National Team Information
United States National Football Team History
The first United States soccer team was put together in 1885 but its first official match wasn’t until 1916. The USA lost their first, albeit unofficial, match to Canada 1-0 but defeated Sweden 3-2 in Stockholm in their first official match.
An invitee to the first World Cup in Uruguay, the USMNT surprisingly made the semifinals as a group winner. In a 3-0 win over Paraguay in their second match, Bert Patenaude scored the first-ever hat trick in a World Cup. In the semifinals, the USA fell 6-1 to Argentina.
The 1934 World Cup followed a single-elimination format, so the US were eliminated by Italy in a 7-1 first-round defeat. In the 1950 World Cup in Brazil, the USA failed to make it past the group stage but pulled off a 1-0 upset win over England in the “Miracle on Grass”. Fans would have to wait another 40 years for another United States World Cup appearance.
In the meantime, the national team went through its worst-ever period and the domestic league folded in 1984. The USMNT was a win or draw from qualifying for the 1986 World Cup but lost 1-0 to Costa Rica at home.
With a second-place finish at the 1989 CONCACAF Championship, the USA sealed their first World Cup qualification in four decades. At Italy in 1990, the USMNT lost all three of their games but had the 1994 World Cup to look forward to as they automatically qualified as hosts.
In between the 1990 and 1994 World Cups, the USA won their first major trophy as they won the 1991 CONCACAF Championship, renamed the Gold Cup. The US swept their group games and got an impressive 2-0 win over rivals Mexico. The final against Honduras finished in a scoreless draw, but the USMNT won 4-3 on penalties in Los Angeles.
At the 1994 World Cup, which they hosted, the USA made it past the first round for the first time since 1930. They lost 1-0 to eventual winners Brazil in the round of 16 and finished with a win, draw and two losses. Four years later at France ‘98, the USA lost all three group games and crashed out early.
Landon Donovan won best young player at the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan. With Bruce Arena at the helm, the USMNT had their best finish at a World Cup since 1930, as they made the quarterfinals. In the round of 16, the USA won their first-ever World Cup meeting with Mexico by a 2-0 scoreline.
From 2002 to 2007, the US won three of four Gold Cups but were eliminated in the group stage at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Arena departed following the tournament and Bob Bradley was hired in 2007. His career got off to an auspicious start as the USA defeated Mexico in the 2007 Gold Cup final, which qualified the USA for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup.
The USA, with Donovan, Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey in their prime, ended Spain’s 35-game winning streak in the Confederations Cup and made it to the final. With a 2-0 lead over Brazil in the final, it looked like the US would win their first FIFA trophy; however, Brazil scored three unanswered goals and completed a comeback win.
The following year, the US advanced to the round of 16 at the 2010 World Cup but were eliminated by Ghana, 2-1. In August 2012, the USMNT got their first win at Azteca in 75 years, a 1-0 victory in a friendly. Mexican-American Michael Orozco scored the game’s only goal.
In 2014, under Jurgen Klinsmann, the USA qualified for the knockout stage in two consecutive World Cups for the first time ever. They were eliminated by Belgium in the round of 16, but Tim Howard set a World Cup record with 15 saves in the match.
The USA failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, which was the first one they missed in over 30 years. Current head coach Gregg Berhalter was hired the next year and he’s overseen one of the best periods in team history.
The year 2021 was a successful one for him and the USMNT. as they won the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League and the Gold Cup. Finishing third in the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying standings, the USA booked a place at Qatar 2022.
1. Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan – 57
3. Jozy Altidore – 42
4. Eric Wynalda – 34
5. Brian McBride – 30
USA Soccer Leagues & Clubs:
MLS, which stands for Major League Soccer, is the top USA soccer league. With St. Louis City’s entry into the league in 2023, there are now 29 MLS teams.
Like in other American sports, there is no promotion or relegation system in MLS. Each team plays 34 matches in a season that runs from February to October. Following the regular season, the top seven teams from each conference qualify for the MLS Cup playoffs.
The winner of the MLS Cup is crowned the league champion, while the team with the best regular season record earns the Supporters’ Shield.
The USL championship is the second-tier league in the USA. It’s another option for USA soccer betting.
There are currently 24 clubs in the USL Championship, split into two conferences. Each team plays their conference foes twice and interconference opponents once. Like the MLS, the USL Championship plays a 34-game schedule. The top eight teams in each conference qualify for the playoffs.
|Birmingham Legion FC|
|Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC|
|Detroit City FC|
|El Paso Locomotive FC|
|Las Vegas Lights FC|
|Loudoun United FC|
|Louisville City FC|
|Memphis 901 FC|
|Monterey Bay FC|
|New Mexico United|
|Oakland Roots SC|
|Orange County SC|
|Phoenix Rising FC|
|Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC|
|Rio Grande Valley FC Toros|
|Sacramento Republic FC|
|San Antonio FC|
|San Diego Loyal SC|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies|
USA Cups & Tournaments
USA’s soccer teams participate in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, commonly known as the U.S. Open Cup. Over 100 teams participate in the U.S. Open Cup, which means it’s open to professional and some amateur teams.
The tournament follows a knockout format and plenty of upsets have occurred in the tournament’s history. However, since the inception of the MLS, only one non-MLS team has won the Open Cup. Rochester Rhinos managed the feat in 1999.
USA Soccer Betting Information
American bettors commonly bet on European soccer but the MLS is becoming a popular option as well. With so many teams, and matches, there are plenty of opportunities to bet on games while the European tournaments are on break. MLS has turned into quite an exciting league and 2.97 goals per game were scored in the 2022 season. While the level of play hasn’t reached the heights of Europe’s top leagues, punters may recognize some of the big name players in the league.
In the last few years alone, stars like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Javier Hernandez, Gareth Bale, Lorenzo Insigne, and Gonzalo Higuain have graced the league. There hasn’t necessarily been a dominant force in the league, either. There has been a different champion in each of the last six seasons. LA Galaxy have the most championships, entering the 2023 season, with five, but haven’t won the MLS Cup since 2014.
There is usually quite a pronounced home field advantage in the league. In 2022, home teams won 49 percent of the time. They also drew 25 percent of matches and lost only 26 percent of their games. Both teams scored in six out of ten MLS matches in 2022, a relatively high figure. Totals betting was also an interesting prospect, as three or more goals were scored in 59 percent of matches. Heading into the 2023 season, LAFC are +500 favorites to repeat as MLS Cup champions.
After missing out on the World Cup in 2018, the USA returned at Qatar 2022. All things considered, the USMNT did quite well. They managed to go unbeaten in the group stage, with a record of one win and two draws. They entered the tournament at +110 odds to advance and managed to reward bettors by finishing second in their group. They went out of the tournament in the round of 16 to a superior Netherlands side. Betting tips have suggested taking USA to make it out of their World Cup group recently. They’ve made the round of 16 in their last three World Cup appearances.
USA soccer betting has been popular in other competitions in recent years. They won both the 2019-20 CONCACAF Nations League and the 2021 Gold Cup. Despite only finishing third in 2022 CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying, USA have been the best team in their confederation over the last few years. Gregg Berhalter has potentially found his number one goalie for years to come as Matt Turner has been stellar in net. Christian Pulisic, Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie should also be key players for years to come.
The USA is a team to watch in the coming years as they have plenty of young talent on the roster. Players like Yunus Musah, Ricardo Pepi, Gio Reyna, Brenden Aaronson and Tim Weah could all develop into mainstays. As one of the co-hosts of the 2026 World Cup, the USA will not take part in World Cup Qualifying. However, there are opportunities to bet on the USA in competitive matches in upcoming Gold Cups and in the CONCACAF Nations League.
MLS is an excellent option for bettors looking for a league to follow throughout the Summer. The profile of the league is growing, and while it follows an unconventional structure, it’s not terribly hard to get into. There have been plenty of transfers from European clubs over the last few seasons and that trend is not expected to halt anytime soon. MLS has a reputation for poaching aging stars from European leagues but players in or close to their prime have also made the switch.
The US men’s national team is on an upward trajectory and consistency is the name of the game now. There will be plenty of friendlies to bet on over the next few years, as the USA isn’t taking part in World Cup Qualifying. The US should have a decent shot to make it to their fourth straight round of 16 at World Cup 2026.