The Best American Mens Players Of All Time
Here are the top 18 United States Mens National Team Players Of All Time.
#18. Christian Pulisic
Sure, he’ never played in a Gold Cup or a World Cup, but there’s no denying the obvious talent of padawan Pulisic. With seven goals throughout the latest qualifying cycle, the Borussia Dortmund attacker did everything in his power to get the U.S. to Russia, but, unfortunately.. You know lets just not talk about that.
#17. Kasey Keller
A regular in the Premier League, La Liga and Bundesliga, Keller’s vast experience and 102 international caps tell you everything you need to know about his quality between the sticks. His 10 saves against Brazil in America’s shock 1-0 victory at the ’98 Gold Cup also ranks as one of the finest individual performances in national team history.
#16. John O’Brien
Hugely talented but often injured, the Los Angeles native signed with Ajax as a 17-year-old and progressed through the club’s famed academy before showcasing his talents at the ’02 World Cup. With O’Brien fit, the U.S. went toe to toe with the midfields of Portugal, Mexico and Germany while frequently dominating large periods of play.
#15. Cobi Jones
The all-time leader in caps for the U.S. with 164 and a veteran of three World Cups, Jones was a stable in the player pool for 12 years. In terms of consistency, longevity and professionalism, Jones is the standard-bearer for U.S. soccer.
#14. Tab Ramos (shout out montevideo, uruguay)
Ramos appeared in three World Cups for the United States between 1990 and 1998. He suffered a fractured skull at the 1994 tournament in the USA's knockout round match against Brazil. And to come back from that is enough to be on this list
#13. John Harkes
A key player for the U.S. at the ’90 and ’94 World Cups before being controversially omitted from the ’98 squad, Harkes amassed 90 caps but is perhaps most famous for the role he played in America’s upset of Colombia on home soil — it was was his cross which led to Andres Escobar’s ill-fated own goal. RIP. His suspension for the Round of 16 encounter against Brazil for yellow card accumulation was a horrible blow to the team.
#12. Michael Bradley
Bradley’s reputation has taken a beating since a poor 2014 World Cup and a pretty horrendous 2018 World Cup qualifying cycle, but the midfield marshall is absolutely worthy of his 140 caps and 17 international goals.
He was a key performer in the U.S.’s run to the 2009 Confederations Cup Final and followed that up with some stellar play at the 2010 World Cup, including that massive game tying goal vs slovenia
#11. Tim Howard
The meme of the 2014 tournament - Howard’s legend is secure for all time after recording the record for most World Cup saves in a match, totaling 15 against Belgium during the 2014 Round of 16. The Secretary of Defense was also stellar during the 2010 tournament, turning in a Man of the Match performance against England to help the U.S. emerge from group play.
#10. Steve Cherundolo
With seven World Cup appearances, Steve Cherundolo was a key performer for the States at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups — only an injury prevented him from playing at the 2002 tournament. He played all 390 minutes at the 2010 Cup, and he famously assisted Landon Donovan on his last-minute winner against Algeria.
#9. Eric Wynalda
Wynalda played in three World Cups, and his 28-yard free kick against Switzerland at the 1994 tournament is perhaps the finest strike the USA has ever had at the World Cup finals. That’s enough to get you top 10 status.
#8. Marcelo Balboa
Marcelo Balboa appeared in eight FIFA World Cup matches for the United States while anchoring the defense at both the 1990 and 1994 World Cups. His performances for the U.S. at the 1994 World Cup cemented his reputation as one of the finest defenders in the history of the USMNT.
#7. Brad Friedel
Friedel was in goal when the USMNT advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup. He saved two, TWO penalties, TWO TIMES. during regular time, including one in an incredible performance against South Korea that salvaged a draw for the USA.
#6. DaMarcus Beasley
Beasley participated in four World Cups for the USA, and could well have made it a fifth if the U.S. had qualified for Russia. The winger was a revelation at the 2002 tournament, and he assisted on Clint Dempsey's goal at the 2006 tournament. He made only one appearance at the 2010 Cup, but he played in all four USA matches at Brazil 2014.
#5. Claudio Reyna
Claudio Reyna became the first American in the modern era to make the World Cup all-tournament team with his performances from the heart of the USMNT midfield. For both the 2002 and 2006 tournaments, all good things funneled through Reyna, a player whose technique and ability went unmatched in the American squad. He had an excellent match against Italy at the 2006 World Cup, but his international legacy ended on a sour note in the USMNT’s 2-1 defeat to Ghana. Reyna sprained his MCL when losing the ball to Haminu Draman, allowing Ghana to open the scoring while Reyna was substituted and later retired altogether.
#4. Brian McBride
A member of three different World Cup squads, Brian McBride was only the second American to ever score at multiple World Cups. His goal against Iran in 1998 was the only bright spot of an otherwise disastrous tournament for the Americans, but it was his goals against Portugal and Mexico at the 2002 World Cup that secured his legacy as one of the greatest American strikers of all-time. A lasting image of McBride was the gnarly gash he received after taking a bow from Daniele De Rossi at the 2006 World Cup — it was blatant and earned the Italian a four-game suspension.
#3. Eddie Pope
Eddie Pope played in nine World Cup matches for the USMNT, and he was instrumental in America's run to the quarterfinals in 2002, shutting down a Mexican attack led by Jared Borgetti and Cuauhtemoc Blanco in the Round of 16. Pope's final World Cup appearance for the U.S. ended in farce when he was sent off for two incredibly soft bookings against Italy in 2006.
#2. Clint Dempsey
The first American to score at three consecutive World Cups, Dempsey played a vital role in getting the United States beyond the group stage at both the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. With two strikes against Ghana (one in 2006, one in 2014) to go along with goals against England and Portugal, the USMNT has never seen a more consistent attacker on the world’s biggest stage. Dempsey also holds the record for the fifth fastest goal in World Cup history, he’s a dope rapper and also actually does tekkers on the pitch
#1. Landon Donovan
No American has ever lit up a World Cup like Landon Donovan did at the 2002 event in South Korea and Japan. Named the tournament’s Best Young Player, Donovan played a key role in the American’s victory over Portugal, and he scored goals against both Poland and Mexico. A superb save from Germany’s cat with silk gloves, Oliver Kahn, stopped him from writing his name into the history books in the quarterfinals. Following a disappointing 2006 World Cup, Donovan again outlined his importance to the USMNT with a heroic showing at the 2010 World Cup. His memorable goal against Slovenia was subsequently topped by a last-second winner against Algeria, and he drew the penalty against Ghana to give the States hope in the Round of 16. With five World Cup goals, Donovan is the all-time top scorer for the U.S.