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Who Should the USMNT Start vs. Mexico?

The U.S. Men’s National Team will square off with its biggest rival on Sunday, with the winner claiming the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup title.

Gregg Berhalter’s side will take on Tata Martino’s Mexico on Sunday night in Chicago, looking to win its first competitive trophy under the former Columbus Crew boss. A 3-1 semifinal win over Jamaica sealed the USMNT’s return to the final, while Mexico defeated Haiti 1-0 thanks to a late penalty kick goal.

Berhalter made a few changes going into the clash with the Reggae Boyz, starting Reggie Cannon, Matt Miazga, Jordan Morris and Jozy Altidore in match. Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie will be two players who are very likely to remain in Berhalter’s starting XI against El Tri, while Zack Steffen continues to retain the No. 1 goalkeeper spot.

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

Zack Steffen

Reggie Cannon – Matt Miazga – Aaron Long – Tim Ream

Michael Bradley

Jordan Morris – Christian Pulisic – Weston McKennie – Paul Arriola

Jozy Altidore

Zack Steffen unfortunately conceded his first goal in the competition against Jamaica, but overall will keep the No. 1 job in between the posts. Steffen has come up with quality saves when called upon this Gold Cup and will face his toughest test yet in Mexico.

Reggie Cannon excelled against Panama and did well once again against Jamaica. The FC Dallas man brings a lot of the same to the pitch as Nick Lima, but looks to be holding the edge due to his ability to create chances for his teammates in the attacking end. Tim Ream will start at left back as he continues his underrated performances this Gold Cup. His ability to stay at home should help against a Mexico attack who will be sure to create chances.

Matt Miazga got the start over Walker Zimmerman against Jamaica and should get the nod with Aaron Long again. Miazga has some cutting edge in this fixture and will look to help Long deal with the physical Raul Jimenez (five goals). Both are also threats on corners and free kicks with their ability to head balls towards goal.

Michael Bradley has plenty of experience against Mexico and will be dealt with the task of shutting down Andres Guardado and Jonathan dos Santos. All three are experienced players who will be looking to put in strong shifts for their teams. Bradley will not be left alone though, as Weston McKennie’s ability to track back will help when Mexico has possession.

Christian Pulisic is coming off another sensational performance in the Gold Cup and will face his toughest test yet. Mexico will try to pressure Pulisic throughout the match and pester him with tackles, so the midfielder must be ready for that. His ability to run after defenders with the ball has been huge for the USMNT this Gold Cup and will need to be a factor if the team wants to leave Chicago with the trophy.

McKennie has also played well of late for the USMNT and will try to get involved in the attacking third. His late runs have caused problems for opposing defenders and his aggressive nature to defend should him greatly against a top opponent.

Paul Arriola and Jordan Morris have the ability to run after defenders and try to get service into the box. Both players started against Jamaica and will continue to do so against Mexico. While Tyler Boyd and Gyasi Zardes will also make cases to start on the wings, Arriola and Morris also have the ability to win fouls for free-kick chances for the USMNT.

Jozy Altidore’s physical presence should help against Mexico and is a better option than Zardes. While Altidore can provide a tough battle for the Mexico center backs, Zardes has been lacking the creativity in the final third which has seen him benched for Altidore. Like Bradley, Altidore knows what is needed to win this rivalry match and should be playing with an extra boost of confidence.

What do you think Sunday’s score will be? Who would you like to see start in attack? Do you think Berhalter will make any changes from the Jamaica match?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Something brought up on Total Soccer Show would be starting Roldan on the RW as more a defensive lineup. I still think Boyd is the best option though.

  2. Best 4 of July without actual fireworks! The Final(s) we all wanted!!! I’m glad there’s more optimism, now, than after a 3-1 victory over a team we lost a friendly too. Same lineup for me! God knows, we’ve been so critical to the point of nit-picking, this tourney. None of that matters now! Our team is here, and we are the underdogs. USWNT got hardware! I’m def gonna b rootin 4 tha men to do the same! #KeepHopeAlive

  3. Like Boyd over Morris because I like Morris as a late sub. Morris doesn’t seem to have the stamina for 90. Morris has the pace to cause problems late. Agree with the balance of the squad.

  4. Bizzy is apparently blind as he did not see anything that happened in the Jamaica game. For example how well we played with Jozy in the game and how our offense became horrible when Josie stepped in.

    Luckily Jordan Morris who Bizzy does not want to start came through with a great chance that the keeper spilled and Pulisic put in.

    • ” how well we played with Jozy in the game and how our offense became horrible when Josie stepped in”…….says the one that doesn’t even know who is who. Who is blind here?? hahaha good luck pal ???

      what did he do to warrant or impact that victory???? Any shots on goal? Any killer attacking runs? Any near misses? Any assists? How is he different from Zardes, who AT LEAST has one shot on goal, and has 3 in the tournament? BOTH HAD ZERO GOALS THAT GAME. …..If you cant score at least be good for something else, like defense, speed, passing for assists, dribbling skills…..something other than “hold up play”. In that case how about we just forget about scoring put a defender with strength, aerial ability and stamina up top lol ? !!!

      • Did you actually try to credit Gyasi for totally blowing that goal opportunity because at least it was a shot? ????

      • Johnnyrazor?
        the man gets into positions to score….even unknowingly scored with his face lol?.

        say what you may he’s score 3 goals in this tournament hahaha ???

  5. Most of the lineup seems pretty set with a few exceptions. I’d rather see Boyd than Morris and suspect that is what GB will do. Same-same Altidore over Zardes. I really liked what Cannon did the other night- was pleasantly surprised with his defense. I would like to see him threatening Mexico up the wing but have a suspicion we’ll see Lima.

      • Yeah- agreed. I almost mentioned that. I’d take Zimmerman. Been as or more solid defensively, greater threat on set pieces and his service from the back has been on point.

  6. We need players on the field that can give chase and play defense….Bradley is already a liability in the center of the field but better than Trapp!!!! I like Zardes over Altidore because he tracks back and contributes heavily on defense but maybe its time to try Jordan Morris in his natural position (CF) and take advantage of his speed to get behind defenders and keep mexico honest ?

    ———————————Zack Steffen—————————

    Reggie Cannon – Matt Miazga – Aaron Long – Tim Ream

    ——————————-Michael Bradley————————

    ——T. Boyd——-C. Pulisic—-W. McKennie—-P. Arriola—-

    ————————————J. Morris————————–

    either way lets get it over with…..GGOOOO USA ?? !!!!

    • Zardes over Altidore? Did you watch any of the semi-final? And want to start Morris in a position he hasn’t been playing in a tournament final?

      • In all the years (has to be at least 5 maybe longer) that I’ve seen Bizzy posting on SBI I don’t believe he has ever started Altidore. It’s just his thing.
        Morris at CF is the same problem as Zardes, speed, great work rate, terrible touch, not a great passer when under pressure. Against Jamaica as Pulisic slid left and McKennie sat deeper Morris came into McKennies Dual 10 space with Cannon overlapping. This benefited Morris on the goal because it did give him acres of space to run into as Altidore had drawn away the CBs but also meant a good deal of the attack was focused down the other side because that’s where CP was. I’d prefer Boyd on the wing because he also has pace but better technical skill and is a better positional defender. But Altidore has to start or Mexico will be able to press us into submission.

      • I hear you Joe maybe Morris starting in a tournament final is excessive but what is a striker”s job on the field because BOTH ZARDES AND ALTIDORE are not on a level close to Pulisic or McKennie….or even Arriola at this point
        I’m really confused by the praises of Jozy….what did he do??? ALTIDORE COULDN’T SCORE AGAINST JAMAICA let alone Mexico !!!! At least Zardes plays defense and has three goals to his name, Morris has speed and could be dangerous and a handful for the defense….what does Jozy have??? What has Jozy done? Certified skills as a “CONE”??? His size and strength is useless against Mexico. He is always a step too slow, never in the right spot at the right and he couldn’t even get open for one shot on goal

        1 ?? JONATHAN DAVID ⚽⚽⚽⚽⚽⚽
        2 ?? LUCAS CAVALLINI ⚽⚽⚽⚽⚽
        3 ?? RAÚL JIMÉNEZ ⚽⚽⚽⚽⚽
        4 ?? URIEL ANTUNA ⚽⚽⚽⚽
        5 ?? NEIL DANNS ⚽⚽⚽
        6 ?? GYASI ZARDES ⚽⚽⚽
        7 ?? CHRISTIAN PULISIC ⚽⚽⚽
        8 ?? ANDRÉS GUARDADO ⚽⚽
        9 ?? JUNIOR HOILETT ⚽⚽
        10 ?? RUBILIO CASTILLO ⚽⚽
        11 ?? PAUL ARRIOLA ⚽⚽
        12 ?? ELÍAS AGUILAR ⚽⚽
        13 ?? TYLER BOYD ⚽⚽
        14 ?? AARON LONG ⚽⚽

        -….DIDN’T EVEN TAKE ONE SHOT AGAINST JAMAICA. So let me get this straight, he doesn’t defend, he can’t score to save his life, he’s not fast or quick, he has no skills to beat players 1-V-1 so why do we need him on the field? Hold up play? Against a high pressing and organized defense???

        We have a DM that cannot defend and a CF that cannot find the back of the net….and we are expected to beat Mexico?

    • Except that’s not what GGG wants a Jozy to do. Why was the US so good the first 15 minutes because everything was going through Jozy and he was then distributing the ball around with guys running through the space the CBs left following Jozy. If teams man mark the midfield as Curaçao and Jamaica did the CF tracks back and gets the ball, Gyasi inability to do that effectively led to hopeful long balls that gave possession back. Against Jamaica those balls went to Jozy who then sent them on to Morris, Arriola, CP, Cannon and McKennie. Checkout The Total Soccer Show or Scuffed Podcasts, any breakdown on, any of the various website player ratings,, Joga Bonito on Twitter, and of course Ives in his Goal articles. They all can explain in detail how Jozy made a huge impact without scoring and is the clear choice to start on Sunday. What happened to cohesion and consistency Bizzy, the US played their best football under Berhalter against a Jamaica shouldn’t we start that lineup again?

      • “What happened to cohesion and consistency Bizzy, the US played their best football under Berhalter against a Jamaica…..”.

        Well, you got a point cohesion and consistency is what this team needs and that team (before the stoppage) played its best soccer yet in the tournament. I just think Altidore will be ineffective against Mexico (that’s a totally different beast)…..but I guess we will see what GB thinks and how the game turns out.

        I hope you are right

    • I question your sanity sometimes Bizzy but I never question your love for the Stars and Stripes. Let’s Go!


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