FIFA Men's World Cup
USMNT Stock Watch: Ferreira stars, Reyna injured as players return to clubs
FIFA Men's World Cup

USMNT Stock Watch: Ferreira stars, Reyna injured as players return to clubs

Updated Apr. 12, 2022 3:41 p.m. ET

By Doug McIntyre
FOX Sports Soccer Writer

While the tall task of returning to the World Cup following an eight-year absence has been completed for the United States Men’s National Team, there’s plenty more work to be done.

With just more than seven months until the 2022 tournament kicks off, U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter must determine which players to take with him to Qatar. Beyond the roster locks such as Tyler Adams, Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie, who does and doesn’t make the final squad will largely come down to how well players are performing with their clubs.

Several U.S. regulars were rested when they returned to their teams after the physically and emotionally draining final round of World Cup qualifying duty. But the majority of the player pool was back in action in Europe and MLS last weekend, now with an added incentive to show well.


Here’s a look at how they did and what it means for the USMNT across different areas of the field.


The situation in net somehow is more vexing than it was a month ago. Zack Steffen played every minute for the U.S. in March, and while he was good against Mexico and Panama, he was not in the 2-0 loss in Costa Rica. Steffen’s spilled cross led directly to the second Ticos goal.

Meanwhile, Matt Turner still hasn’t made his 2022 MLS debut because of a broken foot. Ethan Horvath — who received his first call-up in nine months in March after Turner’s injury — is again the backup for English second-tier side Nottingham Forest, apparently having lost his place after starting and playing well in four straight before last month’s international break. Sean Johnson of New York City FC is currently the only USMNT keeper playing every week.

Steffen could feature for Manchester City in Saturday’s FA Cup semifinal against Liverpool. It could also be his last club appearance of 2021-22. The 27-year-old presumptive U.S. No. 1 seems likely to get four games with the USMNT in June (two friendlies plus CONCACAF Nations League group stage encounters vs. El Salvador and Grenada). Still, as we’ve said before, only a loan will ensure that Steffen gets the pre-World Cup reps he needs.


Three of the projected four World Cup starters — left back Antonee "Jedi" Robinson  plus central defenders Miles Robinson and Walker Zimmerman — continue to excel for Fulham, Atlanta United and Nashville SC, respectively. The fourth, right back Sergiño Dest (hamstring injury), is close to returning for Barcelona, Barca coach Xavi said last week.

The discussion here is really about the reserves. First question: Who is Jedi’s understudy?  

"Left back could be a position where the reserves haven’t established themselves yet," Berhalter admitted the morning after the U.S. qualified, adding his hope that George Bello and Sam Vines "continue to develop with their clubs."

But Bello didn’t dress for Arminia Bielefeld last week, and he didn’t leave the bench in Saturday’s 4-0 loss to Wolfsburg. The same day, Vines logged 90 for Royal Antwerp for the first time since Feb. 5.

Other potential left back options include Wolfsburg’s Kevin Parades (who subbed in at left midfield against Arminia), as well as the New England Revolution’s DeJuan Jones and Borussia Monchengladbach’s Joe Scally, both natural righties. One (or more) of those four could earn a look in June. 

There’s more certainty on the right, with DeAndre Yelin (Miami) and Reggie Cannon (Boavista) continuing to start regularly at club level.

At center back, Aaron Long has played all but 33 minutes of the New York Red Bulls' first six matches. Chris Richards (ankle) has finally returned for Hoffenheim. Mark McKenzie went 90 in consecutive wins for Belgian side Genk, and Erik Palmer-Brown's impressive season for France’s Troyes continues.

Also worth mentioning: Out-of-favor veteran John Brooks was pretty good for Wolfsburg.


Giovanni Reyna will miss the end of Borussia Dortmund’s season after aggravating the hamstring injury that limited him to just six Bundesliga starts (and four of 14 World Cup qualifiers) in 2021-22. Reyna has been used primarily on the wing with the USMNT but could occupy a central playmaking role — the position he mans for Dortmund — at the World Cup.

The 19-year-old has time to recover, but Reyna’s second setback in two months is worrying. Berhalter needs Reyna, already a top U.S. attacker, on the field consistently.

In better news, Weston McKennie expects to return for Juventus this month after initially being ruled out for the season. Having McKennie healthy and available alongside Adams and Pulisic in June — the USMNT’s only extended training camp before the main event — would be huge for the team, especially if Reyna isn’t ready to go. Same for Yunus Musah, who limped out of Valencia’s 1-1 tie with Rayo Vallecano on Monday. The severity of Musah’s injury wasn’t immediately known.


Jesus Ferreira is doing his best to prove he’s Berhalter’s best option here. The FC Dallas striker scored in the 5-1 World Cup-qualifying win over Panama on March 27, then bagged two Saturday in a 3-1 win over Colorado. (Paul Arriola entered for FCD in the second half.) Ferreira’s first tally Saturday was instinctive and quick — the type of shot that’s effective at the international level, where opportunities are scarce.

With five goals in six games, Ferreira is tied for the MLS scoring lead with Mexican star Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez and USMNT-eligible FC Cincinnati striker Brandon Vázquez.

In Switzerland, Jordan Pefok notched his 23rd of the season from the penalty spot. And in Seattle, Jordan Morris had a goal and an assist for the Sounders in last week’s 3-1 CONCACAF Champions League semifinal first-leg victory over NYCFC. The series wraps Wednesday (7 p.m. ET, FS1 and the FOX Sports app).

That’s it for highlights. Brenden Aaronson is still hurt. Fellow winger Tim Weah won’t return for Lille until April 16. Ricardo Pepi’s dry spell reached 23 games overall; the 19-year-old Texan entered in the second half of Augsburg’s 1-0 defeat to Bayern in Munich. 

Matthew Hoppe didn’t play at all in Mallorca’s 1-0 upset of Spanish champ Atletico Madrid. He has played just 26 minutes in La Liga since September.

Daryl Dike suffered his second serious injury since arriving at West Brom in January, and Josh Sargent missed Norwich’s 2-0 Premier League victory over Burnley due to an ankle problem that could prevent him from making Saturday’s trip to Manchester United.

Finally, MLS and USMNT vets Jozy Altidore (Revs) and Gyasi Zardes (Columbus), deployed mostly as subs early this season, have two goals between them so far.

One of the most prominent soccer journalists in North America, Doug McIntyre has covered United States men’s and women’s national teams in more than a dozen countries, including multiple FIFA World Cups. Before joining FOX Sports, the New York City native was a staff writer for Yahoo Sports and ESPN. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.


Get more from FIFA Men's World Cup Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more