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The USMNT will travel to Qatar in less than a week as the 26 players named to Gregg Berhalter’s 2022 World Cup squad were announced at a special event in New York on Wednesday.

[ MORE: World Cup 2022 hub ]

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After missing the 2018 tournament in Russia and spending eight years in the international football wilderness, the Yankees are just 12 days away from their first game against Wales.

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Players like Christian Pulisic, Tyler Adams, Weston McKenny, Gio Reina and Brenden Aaronsohn top the 26-man list to be the youngest team (on average) at the 2022 World Cup.

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[ MORE: Everything you need to know for the World Cup in Qatar ]

Of course, many questions remain unanswered…

Who will start in the center of defense? Who will start ahead? Will all their stars be in full form to face Wales, England and Iran in Group B?

Given the recent results and performances, there is a lot of pressure on Berhalter and the USMNT needs to get started quickly.

USMNT roster for 2022 World Cup approved

GoalkeepersCast: Ethan Horvath, Sean Johnson, Matt Turner

DefendersCast: Cameron Carter-Vickers, Serginho Dest, Aaron Long, Shaq Moore, Tim Rome, Anthony Robinson, Joe Scully, DeAndre Yedlin, Walker Zimmerman

MidfieldersCast: Brenden Aaronson, Kellin Acosta, Tyler Adams, Luca de la Torre, Weston McKenny, Yunus Musa, Christian Roldan

forwardsCast: Jesus Ferreira, Jordan Morris, Christian Pulisic, Gio Reyna, Josh Sargent, Tim Weah, Hadji Wright

Who was not chosen, and what were the big dilemmas?

GoalkeepersStory by: Zach Steffen

DefendersCast: Chris Richards (injury), John Brooks, Reggie Cannon, Mark McKenzie, Sam Vines (injury), Eric Palmer-Brown

Midfielders: Nobody

forwardsCast: Ricardo Pepi, Jordan Pefok

The same areas that have been a problem for the past few years: centre-back and striker. Walker Zimmerman will start at centre-back, but a place next to him is in question due to Miles Robinson’s injury. Aaron Long was in trouble, and Chris Richards and Cameron Carter-Vickers had injuries last month so they couldn’t get valuable reps along with Zimmerman. Richards has since confirmed that he will not be ready for the World Cup. Veteran Tim Rome has been drafted given his excellent form at Fulham and right now he is likely to start alongside Zimmerman.

There is a huge debate ahead around Jordan Pefok. Most fans think he should be called out, but Berhalter didn’t call him out and Josh Sargent was preferred over Ricardo Pepi and Hadji Wright was preferred over Pefok in a big shock. Jesús Ferreira seems to have jersey #9 at the moment, but the USMNT has really lacked a clinical finisher since the heydays of Clint Dempsey, Josie Altidore and Landon Donovan. This is a big problem and perhaps one of the many talented attacking midfielders they have could play in a false nine?

What players were on the bubble?

It was a big surprise that Zach Steffen didn’t make the roster as Matt Turner is now the undisputed No. 1, but Steffen was the next player. Instead, Sean Johnson and Ethan Horvath were given other goaltending positions in the roster. Steffen played for Berhalter in the Columbus Crew and has been a key part of the USMNT for the past four years. But he is not going to Qatar.

Tim Rome is having a great season at Fulham and while Berhalter has said he wants something different from a centre-back, he’s in business. Eric Palmer-Brown was right on the bubble.

Luca de la Torre is injured but almost recovered so he got ahead of Johnny Cardoso, Malik Tillman and Christian Roldan came as a surprise.

Jordan Pefok, Ricardo Pepi and Paul Arriola were big losers here. Jordan Morris, Hadji Wright and Josh Sargent were ahead of them, but in all these situations it was a coin toss. Arriola and Pepi scored in key qualifying moments but will not travel to Qatar.

LONDON. Fresh from another superb performance for Fulham, veteran Tim Rome beamed as he stood outside Craven Cottage with USMNT center returning to the World Cup.

Against all odds, he’s going to the biggest tournament on the planet to represent the US.

[ MORE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch live, scores, hub ]

Rome, 35, was a surprise inclusion in Gregg Berhalter’s World Cup squad, given he hadn’t been called up in over a year and the USMNT head coach seemed to prefer a different type of centre-back.

But he’s been so good in the Premier League for Fulham this season that he just couldn’t be ignored and with the USMNT in big trouble with centre-back (and centre-forward) ahead of this World Cup, could Rome be an unlikely hero for the US. in Qatar?

You know that players like Christian Pulisic, Brenden Aaronsohn and Gio Reina will be effective offensively, but defensively the USMNT is in big trouble, especially with injuries to Miles Robinson and Chris Richards.

Rome is in the shape of his life, has an incredible experience and will be a calming influence on this young American team. For most USMNT fans, he should start at the World Championship.

As always, humble ProSoccerTalk caught up with an admiring Rome just before a taxi took him and Fulham teammate Anthony Robinson to the airport and then on to Qatar.

Why Tim Rome should start in the USA

What does he expect from the World Cup?

“Of course I would like to take the field,” said Rome. “Expectations as a team, I think you go to any tournament wanting to win. That’s what we want to do and I’m looking forward to doing my part and helping the team win.”

Rome downplays the role he could play in Qatar and Walker Zimmerman’s place as a right centre-back is blocked and a place next to him is on the wanted list. Rome should have a starting point left center ahead of Aaron Long and Cameron Carter-Vickers.

Have you watched any Fulham games lately? Then you know why we want him in the roster,” USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter said when asked about Rome’s inclusion. “He is the best player for his team. It’s very hard to ignore things like that… For me, all things are connected to get him back in the team and for me there is a difference between qualifying for CONCACAF and playing in the World Cup. Tim, judging by the level at which he plays, he is ready to play in the World Cup. To be sure.”

As the numbers below from Fulham’s match against Manchester United show (Rome also almost scored a header, but David de Gea turned him down), he has…


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