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Who has played in the most games in the history of the World Cup for USMNT?

From California, to Germany, to England, the American’s all-time leader in appearances has proven himself where ever he’s been.

Who has played in the most games in the history of the World Cup for USMNT?
Jeff Mitchell - FIFADiarioAS

With the Americans set to face Iran in a super charged Group B finale, we’re taking a look at the player who has played the most games for the Stars & Stripes, Landon Donovan.

The storied past of the U.S.A. in soccer

Though it might surprise you to know, the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar marks the 12th time that the U.S.A. has been to soccer’s biggest party. Their first of course was at the inaugural tournament all the way back in 1930. Referred to as the ‘shot-putters,’ by the world’s media at the time due to their rough and tumble style, the Americans would actually shock the world by going all the way to the semi-finals of the tournament that year. It remains their best finish to this day.

The following years, would see the bells of war begin to ring across Europe and with that the Americans withdrew from the 1938 World Cup, but would return in 1950 to cause yet another sensational surprise. Haitian-born Joe Gaetjens was the man of the moment, as the Team USA beat highly favored England 1-0 in Brazil. Unfortunately, as legendary as that moment was, it would also be the last for some time as the Americans failed to qualify for the next nine World Cups, finally returning after 40 years to play in Italia 90, a tournament that they exited at the group stage. Since then, the USMNT has proven itself to be an ever-improving team with their best finish coming in 2002, when they defeated Portugal and Poland in the group stage, before historically defeating Mexico in the Round of 16. They were finally undone by eventual winners Germany at the quarterfinal stage.

Who has played the most of the USMNT?

If you’ve followed the USMNT over the years, then there is no doubt that you’ve heard of and seen the outstanding Landon Donovan. To this day, the former Everton and Bayer Leverkusen forward remains not only the top American scorer in World Cup play with five goals (two in 2002 and three in 2010), but also the player with the most World Cup matches of any American man – with 12 games across three tournaments (2002, 2006 and 2010). Mention should also be made of his former teammate, DaMarcus Beasley, who has played in four World Cups. The Indiana-born speedster lined up as a fresh-faced 20-year-old at the 2002 tournament and then again in 2006, 2010 and 2014. Yet, his 11 appearances still set one behind Donovan and that’s how they will stay.

Of course, Donovan who was born in 1982 isn’t just the holder of the appearance and goals record for his national team, but also the recipient of numerous accolades in his country’s domestic league as well. Named Major League Soccer’s greatest ever player, Donovan also is the league’s record holder in assists with 136 and has won a record 6 MLS Cups. The California native is widely regarded as the greatest player ever in the history of American soccer.


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