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Konrad De La Fuente: “The USMNT can win a World Cup”

Konrad de la Fuente has big dreams, which is what you would expect from a teenager trying to make it at FC Barcelona. His dreams aren’t limited to just making it with one of the best teams in the world though.

De La Fuente has his sights set on the sport’s biggest prize.

The 18-year-old American has visions of a world championship, and while he has yet to make his U.S. Men’s National Team debut, De La Fuente believes he and the USMNT can win a world title.

“My goal with the national team is to win a World Cup,” De La Fuente said in an interview with ESPN. “That’s my personal goal. Everyone has their own and, for me, it’s to win a World Cup. I definitely think it can happen. If we continue to grow in our clubs in Europe, I think we can do something special.”

De La Fuente has yet to debut for the Catalan giants, but has worked his way up to Barcelona B this season, making three appearances and scoring a game-winning goal before earning a call-up to train with the Barcelona first team. He had recorded five goals and two assists in 18 combined appearances with the Under-19 team prior to his promotion to Barcelona B.

The 18-year-old Miami native will have to wait for his senior debut on a Barcelona side that features superstars Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Antoine Griezmann leading the attack. Ansu Fati’s positive impact however as a young player should give De La Fuente hope heading into the future.

“You feel like you have to be really, really, really well prepared,” De La Fuente added. “It’s the best team in the world and [Messi’s] the best player in the world — probably ever. Knowing you will be playing with him, you feel like you need to be extra to fit in. That’s the hard part. But I like the challenge, it doesn’t bother me.

“I don’t really feel the pressure. [Making the first team] is something I want to do, so I push myself hard to make it happen. It would be incredible. Everyone back in the States would see that it’s possible. If you actually work hard and are confident in yourself, take your opportunities, you can reach whatever goal you set yourself.”


  1. I like that he thinks the USA can win the World Cup. Any player who thinks he can be on the USMNT should think the same thing.

    You may fairly argue that his aspirations are unrealistic, but you cannot fault him for having them. I would take a player who has grand ambitions over a player who just wants to fit into an average team any day.

  2. Is making the Barcelona B team and then getting promoted to the first team, even if not playing, good enough to warrant a look by the USMNT? i think the answer is yes. Has anyone here actually seen him play?

    • GP if you’re strictly asking about Barcelona B- no! If you’re talking the last U20 WC- yes! He has a ton of highlight videos on Utube. Step overs, juke moves, goals, dribbling, nutmegs, his ball skills is all there on display. I don’t think GB, values Barcelona B very high, like the some of us.

    • between USYNT, Barca B, and u19 UEFA Youth League, i’ve probably seen a good 20 hrs or so of him playing in the last couple of years.
      my take on KDLF:
      technically gifted but tends to run out of of ideas on the ball sometimes.
      when he makes quick decisions he looks great- especially in combination play on counters, but sometimes he puts his head down and scrambles to beat as many sets of feet as he can until he loses the ball.
      also seems to get stuck in the corner quite a bit- although he often earns a corner when that happens.
      very talented young player but nowhere near getting a shot at Barca’s first team.
      he’s several seasons of loans and development away from that, if ever.

      could he help MNT, though?
      yeah maybe.
      good enough for a call-up and definitely better than some who have been called up.

      • Does anyone else picture East sitting in a large leather desk chair facing wall consisting of 20 large screen TVs tuned to soccer 24/7? Thanks for all your insight and ability to cut through the hype.

      • lol Johnny.
        that’s exactly how i picture me if i ever win Powerball!
        for now i make due with one medium sized TV, two small TVs, two Rokus, a laptop, and a kindle.

      • East where do you rate Konrad in this group Llanez, Weah, Reyna, Mendez, Gioacchini, and Ledezma?
        Then a much harder question where is he compared to Morris, Boyd, Arriola, Lewis and Saucedo? If we had a match that we needed to win.

      • assuming everyone is healthy i guess i’d rate KDLF in the 3rd tier with Ledezma and Arriola.
        1st tier would be Reyna, Weah, and Morris
        2nd tier: Llanez, Boyd, and Gioacchini
        4th tier: Mendez, Lewis, Saucedo

      • here’s another observation i’d make about those dozen names:
        Arriola, Morris, and.. Boyd? are the only ones where we know what we’re getting for the most part in a USMNT shirt.
        maybe a little regarding Lewis, too.
        the rest of them are total wildcards who could easily mess up my tier system with a few consecutive outstanding (or poor) performances.

      • And that’s why the play the kids strategy would be so risky. My list would be very similar to yours. Of course this list could get very long Sabbi, Ebobisse (although I think he’s a better CF) Pomykal played wing for U20s and in a limited appearance against Uruguay and some guy named Jonathan Amon who we haven’t seen in forever. I’d maybe drop Lewis in with Corey Baird into the 5th tier. I was excited by Lewis a couple years ago when he came in for NYCFC but we’re three years later and your still just a “super sub” for a mid table team in MLS how are you going to help the NT. I like the highlights of Gioacchini but how do you rate guys in Ligue 2 compared to Denmark or Dutch 2 or Sweden or League One. That’s why US Soccer hasn’t hired me I guess.

      • i try to avoid looking at it as kids vs vets.
        i think of lock-down starters for USMNT in meaningful matches, and i really only come up with a few names:
        Pulisic, Dest, Brooks… and maybe Steffen.
        beyond that, it’s a game of form for me.
        as in: who is playing well right now?
        i’m not an advocate of isolationist team building. that’s great for NTs with small pools (like ours used to be) but i think it’s the wrong approach for NTs with enormous (albeit mediocre) pools like ours is now.
        right now, for USMNT, i’m a big fan of establishing a core of 6 or 7 guys (we’re 2 or 3 guys short of that, imo) and going with the current hot hands beyond that on a window-by-window basis.

  3. We have a number of talented young players/prospects in the pipeline right now. If these kids continue their development we should have a very potent attack in a year or 2….
    Pulisic, Sargent, Reyna, Weah, Llanez, De La Fuente, Ledezma, Mendez, Saucedo
    Adams, McKennie, Pomykal, Otasowie Cappis, Aaronson, Vassilev,

    Past experience has shown that not all of these players will reach their full potential. Injuries, poor club decisions, etc, will have an impact. But in 30+ years of watching USMNT this is the best outlook I can remember for our attack & Midfield. Just wish we had a few more strikers in the mix.

    • A year or 2 is a reach for our attacking talent to show. Looking at the age of most of those guys we’re another 4-5 years away from most of them hitting their prime. WC 2026 actually has some promise!
      If a handful of those guys can develop and stay healthy they have the highest ceiling of any young group we have seen. We can’t forget that we’ve been similarly hyped up by the Adu, Altidore, Rogers, Zizzo U-20 attack from over a decade ago. I’d say Pulisic, McKennie, Adams and Reyna look safe bets to be high level players for a long time but the rest are still way too raw to project as USMNT players.

      • Dest has become a regular starter for a pretty good team usually in the Champions League (semi-finalists last year). I think he and Llanez are at least 50/50 to join your group of safe bets.

      • I am usually one of the first to remind people to temper expectations for young players. But with Pulisic, Sargent, Reyna, & Saucedo…they are already seeing significant minutes with their clubs. Weah was on the brink of being a significant contributor before his injury…and should be primed for a breakout when he returns (as long as he stays healthy).
        Ledezma & Llanez are nearing inclusion with their clubs 1st teams….
        Adams & McKennie are already prominent parts of their clubs that are in the top half of major leagues. Cappis & Pomykal are prominent parts of their clubs an should be targets for larger clubs/leagues in the near future.

        I agree that these players won’t hit their prime/peak until the 2026 WC cycle….but the fact remains that most of these players are already better than the players we had in the last cycle and are better positioned than any group since Donovan, Beasley, & O’Brian in 2002.

    • Gary he’s only played 4 times for Barca B in the 3rd Division, I watched his 10 minutes in the game he scored. They used him as a lone forward, and just hit hopeful balls to him. Goal came off a long ball that Konrad beat his man to and dribbled a ways before drilling it past the keeper. It looks like the Barca B full matches are on YouTube. I searched by Barca b vs (opponent name) 2020 and had to scroll a bit to find them but that was on the phone so it might be easier with a computer.

      • Good call on Dest. Llanez is the definition of too early to call. We really need to see a good amount of pro level appearances. Before that is all potential without substance. Too many variables to bet on a kid without pro experience.
        That is one key thing that is different about this young generation of talent. We have had loads of young guys doing great in youth teams in the past. This group listed above are already playing at the highest levels in three world.

      • Upon further investigation Barca’s striker got a second yellow and the guy the subbed on to play there got injured so that’s why Konrad was playing as a CF and why Barca had none of the ball. Watching his 21 minutes vs Villarreal B. Has had a couple unrewarded runs and couple poor crosses so good and bad. Kind of seems just to want to get to the end line against this older competition. Barca B moved their two CFs in January which sparked Konrad’s inclusion as an attacker with the team but in Feb. they favored a couple Spanish teenagers. Transfermkt doesn’t list him on the Barca B roster so they wouldn’t report if there was an injury. Doesn’t look as polished as Reyna and Llanez doesn’t mean he couldn’t pass both just not call up worthy today. Olympics could have been big for him. He looks like a man amongst boys in U19s and a teenager amongst men for Barca B, but that’s from watching 40sh of his 112 minutes.

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