UNITED STATES—This November sees the first ever winter soccer World Cup take place in Qatar.

Usually, soccer’s showpiece event occurs in the summer, as it did here in 1994. This year, due to the odd choice to award the Qatar the tournament, it has to be the winter, so the temperatures are just about bearable for the players. It means a condensed experience, crammed into just five weeks, with domestic soccer worldwide taking a break while the competition is played.

It’s certainly not ideal for fans, but for the USMNT, there are some advantages. Major League Soccer runs on a different schedule to most countries, and those USMNT players based here will complete their season in October, meaning the competition does come at the end of a domestic campaign. Also, players in warmer states will be used to a temperate climate, unlike players based somewhere like Scotland, where even the summer means the frost is not quite as thick as usual.

The USMNT face Iran, England and Wales in the group stages, with a real chance of progression to the last 16. They didn’t qualify for Russia 2018, but they’re second-favorites to win the group in the Ladbrokes betting odds, which would mean a last-16 match. If (and it is a big if) they were to win that, they might make the semifinals, which would match their best World Cup performance of the modern era. The USMNT did make the semi-finals in 1930 at the first World Cup, but that tournament had just 13 teams, with the USMNT playing twice before reaching the semi-finals, where Argentina beat them 6-1.

One player who will be used to warm conditions and benefit from having completed the MLS season is Los Angeles FC midfielder Kellyn Acosta. He played a key role in the qualification process, assisting Weston McKennie in the 3-0 win against Honduras in February in St Paul, Minnesota. The temperature might have been the polar opposite of what Qatar will bring, but Acosta warmed everyone up with a delicious free kick for the opening goal. That free kick prowess could be vital in Qatar, especially as we’ve seen some wonderful free kicks at World Cups. Bleacher Report explains Teofilo Cubillas, Roberto Carlos, Robin Van Persie, and David Beckham have all scored great ones, meaning Acosta’s skill could be turned into an iconic USMNT moment.

“I’ve taken free kicks since I was a little kid, since I was like five years old,” he said in a recent interview. “You would start the game with a kickoff from the halfway line, and you wouldn’t have to pass your team. You can just dribble. For me, I’d just shoot it, and so I scored a bunch of goals like that.”

Even if Acosta doesn’t score, he proved with the delivery against Honduras that he can also be a provider, and gave insight into how he might achieve that.

“For me, I know if I put it on his (the wall defender closest to Weston McKennie’s) inside shoulder towards the goal, if I put it just beyond him: they’re in trouble. He’s running back towards his goal. Even if it’s an in-swinger it will just bounce toward the goal, or how this one comes all the way across for an easy tap-in. I know if I put it on the other side of him, it’s trouble. Even if it’s on the ground, it’s hard to defend.”

So, there you have it. Kellyn Acosta, Los Angeles FC star and USMNT great hope, could well hold the keys to the kingdom when it comes to World Cup success. He’ll be match fit from the MLS season, used to the warm sun he usually gets in Los Angeles and armed with free-kick ability that has so often proven the undoing of teams at the World Cup. Keep an eye on our man when it all kicks off in November.