The U.S. Men’s National Team will look to carry over the momentum of last week’s 4-1 win against Jamaica with another strong showing against Northern Ireland, and we’ll see many of the same faces start on Sunday.
Gregg Berhalter will have some spots to fill after the departures of John Brooks and Reggie Cannon following the Jamaica match, but there will be several of the same standouts from Thursday featuring once again as the USMNT gets acclimated to the looming challenges of playing multiple matches in a short amount of time in World Cup qualifying.
Here is the lineup we could see take the field against Northern Ireland:
Projected USMNT starting lineup vs. Northern Ireland
Zack Steffen gets the nod again as expected, but you wonder if Berhalter gives Ethan Horvath a 45-minute runout in the second half.
Moving Sergino Dest to right back and starting Antonee Robinson is the easy move. The real question is in central defense, where the Aaron Long-Matt Miazga tandem reunites. The tandem has the experience edge on Chris Richards for the moment, but Richards should see another 45-minute appearance like he saw against Jamaica, likely partnered with Miazga.
Tim Ream is more a bench option who could spell Robinson if needed, or slide in central defense as a late substitute. Erik Palmer-Brown is another candidate for minutes, though he may still be behind the aforementioned options.
Kellyn Acosta had a strong game against Jamaica and should get the nod in the defensive midfield role once again. We should get to see a good dose of Owen Otasowie off the bench. Palmer-Brown also has experience in the defensive midfield role, as does Christian Cappis.
Brenden Aaronson looked sharp playing on the wing against Jamaica, but look for him to start in a more central role against Northern Ireland. Could Berhalter give Lletget another start to build up his connections with this group? Absolutely, but Aaronson has earned a starting look, and if anything, he should absolutely see a 45-minute shift in the second half.
Yunus Musah should step in and start again, with Luca De La Torre in position to replace him as a second-half substitute.
Daryl Dike might have been a candidate to start before picking up a minor knock last week. That, coupled with Josh Sargent being able to stay for the Northern Ireland match, makes Sargent a good bet to play at least the first 45 minutes, with Jordan Siebatcheu an option for the second half if Dike is unavailable.
On the wings, Christian Pulisic and Gio Reyna should get the nods once again, with Aaronson potentially shifting to the wing in the second half.
What do you think of the projected starting lineup? Who are you most excited to see play? Who didn’t make our projection that you hope makes it into the starting lineup?
Share your thoughts below.