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Who Should the USMNT Start vs. Bosnia & Herzegovina?

The annual January Camp friendly is always an odd one. Generally, it’s a group of players that are just getting into playing shape playing together for the first time against a weakened opponent. It’s a match that’s sole purpose is to give a handful of players a chance to shine in a game that is always somewhat sloppy.

This year’s January camp is no different, even if the light at the end of the tunnel is much, much further away than in years past. The goal? Identify some new faces while rewarding some familiar ones with another U.S. Men’s National Team chance.

On Sunday, the U.S. takes on Bosnia & Herzegovina for the first friendly of 2018 and the second match since doomsday in Trinidad & Tobago. The push towards a new era continues, even if a majority of the players tasked with ushering that era in are featuring for their clubs in Europe.

With that said, there are a number of potential contributors in camp ranging from the experienced to the very, very young. Here’s a look at how the U.S. could arrange those pieces into a lineup on Sunday:


Some thoughts:

Dave Sarachan has a number of ways he can go with this lineup. There’s the veteran route, the newcomer route or the mixed route, and all three have their merits. Given the inexperience and unfamiliarity of the roster, it’s likely you’ll see a mix of newcomers littered in, but there will almost certainly be some veteran faces scattered throughout the lineup.

Expect to see several young players in Sunday’s lineup, and the headliner of that young group should be Tyler Adams. One of the few players involved that has a legitimate shout to be a starter with the full team, Adams should get a runout at his preferred defensive midfield position. Even with Jonathan Gonzalez gone, Adams remains part of a very talented young central midfield group coming up through the U.S. pool, and that group needs to be given every chance to learn and develop over the next five years. Adams is this camp’s focal point, so expect him to get a chunk of minutes.

There are a number of options to partner Adams in the midfield, including Russell Canouse, Ian Harkes and Marky Delgado, who are all in search of their first cap. There’s also Wil Trapp, a January Camp fixture that’s looking to break into a more regular role. But, right now, Cristian Roldan is closer to the first team so he could certainly get the nod on Sunday.

One veteran that should get at least an extended look is Bill Hamid purely due to his club situation. Hamid is in the midst of a transition to FC Midtjylland, where he will have to battle in order to earn a starting gig. Giving him a half or so to impress will get the goalkeeper valuable gametime.

The defense will be naturally inexperienced, but you do have a veteran guy in Justin Morrow that has earned a chance at left back. Throw in some combination of Ike Opara, Justen Glad, Tim Parker and Walker Zimmerman to start, then rotate the excluded two in for the second half.

And then there’s the forward line, which is an interesting mix. Yes, you can expect plenty of shuffling up top but, like a number of other positions, it’ll be very difficult to get all five forwards on the field throughout the game. You have to prioritize the long-term, making Jordan Morris the safest bet to get some run at the start. You’ll certainly see Rubio Rubin, C.J. Sapong or Christian Ramirez brought in, but expect Morris to be the headliner on Sunday.

Overall, Sarachan faces a weird balancing act in a weird game. The thought process is to give some of the younger guys a chance to shine, but you can’t do that all at once. Expect a mixed approach with veterans and newcomers rotated in throughout a friendly that has the potential to be a bit odd.


  1. There are really this many people in the world who think morris is good at soccer? My high school soccer coaches used to think everyone fast was good at soccer too…..

  2. 4-2-3-1


    I’d prefer Steff….but it will probably be Hamid.

    Maybe Arriola instead of Zardes.

    Not too exciting on the flanks just speed. I’d rather not see Morris in a lone forward role…Sapong would be much better there. Much rather see Rowe pulling the strings centrally.

    I like Parker to pair with Glad…not Zimmerman.

    • Zardez? you’re kidding! the only reason he still is getting called up is because of Arena….. who I can’t wait for him to be replaced!
      Zardez did squat last year and has done even less on Nat team looks.
      At least Morris has being injured as an excuse for a bad year, what’s Zardezs’ excuse?
      Also….. please let Bradley drift off and not be put back on the National Team!
      Frei should get a call up at keeper

  3. Why does Jordan Morris deserve the start? He had 3 goals last season,while Ramirez had 14 and Sapong had 16. Agudelo who had 1 assist last season as an attacking midfielder? Whatever, who even cares.

    • Because he is an amazing player with strengths that very few others have. He had an injury riddled season last year, amazing you didn’t mention that. No one has his combination of speed, strength, touch, and potential to get even better. I do not understand the Morris haters. He’s clearly still developing.

      • Just my opinion, but some of the hate may come from people who see alot of talent, just as you mentioned, but an unwillingness to push himself. Some would say: he stayed in college rather than go pro, & he stayed in MLS near his Family rather than go to Germany and test himself in a proven to be better training system than Seattle has. Personally, I think he has the right to do either one. All choices come with consequences, thats life. One consequence of staying here is that he is being watched closely. You may be correct about injuries, but that doesn’t matter to most US fans. They want to see improvement, and we haven’t seen much so far. Problem is his shelf life is a little shorter than most due to college years. It’s a tradeoff. He has grea5 college memories, ring, etc. Fewer years as a pro.

      • I think that Morris is the future, but you have to get people questioning his starting.
        His finishing has always been mediocre at best.
        His sophomore year was horrendous and injuries played a big part, but his play in between wasn’t good much of the time.

        Will be a VERY interesting year for him, because the Sounders didn’t do anything in the off season, so he needs to be the man in many ways.

        Go Sounders, Go Morris.

      • I don’t hate Morris at all, i just think Rameriz is more deserving of a chance. He put up solid number with out much talent around him.

      • I’m not sure people are Morris haters but just don’t think he is that good. I don’t care he took the college route or skipped Europe( would Europe have helped probably) all I can about is getting the best players playing and I don’t think he is all that good. Has speed but not much else. He did use his left foot 7 times last year which is probably 6 more times than the year before so I see improvement which is good. He is an average American striker which really isn’t that good and probably best coming off the bench. Just an opinion and I don’t hate the kid I hope he does improve and becomes a well rounded player

      • I expect that Sarachan will play who is ever impressive at the camp, which means those who have come to the camp looking to make a statement, and have done so.

        While there may be some spots for those players who have a good playing rep, The whole idea is to spot new players for the future, and expect Sarachan to put in some surprises.

    • Morris is starting because his mommy and daddy signed his permission slip and will be nearby and his girlfriend is able to make it and they got a dog sitter. Seriously, this guy hasn’t doen much of anything to deserve a callup..much like Angudelo. He is still one footed and is pretty much the same player that he was in college. I agree Ramirez has done more to deserve a start. The fact jan this is a mostly MLS roster and the talented level and competition level isn’t crap. This team is going to get shellacked unless Bosnia also trots out a C team.

    • I don’t have hate- that’s for sure- I like and am pulling for Morris. That said- he isn’t a tried, true steadfast vet that has earned a roster spot through consistent results over a long sustained period for country and club. He is, was a very new promising player to the Nats who was a marginal, surprise call-up that showed flashes of potential. It’s a shame about his injuries, but this isn’t a case of, “you don’t lose your starting spot by way of injury”. He never had a starting spot or a solidified position with the national team in the first place, let alone after a rather prolonged period of low production. Sorry but competition a this level is harsh…. not only what have you done for me lately, but what have you done to deserve a guaranteed spot? Recent form has to be a huge consideration.

    • I agree. All I’ve seen from Morris is speed, while that is a valuable asset, he has used it to exclusively define what he does on the field. That is just too easy for experienced defenders to deal with. As MLS defenders grew to expect what he brings, they were increasingly able to render him more or less impotent.

    • Sure you can expect they will be full of running, but if that is what you want, I suggest you start watching your local high school teams. I am not knocking the skill or intelligence of some of the guys, but that part of the game is not something you will see tomorrow.


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