Tonight is the night. The U.S. Under-23 men’s national team can clinch a place in the Olympic Games with a win against Canada. The Americans have a healthy squad and have all hands on deck now that Jonathan Spector has joined the team.
The only question remaining now is who will Peter Nowak start? Will he keep Jozy Altidore as a lone striker and use a five-man midfield? Will he unveil a two-forward attack? Will use Kamani Hill or Marvell Wynne at right back? Will it be Nathan Sturgis or Hunter Freeman at left back? Who will the center backs be?
Here is the starting XI I see Nowak using:
Yes folks, I changed my mind and replaced Zizzo with McCarty. I think it’s the safer play and the one Nowak goes with. If I were picking the XI I go with Zizzo wide right and Holden in the middle.
You may not the 4-5-1 formation, I can see Adu floating higher and Holden floating into the atack more so there could be a 4-4-2 feel to it, but that won’t be the case of someone other than Holden gets the call in central midfield.
The only other lineup variation I can see is Zizzo on the right wing with Holden sliding in next to Edu (I would have bet the ranch on Sacha Kljestan coming into the tournament but his past two matches have been disappointing).
Michael Orozco gets the nod next to Jonathan Spector, ahead of Patrick Ianni and Nathan Sturgis in central defense. He has been extremely solid. And while I know Sturgis isn’t a natural left back, neither is Hunter Freeman. I know there’s been some thought about putting Spector at left back but that isn’t happening. Spector is the team’s best central defender and will be key to stopping Canada’s star striker, Will Johnson.
Now it’s your turn. What starting XI would you trot out in Nashville tonight? Share your thoughts below