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A look at the USMNT players facing the most pressure at Copa America

Photo by Gary Rohman/MLS/USA TODAY Sports
Photo by Gary Rohman/MLS/USA TODAY Sports

The U.S. Men’s National Team will begin their Copa America journey on Friday against Colombia, but the squad’s overall performance at the tournament holds great weight for several of Jurgen Klinsmann’s players.

While top clubs will be watching some of the squad’s younger players, other contributors will be playing for a place in the USMNT going forward.

Here’s a look at which USMNT players must perform at Copa America:


The U.S. midfielder is coming off of a fantastic season at Nantes, notching five goals in 31 matches across all competitions.

At 29, Bedoya has openly discussed his future in Ligue 1, saying that he has set his sights on playing at the highest level possible.

Bedoya has shown well in the U.S.’ buildup to Copa America, notching two assists in the team’s most recent friendly against Bolivia. There’s no question that his playmaking ability will a necessity in Klinsmann’s side making a run, but a strong showing could also put Bedoya on the map for other clubs across Europe.


Alongside center back Geoff Cameron, budding star John Brooks has the opportunity to cement his place as a starting defender in the U.S. fold for years to come.

Brooks is coming off of a stellar campaign with Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin, but recent dissension between head coach Pal Dardai and the 23-year-old could force him to move on this offseason.

After facing consistent talent in Germany’s top division on a weekly basis, Brooks won’t be a stranger to high-quality opponents. If he can stand up to the pressure though, he can earn himself a look from other top clubs.


It’s easy to make the case that Yedlin’s season at Sunderland has already given him a tremendous boost in terms of how teams view him going forward, but another strong showing at Copa America could land him a big contract in England or elsewhere.

The 22-year-old showed well on loan with the Black Cats last season, growing into a talent at wing back. Now, he’ll be expected to handle the pace of opposing wingers this summer, facing top-notch sides like Colombia and Costa Rica.

Yedlin’s evolvement into a pure outside back has had its ups and downs, but his consistent play over recent months has made him the clear first-choice option at right back for Klinsmann.


2018 will likely be Dempsey’s last go around with the U.S., and the Copa America will go a long way in deciding what sort of role he plays in Russia.

Still seen as one of the most, if not the most, influential scorers in the USMNT starting lineup, Dempsey’s role as either a forward or attacking midfielder will be critical in the team’s goalscoring success.

Just last summer, Dempsey led all goalscorers at the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup with seven finishes, showing that he can still be a threat on the international stage. His challenge this summer will be continuing his efficiency in front of goal against significantly better competition.


Coming off of a disappointing season at Aston Villa, the first-choice U.S. keeper will likely be seeking a new challenge next season.

The team’s relegation to the English Championship goes beyond Guzan’s struggles, but a change of scenery certainly seems to be in the cards.

As a goalkeeper, the 31-year-old still has prime years of his career remaining, so Guzan will be looking to put together consistent performances to attract Premier League suitors.

In terms of the national team picture, Guzan is tabbed as the number one keeper for the time being, however, with Tim Howard still in the mix along with an assortment of younger talents, the veteran must prove that he is the team’s starter.


  1. If Jurgen put freaking Wondo on the bench for the last WC, Dempsey should at least get a spot in 2018 according to Klinsi logic.

  2. I would be interested to see what happens if Nagbe gets a lot of field time. If he can come out and replicate his MLS productivity on the international stage, I could see his stock rise significantly overseas.

  3. I can’t imagine that Dempsey will still be around come 2018. Really, he probably shouldn’t start this tournament. He lacks the ability to press the ball when it turns over that Wood has. Maybe he’ll have a backup role, but if Wood does well in the Bundesliga, how could you start Dempsey over him come 2018?

  4. I think that is a little odd too. Pretty sure Vela has some issues surrounding him, can’t recall exactly what those are. When Bedoya is on I like how he doesn’t hesitate to go forward and make a play. If only we could combine he and zusi in to one person.

  5. It’s very interesting that the article mentions Bedoya having a “fantastic” season with 5 goals when Carlos Vela didn’t get called up due to poor form and only having 5 goals and 4 assists. Personally I would have liked to see him in there, he seems to do well when he actually attends.


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