USMNT Unanswered Questions: Has Jesus Ferreira Closed the Early Striker’s Place?

The United States men’s national team will play its final summer match on Tuesday when it travels to El Salvador in the Concacaf Nations League game. With more than five months to go before the 2022 FIFA World Cup begins, here are five key issues facing Greg Berhalter and I think he has the most accurate answers right now.

Question 1: Is Jesus Ferreira a striker number? 1?

the answer: Yes, but by default. There is no bigger hole in this team than the striker, and that includes the center back position. In the World Cup, the United States will face teams from England, Wales and Iran who have very good options in striker. Yes, Iran too. The striker’s troubles have been going on for years since the best days of Josie Altidore. Everyone seemed to have solved the problem when Ricardo was tearing up the PPMLS, but he’s not in the squad right now because he wants to rest before a major fall for the Augsburg man. Pepi has as many goals as you and I have since mid-October, Jordan Pefok was wasting his time, and because of that we have Jesus Ferreira. His accuracy in front of the goal was far away, but he equalized the team’s record by scoring four goals for the last time. It was against a team of some semi-professionals and some boys in Grenada who have other jobs, so it should be taken with a grain of salt. However, his ability to pick up teammates and his current goal scoring form will be helpful in this regard. At the moment, he is at the forefront, but that could change in an instant.

Question 2: Where do you play Brendan Aronson?

the answer: Brendon Aronson’s talent is the key to this team, and it’s a luxury. Greg Berhalter can toss it on the wing or put it inside, and if I’m the coach, I’m bending Younes Musa with Ironson in the middle. No offense to Moses, really. Look, I’m a fan of Valencia and I’ve watched almost all of his matches. It’s a great skill, but it’s raw and it has a long way to go. His ability to get through the guards, especially when falling deep, is helpful, but it counteracts the moment he gets lost in an attack. Personally, I like Tyler Adams to sit in the depths, Weston McKinney to be close to him as an outlet, and then Ironson to attack the middle to find a place.

Question 3: What is the ideal center back pairing?

the answer: On paper, these are Walker Zimmerman and Chris Richards. But, you have to be around to get your place, and injuries have prevented Richards from making the statement he wants. I think he is likely to be the best center return for this country, but we are running out of time to make an impression on him. He’ll take his shot, but if I have to choose between the guys who are available now, I’m taking Zimmerman and Cameron Carter Wickers. I’m not saying this with the utmost confidence, but I just think the Carter-Vickers experience at Celtic gives it the upper hand. Zimmerman has been the center of choice for Berhalter and he has paid his dues. If he is healthy, he will probably start in the World Cup. I’m not sure we’ll see John Brooks again with this team until he finds his form in a new club. I would love to have the Zimmerman-Richards duo in Qatar, but anything else will make me nervous, Carter Vickers is my next choice.

Question 4: What are the major reserves of Midfield?

the answer: Assuming the midfielders are Adams, McKinney and Moses, then the key reserves should be three different types of players – one defensive, one possessive, and one creative. The team lacks a direct replacement for Adams on the defensive end, and the one I will choose is Johnny Cardoso. Although he has not sniffed the national team in a while, and does not trust any other option. For McKinney, this is probably Calvin Acosta, someone who can do a little work on both ends, albeit to a lesser extent. And when it comes to a creator, it will be Luca de la Toure, which I will start with Moses. The problem with this midfield is the lack of youngsters and veterans, but other than that, the minutes they get will boost their growth. But there will be a lot of trouble against the more established teams, so they have plenty of room to move ahead of Qatar. Midfield is in a good place, but it’s time to cement the cover and the reservoir so what’s next.

Question 5: Who is the goalkeeper?

the answer: I think Burhalter loves Zack Stephen because of the days of Columbus Crew, and he knows it very well and believes in his abilities. But the answer, right now, is Matt Turner. He’s playing more, he’s in better shape, and he’s in better health. When he moves to Arsenal this summer, it will be interesting to see what kind of minutes he actually gets. If he’s just a League Cup man and plays once a month, there’s reason to worry. I think Stephen runs on credit to try and get the minutes, but I think Turner is just a better player right now. It’s a two-horse race, and Turner is at the forefront of performance. But don’t be surprised if it’s Stephen, after all, because of his acquaintance with Berhalter.