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Who Should the USMNT Start vs. Guyana?

The U.S. Men’s National Team has its first competitive match of 2019 on Tuesday, taking on Guyana in the CONCACAF Gold Cup Group D opener in Minneapolis.

After a pair of defeats to Jamaica and Venezuela earlier this month, the pressure is on Gregg Berhalter and his squad to put in a strong performance against a side making its Gold Cup debut.

Christian Pulisic will be expected to make his first appearance under Berhalter since March, while Djordje Mihailovic and Reggie Cannon have entered the fold due to injuries to Tyler Adams and Duane Holmes.

Weston McKennie, Wil Trapp, and Michael Bradley are all options in midfield. Jozy Altidore, Jordan Morris, and Gyasi Zardes are all forward who have appeared in this competition before.

Guyana was dealt a big blow as midfielder Warren Creavalle had to be replaced due to a broken foot. FC Cincinnati’s Emery Welshman and Reading’s Callum Harriot are experienced forwards who will carry the load, while Liam Gordon and Jordan Dover are key defenders.

Here’s a closer look at one USMNT lineup Berhalter could go with Tuesday night:

Zack Steffen

Nick Lima —  Aaron Long —  Matt Miazga — Tim Ream

Wil Trapp

Jordan Morris — Weston McKennie — Christian Pulisic — Paul Arriola

Jozy Altidore

Nine days after a 3-0 loss to Venezuela, the USMNT should be fit and raring to go against a Guyana side likely to bunker in and defend.

Zack Steffen is the No. 1 option in goal and will again be between the posts for the USMNT. After appearing in both friendlies, Steffen has seen match time this month and is always capable of coming up with big saves when called upon.

Tyler Adams’ absence means that Nick Lima is the No. 1 option at right back. Lima is an aggressive defender who is always able to provide a threat down the flank. His pace can help him return and defend if needed and he has a leg up on Reggie Cannon for the starting role.

Matt Miazga and Aaron Long are two young faces in the USMNT backline and both will continue that partnership on Tuesday. Long’s return from injury saw him play only 46 minutes against Venezuela, but starting him continues to grow this connection. Omar Gonzalez is also a veteran option but he should be saved for tougher competition in this group.

Tim Ream appeared at left back earlier this calendar year and will get another crack against Guyana. Daniel Lovitz is a natural left-back option, but Ream’s experience is needed in this tournament and should help lead this young backline.

Wil Trapp will continue as the No. 6 in the formation, giving Weston McKennie a chance to advance up the field and help offensively. If Berhalter wants more experience instead, then he could go with Michael Bradley in that role. But Trapp is the younger option which allows Bradley to rest.

McKennie and Christian Pulisic will be paired in midfield next to one another, giving the USMNT two good options at setting up opportunities. McKennie’s versatility can see him drop back and pair with Trapp if things get tricky, but Pulisic will play in the No. 10 role as expected.

Paul Arriola and Jordan Morris are a likely duo on the wings that can provide speed and attacking chances. Arriola’s ability to get back and defend definitely helps. Against Guyana, he should be ready to get after defenders one-on-one.

Morris missed out against Jamaica, but did appear off the bench against Venezuela. The Seattle Sounders leading man may not be able to go a full 90, but like Arriola, he can get after defenders and can also play on the left side if needed. Gyasi Zardes and Tyler Boyd are also options up top, but expect both to come off the bench if needed.

Jozy Altidore and Zardes can both start at the No. 9, but Altidore’s hold up play will be important for this team. Altidore’s physicality can help wear down the Guyana backline while also playing in balls behind for Arriola and Morris to get onto.



  1. Come on Larry Henry Jr. You titled the article, “Who should the USMNT Start?” Then you wrote, “Berhalter could go with…” Who do YOU think they should start?
    Ream-Long-Zimmerman-Lima (uggh)
    This lineup would cream CONCACAF. We have this capability. These are the positions where all these players thrive. This is a lineup that would beat Mexico. One can only dream.

  2. I would really like 2c, the CB combo, of Zimmerman & Miazga. I think the wingers you have is what we’ll c, I hope it’s Morris at LW, and Arriola @ RW. Personally, I like Morris @ the 9, because he puts a lot of pressure, on opposing CBs, with his movement, without the ball. Arriola, IMO, is suited for the RB/hybrid, in GBs system. 5 hours b4 match time…. Don’t know about any1 else, but I’m NERVOUS as $@%*, @ the moment. We don’t have a good history with 1st time opponents, something like (42-38-?). 4got how many draws? #KeepHopeAlive!

  3. We’re now at Dday minus one…Everything up till now has been a preview & tryout (and not an impressive one) From the collapse to the Sarachan era to GB ‘s intro.
    After 2 years here’s where we are, and I’d like to make a few predictions before the tourney starts:
    1- I think GBs “system” gets exposed :
    – The overall premise of this system is kinda like what Bayern did, specifically with Lamm right? (Or something close) Right off the bat it misses the point that all the other players on the field are kinda really pretty good… And we ain’t got that.
    -We were reliant on Adams and Ream to man those spots (what happens when we lose one??) And what happens when we don’t have a hybrid left back/left center back?
    – Our “wingers” are nothing of the sort ( assuming CP isn’t a winger) And the guys we have tasked at that position now so nothing to inspire me..
    – Our midfield, no matter who starts, will be exposed too much. If CP is one of the “dual 10s” I don’t think he’s giving you 90 minutes of the range needed to not get overun in our midfield, the kid wants to score (The same way Deuce didn’t track back the same way Landon did when they played the empty bucket)
    – Jozy at the target 9 isn’t gonna stretch anyone’s line with any fear, and at the same time his “hold up” play- while improved – still ain’t all that…And as much as I root for Zardes bc he works so hard & seems to be such a good guy.. He’s just not very good.
    – I think at the end of the day we will KNOW Mckennie is one for the long term, and we still won’t know his best Overall position (And CP too)

    Overall I also think that if we have early success vs weaker teams it’s gonna lead to a false sense of hope.

    2- I don’t think CP finishes the tourney without needing crutches.. He’s gonna be targeted hard. No further details needed, u all know what I’m saying…..
    And I think by the time the tourney is over, we will see just how valuable CP is, and I don’t mean on the field, I mean off of it. This is the first time he’s been with the same guys for so long via tournament style. Will be be frustrated? Will be emerge as a mature leader? And can be stay healthy…And how do we respond if he goes down?

    3- I don’t think we make the finals, I don’t think we intimidate anyone and my prediction is at the end of the tourney we’re underwhelmed, full of questions, and still far off from seeing any REAL progress. And we will begin another cycle of underwhelming mediocrity with more questions than answers.

    Overall I’m excited to get started and hope I’m more wrong than right… It will be interesting…

  4. Should start first choice back 4 to gel and get confidence with passing out of the back especially cause they will stay fresh and not have much work to do. GGG already knows what he has in a few of the players in midfield like arriola so why not start Boyd to give him another run out.

  5. Well your predictions last time out were very wrong. If this really is it then GB has managed to get all 3 Columbus players on the field at the same time. Also, I dont believe Bradley will like playing behind a stiff like Trapp. We’ll see how it works out. We do not have a good team entered here

    • Bradley may not start until the later rounds. He came into camp with an injury and GB stated he wants guys at full strength. Not saying it doesn’t happen but against guyana why risk players

    • Yeah I’m way over this guy too….we gave him several run outs, it’s time to move on in my opinion and for the life of me I can’t understand why Nagbe wasn’t called in after the injuries to Lleget and Holmes smfh

  6. It is Guyana, if Trapp gets the start, maybe he will finally reveal to GB just how bad he really is.
    I suppose the US could find a lineup from this roster that would lose to Guyana, but it would be a coaching challenge, unless Steffan gives away multiple goals due to poor decisions.

  7. I think you start your best lineup for the tourney opener, even though it looks like we play the weakest team first. Hopefully we can take care of business in the first two matches, then rest key guys in the third. If the above lineup is our strongest, then we are clear underdogs against Mexico.

    • Agreed! Need that statement win and for the team to gel.
      Perfect opportunity vs. the presumably weak side.

      I’d swap Trapp for Bradley and then I’m good to go.

      Sure, we’re underdogs vs Mexico at this point. And I’d prefer that – we do not do well as favorites. But I wouldnt be initmidated by that result against Cuba at the Rose Bowl (AKA Mexico’s second home).

      They have an easier group than we do so, like us, let’s see what they do when it counts.

      Anyone have a take on Boyd?
      Missed the Venezuela game.

      • He was not impressive the only thing he did good was take great and accurate free kicks and corners.

  8. they should be able to beat Guyana with ten players on the field, which is why I would advocate for this lineup without Wil Trapp.


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