Previewing the USMNT’s Copa America Group

Gregg Berhalter’s side will have a momentous occasion to prove that they are more than just promise. It’s make or break time for the United States in Copa America. 

The time for the talking is over. Next June, the 2024 Copa America will kick off in the United States, and it will virtually be the only time we will get to see the U.S. men’s national team consistently play opponents of the caliber that they will face in the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Gregg Berhalter has been at the helm of the team since 2018, and while he has won two international titles and got to the round of 16 in the last World Cup, his tactics, team selection, and style of play have been questioned time after time.

Berhalter at times seems alone responsible for why a group of talented yet at times flaky Americans seem to have reached a ceiling, but Copa America will be his chance to prove that his work is still not done.

In the process, the USMNT will be looking for its biggest win or wins under its manager, who has a record of 41-13-12 with the national team. The gaudy record is padded with wins against CONCACAF opposition and no real victories over first tier national teams.

While not entirely USSF’s or Berhalter’s fault, the schedule congestion has left the team little wiggle room to play marquee opposition. This makes the Copa America much more relevant and important for the 2026 cycle.

Looking back, the U.S. has had great memories in Copa America. In 1995 in Uruguay, the team made it to a semifinal showdown with Brazil after defeating Argentina in the group stage and Mexico in the quarterfinals. That magical run set the U.S. up perfectly just before the start of MLS, and proved that 1994 was no fluke.

2016 was held in the United States, and Jürgen Klinsmann did lead the team to the semifinals once again, but it was a jaded run. The U.S. was manhandled by Colombia in its first game, but rebounded against Costa Rica and Paraguay to advance to the knockout round. After defeating a historically bad Copa America participant Ecuador, the Americans were destroyed by Lionel Messi and Argentina in the semifinals. A better showing against Colombia was not enough and the U.S. finished fourth, only to famously fail in World Cup qualifying one year later.

Now the U.S. has a strong and talented team to think big in 2024. The roster has players in the world’s top leagues, including the Premier League, Serie A, and Bundesliga.

A semifinal run is not out of the question, and if the stars align and the U.S. truly want to send a message, going for broke and winning the Copa America would go a long way in cementing Berhalter once and for all and truly opening the door of the USMNT’s golden generation.

With the groups at the 2024 Copa America set, let’s take a look at who the U.S. will be lining up against.

BoliviaBolivia will seek that World Cup qualification that has not come for 32 years. Photo: FBF

The USMNT should have no issues in defeating Bolivia in their opener on June 23. Bolivia are next-to-last in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying and losers of four of their last five qualifying matches. With a depleted player pool, the U.S. must defeat the Bolivians to stand a chance in the group.


Panama will be no push over. Winners of their last four games and undefeated in seven matches, Panama could be a serious threat for the U.S. and Uruguay.

Thomas Christiansen’s side is showing a lot of quality and with players in MLS, Europe, and South America, it’s a very talented squad.


Marcelo Bielsa has Uruguay playing like a fine-tooled machine. Winners against Brazil and Argentina, Uruguay is slowly changing its conservative approach to a more free-flowing game. La Celeste will be a hard test for the Americans, who have tied each other in friendlies the last two outings.

Uruguay could be a great set up for a marquee win, which the team needs badly. Also defeating Uruguay would send a shockwave throughout the pending knockout rounds.


The golden generation of U.S. Soccer will finally have a chance to prove itself next June. Look for the U.S. to make it to the semifinals, getting a win over Uruguay and one against Colombia in the knockout stage.

How the U.S. plays will be key for Berhalter, but if the team can get to the semifinals having defeated at least one team that is superior to them, it would go a long way.

While some don’t think the 2024 Copa America is a make-or-break moment for Berhalter, it is. The team who for almost three years was forced fed to us as a golden generation of players, who play for some of the best clubs in the world… it’s time to prove that the team sheet of top clubs isn’t just for show.

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