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Who should the USMNT start vs. Canada?


The battle for first place in Concacaf Gold Cup Group B takes place on Sunday, and the U.S. Men’s National Team will be expected to deploy a veteran squad in its quest to beat Canada and top the group.

The Americans are coming off a 6-1 against Martinique in a match that featured the youngest starting lineup in a competitive match in USMNT history, but Gregg Berhalter will likely go with a veteran-heavy squad to try and halt Canada’s winning streak.

Reggie Cannon is back and healthy after missing the first two USMNT matches at the Gold Cup and should step into the lineup, while veterans Sebastian Lletget and Gyasi Zardes should return to the lineup after not starting against Martinique.

Berhalter will have some difficult decisions to make, particularly in the defensive midfield role, and at striker, where Daryl Dike made a strong case to remain a starter after his two-goal effort on Thursday.

With all that in mind, here is the starting lineup we could see the USMNT deploying against Canada on Sunday:

Projected USMNT Starting Lineup vs. Canada


Photo by John Dorton/ISI Photos

Matt Turner

After two straight starts, Turner should continue to be the starter on Sunday. Gregg Berhalter could give veteran Sean Johnson a look, but Turner is the safer bet to stay in the role.


Photo by John Dorton/ISI Photos

Reggie Cannon, Walker Zimmerman, Miles Robinson, Sam Vines

Reggie Cannon’s confirmed on Saturday that he is ready to go for Sunday’s match against Canada after missing the first two Gold Cup matches, and his return is key because he will likely being seeing plenty of Canada’s most dangerous attacking weapon, New England Revolution winger Tajon Buchanan.

Sam Vines should return to the starting lineup at left back, with George Bello not having done enough against Martinique to justify unseating Vines from the first-choice role.

Miles Robinson and Walker Zimmerman should start if Berhalter goes with a four-man defense, and they match up well with Canada’s physical forwards, with James Sands the safe bet to step in and start of a 5-3-2 is deployed.


Photo by John Dorton/ISI Photos

Sebastian Lletget, Cristian Roldan, Kellyn Acosta

Lletget and Acosta return to the starting lineup after not starting against Martinique, while Roldan retains his starting role after impressing on Thursday.

Gianluca Busio has been outstanding in his two Gold Cup appearances and has given Berhalter a lot to think about regarding how to handle the defensive midfield role, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Berhalter entrusts Busio with a start on Sunday. That being said, with Cannon back, Kellyn Acosta should step into the defensive midfield role, where his experience will be key to trying to neutralize Canada’s solid midfield, while Busio is a good bet to be used off the bench.


Photo by John Dorton/ISI Photos

Matthew Hoppe, Daryl Dike, Gyasi Zardes

The safest bet to start among the forwards is Zardes, who came off the bench and scored a goal against Martinique and was clearly rested with an eye towards Sunday. The big question is whether Berhalter deploys him as the lead striker, or in a wide forward role.

Daryl Dike looked outstanding against Martinique and has made a strong case to start against Canada, and it will be up to Berhalter to decide if he wants to make Dike the lead striker and Zardes a wide forward, of play Zardes in his natural striker role and play someone like Nicholas Gioacchini as a wide forward.

Matthew Hoppe is still building up his match fitness, but his showing on Thursday, and the unique qualities he brings to the front line compared to the other forward options, should earn him a place in the front three.

What do you think of this projected lineup? Who are you most excited to see play? Who isn’t in our projected starting lineup that you would have made a starter?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I know Ives is close with the GBs lineups. Only off every so often a player or 2. …but I would like to see 3-4-3 vs Canada.
    Subs if the US is up a goal or 2! 70-Zardes (Dike) ‘75-Williamson (Busio) ‘80-Cannon (Moore), ‘85-Roldan (Hoppe) Of course, these subs will shift to more of a defensive shape. C’mon US! Let’s win the group!!

  2. B plays C in the quarters. This means we either play the ticos or the reggae boys be nice to bounce either of these teams and hopefully get a matchup with the 2024 World Cup hosts In the semis, then a Mexico showdown in the final

    • Strike that, the 2022 hosts. You know em better as gutter. Reminds me of the lyrics from a dead song. ‘Rat in a drain ditch, caught on a limb, you know better, but I know him’

    • Nothing, there is no more Confederations Cup. Bragging rights and significantly more prize money if you finish 1st or 2nd.

  3. This is the line-up I think Berhalter selects and the line-up I would probably pick myself. I might personally go with Moore instead of Cannon, bu8t it would depend on how ready Cannon is. If he’s 100% and in shape, then Cannon, but if there’s doubt, Shaq Moore. I’m not totally comfortable with Vines, but I don’t know if there are better options with the players we have here.

  4. – Agree with Acosta over Busio. Busio’s biggest weakness in winning defensive duels, where Acosta is an upgrade. Bring in Busio if need a spark late in the game.
    – Cannon and Vines on the back wings will cause headaches for Canada defensively linking with the midfield. Canada has at best an average defense. Expect Cannon can keep pace with Buchanan.
    – Agree with the striker and wings. Hoping Hoppe can give us a bit more than 60 minutes, as he will link up well with Lletget. Lewis is a bust, so Gioachinni plugs in when he tires. Moore has been a revelation this GC, and can plug in and maybe move Roldan as needed.
    – At this point, you can pencil in Turner, Zimmerman and Robinson for WCQ roles.

    • I’m not sure Robinson is there yet. He had some poor passes and was beat over the top at least once. It was similar to Vines game the other day if he hadn’t scored it would have been considered a poor performance. Just one poor performance but it was against Martinique. Of course I expect us to call 26-28 for these three match windows so I think he’s definitely in that discussion.

      • I think we’ll see the Zimmerman-Robinson pairing through the GC, and both have earned it. Looking at the current depth chart for CB, Robinson is probably on par with McKenzie. Richards is young and likely needs a consistent starting role at Hoffenheim to gain experience, but is in the mix. Berhalter will want maybe 4 CBs for each 3 game set, and has with Brooks to pick from with the other four. I like his chances.

    • I think today it would be Brooks, Zimmerman, Richards, McKenzie, Robinson. Sands may work himself into that list, and CCV started for Spurs today might well be an EPL CB for someone (probably not Spurs) before the first qualifiers. I don’t think there’s any guarantee that Ream won’t still be included either. There’s 8, Miazga would make 9, and honestly 2-9 are not far off each other. With Robinson we saw he’s not as comfortable playing as a LCB in 3 man backline, whereas Richards and McKenzie play there for their club. Versatility might give them an advantage. A good performance against Canada and he’s solidly in the top 5, but another weak performance and he might be 8 or 9 on the list.

      • I had Miazga on that list, but his limited playing time in NL led me to believe Berhalter wanted other options. Zimmerman is similar to Miazga with aerials and physicality, but lacked distribution, which seems to have improved. I agree that today there is little disparity between the current pool of CBs below Brooks. .
        If Sands proves himself as a 6, he moves up the depth chart. You can never have enough players who can play multiple positions on your bench.

  5. — Hoppe Dike Lletget
    Vines Acosta Wiliamson Moore (Cannon on for last 30)
    – Robinson Sands Zimmermann
    – Turner

    I think Sands in middle of back 3, would be a great way to rest Adams and use Sands as essentially a 6, during qualifying

    • After re-watching the last game was thinking that they way Sands played he could be a viable option to back-up Adams when everyone was available. His positioning was spot on, his decision making was very good (knowing when to step into a challenge/space and when to bide time), and his passing was smart & simple. Sands may not be a slick CDM, but he wouldn’t be a defensive liability like Yueill either.

  6. I’d really like to see Busio get the start at the 6. If he’s getting roughed up, sure, Acosta’s an option after 60 or 65, but I’d personally like to see if Busio can set the tone. His ability to pick out the right pass is just pristine and I think we’d have far more of the ball with him and be a lot more composed as a unit. His composure is…contagious. Acosta’s a heavy-footed banger and gives the ball away cheaply and that tends to be contagious as well. I honestly think Busio would boss and control the game a lot better than Acosta would. Just my opinion.

    • Or just play Busio for Roldan. Better overall skill set. We need to keep the ball in midfield since we have plenty of attack in front of the midfield 3. I see Roldan is 60/40 attack/defense. Busio more balanced.

  7. rest the starters, play the scrubs. basic tournament soccer. worrying about what round we play mexico is loser talk.

      • in case you don’t know we have 3 more games after this. in case you didn’t know we have a fall of league games plus a ton of 3 game international windows. in case you forgot we will have played 3 games in 10 or so days.

    • You realize this guys are professionals right? They’re used to playing 3 games in a week. They have nutrition and training staff to help with recovery. Berhalter has already been rotating players and managing minutes.


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