As the U.S. men’s national team built toward the World Cup in Qatar, Coach Gregg Berhalter faced a slew of tough lineup choices. Who starts in central defense? Should Tim Weah or Gio Reyna get the nod on the right flank? Which striker is the answer up top?
The one unit that was never in doubt: his midfield. Barring injury, Berhalter was always going to start Yunus Musah, Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams — the “MMA” trio — in the U.S. engine room. And it’s not difficult to see the appeal of deploying three budding talents who already have proved themselves in Europe’s top leagues. Musah, who turned 20 on Tuesday, is a regular for Valencia in Spain’s La Liga. McKennie, 24, is locked into the lineup for Italian powerhouse Juventus. Adams, 23, starts for English Premier League side Leeds United and helped Germany’s RB Leipzig advance to the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League semifinals.