After the latest international break and their victory against Trinidad and Tobago in the Concacaf Nations League quarterfinals, the USMNT sealed their qualification for next year’s hosting of the 2024 Copa América. Eight years later, once again.
¡Bienvenido Estados Unidos!
— CONMEBOL Copa América™️ (@CopaAmerica) November 21, 2023
This places the United States as one of the six Concacaf teams invited to participate in the tournament — returning to face off against CONMEBOL nations in the competition for the first time since 2016.
The USMNT, alongside all other nations in their confederation, will test their limits against some of the toughest national teams on the planet. The U.S. will definitely want to prove their worth ahead of the hosting of the World Cup in 2026.
Bring it on, CONMEBOL.
However, it’s no secret that Gregg Berhalter, along with most Americans eager to see a deep tournament-run from the USMNT, would likely prefer to avoid the stronger fish in the South American pond until the later stages of the tournament.
We at The18 have come up with three different group scenarios we could see the USMNT be part of next summer. From best to worse.
Who can the USMNT face in the 2024 Copa America group stage?
No, we’re not playing Argentina or Brazil. Well, at least not in the group stage.
The USMNT’s qualification for Copa America, a tournament that will create their group stage and pots based on official FIFA rankings, will place the Stars and Stripes in the first and highest ranked pot with the likes of Argentina (1), Brazil (3) and Mexico (12) — all nations the USMNT wouldn't be able to face in the group stage.
The pots of the tournament would be created as follows:
- Pot A: Argentina (1), Brazil (3), United States (11), Mexico (12).
- Pot B: Uruguay (15), Colombia (17), Peru (26), Ecuador (36).
- Pot C: Chile (37), Panama (44), Venezuela (49), Jamaica (55).
- Pot D: Paraguay (53), Bolivia (85), Canada/Trinidad and Tobago*, Honduras/Costa Rica*
*To be decided in the Concacaf Nations League Play-Off in March
¿Qué selecciones cerrarán los cupos de la #CA204 ?Quais são as seleções que ocuparão as vagas?
— CONMEBOL Copa América™️ (@CopaAmerica) November 28, 2023
The group seeds and match schedule will be announced in December 2023, whereas the group stage draw will be held on Dec. 7, 2023.
So, while we wait for the official and confirmed rivals for the U.S. next summer, let’s take a look at some of the potential groups the USMNT could be a part of.
Best group scenario
The best group scenario for the USMNT would see the Americans in the same group as Peru, Panama or Jamaica and Bolivia (or Trinidad and Tobago).
Peru and Bolivia are currently the worst in-form nations inside the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers with just two and three points in six games and would, on paper, be no problem for the USMNT.
Panama is still a fairly complicated opponent (especially after knocking the Americans out of the 2023 Gold Cup), but remain as the lesser dangerous nation in their pot. Jamaica is perhaps one of the dark horse from Concacaf going into the tournament — possessing a very dynamic attack that ultimately and surprisingly sent Canada to go qualify for the tournament through the playoff.
A potential qualification for Trinidad and Tobago would place the Caribbean nation as perhaps the least dangerous opponent in the whole tournament and the wished group-partner for every national team, including the USMNT.
Moderate group scenario
A moderate group scenario for the USMNT would see them placed in the same group as Ecuador, Venezuela, and either winner between the Honduras and Costa Rica playoff.
Ecuador have shown great promise over the last few years, and are showing a decent form in their World Cup qualifiers — tallying eight points and standing fifth in the table over Brazil.
Chile would be one of most uncomfortable opponents in the tournament and although they’re not going through their best form, the physical Chileans are always a difficult opponent in the Copa America.
Honduras, as well as Costa Rica, have shown very poor form in the last few years and are not looking to make any real impact in the tournament if they qualify.
Worst group scenario
The worst group scenario for the USMNT would see the Americans in the same group as Uruguay or Colombia, Chile and Paraguay (or Canada if they manage to qualify through their playoff).
Uruguay are arguably one of the most dangerous national teams in the world. With the appointment of legendary manager Marcelo Bielsa, added with the extraordinary young talent in their squad with the likes of Federico Valverde, Ronald Araújo and Darwin Nuñez, the Garra Charrúa is the country to avoid.
Colombia is also a country worth avoiding at the moment. Los Cafetaleros currently stand third in their qualifiers and posses Luis Díaz in their attack — a player no defense wants to deal with for 90 minutes.
Venezuela, one of the best nations in their confederation at the moment, currently stands fourth in the World Cup qualifiers and fighting for a spot to their first ever World Cup.
Paraguay, as well as Canada if they manage to qualify, would stand as the most difficult nations to face from the fourth pot.