/2), Ayoub El Kaabi (Hatayspor/TUR); 20/7), Youssef En-Nesyri (Sevilla/ESP; 45/12), Amine Harit (Marseille/FRA; 11/0), Soufiane Rahimi (Al-Ain/UAE; 4/0), Tarik Tissoudali (Gent/BEL; 6/2)
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