Berhalter insists USMNT must learn to beat elite teams before 2026 World Cup, hinting qualifiers don’t offer enough preparation.
The manager, who is 50 years old, is keen to compete against the top national teams in preparation for the 2026 World Cup, to be hosted in his home country.
During the international break in October, the USMNT clashed with formidable European and African teams like Germany and Ghana, aiming to assess their position in world football. They suffered a harsh 3-1 defeat at the hands of Germany, which served as a reality check.
However, their comprehensive 4-0 victory over Ghana significantly boosted their morale.
Berhatler told NBC Sports: “Our priority is to play the best possible opponents we can. Last window playing Germany and Ghana was a good experience for our group. We really feel to be successful at the World Cup, we’ll need to learn how to beat the best teams. I’m not sure qualifying prepares you for that.
“CONCACAF qualifying is extremely difficult and extremely difficult mentally but when we talk about the opportunity to play teams like Brazil, Germany, or Spain, that’s a real learning experience for our group.”
The US Men’s National Team is close to qualifying for the 2024 Copa America. They are leading with a 3-0 advantage as they go into the second leg against Trinidad & Tobago. If they secure another victory in Port of Spain, it guarantees Coach Berhalter the chance to guide his team against the top South American teams in 2024.
An injury crisis has hit the USMNT, causing them to lose key players such as Weston McKennie, Christian Pulisic, and Timothy Weah. With these experienced players missing, the responsibility now falls on Yunus Musah and Gio Reyna to lead the team to victory against the Caribbean side.