U.S. Men’s National Team fans will be anxious for Tuesday to arrive, not just for the looming friendly against Uruguay, but for the chance to put Friday’s 3-0 loss to Mexico even further in the rearview mirror.
A half dozen players left USMNT camp after Friday’s loss, including many of the team’s top European-based stars, including Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie, leaving the squad in the hands of a younger group, headlined by St. Louis native Josh Sargent.
What will the USMNT lineup look like against Uruguay? Here is a look at the squad we could see on Tuesday:
Brad Guzan and Jesse Gonzalez are the goalkeepers in camp, and while Gonzalez might be better-suited for Berhalter’s possession-based system due to his superior passing, Guzan is the veteran who can help lead what could be an inexperienced defense.
The Mexico loss was a rough one for the centerback tandem of Walker Zimmerman and Aaron Long. Berhalter could go with the tandem of Tim Ream and Miles Robinson in central defense. Ream’s passing ability combined with Robinson’s strong defensive qualities would make for an intriguing pairing.
Of course, that would likely mean having to give Sergino Dest another start, which wouldn’t be a bad thing. Dest did get burned on Mexico’s first goal, but also showed some good qualities.
If Berhalter decides that he doesn’t want to give the youngster that heavy a workload in his first USMNT camp, then Ream seems the better bet to start at left back. Daniel Lovitz is also in camp, but a start for the Montreal left back feels like a bit of a long shot, though Berhalter could decide he wants Ream centrally and doesn’t want to start Dest again, which would pave the way for a Lovitz start.
If Ream starts at left back, then look for a Robinson-Long tandem in central defense.
At right back, Reggie Cannon earned the start against Mexico, which should mean a nod for Nick Lima against Uruguay. Berhalter could choose to give Dest a look at right back, but it’s tough to see Lima not getting a start in this September FIFA window.
Weston McKennie and Alfredo Morales have returned to Germany, leaving at least two spots open for grabs and the veteran tandem of Sebastian Lletget and Cristian Roldan seems to be the most likely pairing to handle the dual playmaker roles against Uruguay.
Plenty of fans will be clamoring for Paxton Pomykal to make his USMNT debut, but nothing Berhalter has said during camp suggests the FC Dallas midfielder is in his plans to start.
The defensive midfield role is an interesting one to consider, because while nobody would be shocked if Berhalter gave Wil Trapp another starter, this match would be a good opportunity to have a look at a player like Jackson Yuiell, who is performing well for the San Jose Earthquakes.
Berhalter could also give Roldan a look in the defensive midfield role, and give Pomykal a start next to Lletget, but as we noted earlier, a Pomykal start seems unlikely barring injury.
Josh Sargent should start at striker in his hometown of St. Louis, and no, not just because he’s playing at home. Gyasi Zardes was largely invisible against Mexico, and Sargent looks poised to bypass him on the striker depth chart for good.
Jordan Morris should start on the right wing in place of Tyler Boyd, who struggled against Mexico.
On the left, Corey Baird is in camp and has played that role before, but something to consider is the possibility of playing Zardes on the wing. His hold-up play as a target striker leaves plenty to be desired, but his work rate and speed could make him a viable option on the wing for this match.
What do you think of this projected lineup? Who would you like to see start against Uruguay?
Share your thoughts below.