The toughest test of the U.S. men’s national team’s four-match stretch in June is upon us and Gregg Berhalter will no doubt be looking to simulate conditions his team will be facing six months from now in Qatar.
That means we should see a good number of starters against Uruguay that started in Wednesday’s win against Morocco, with the quick turnaround to Sunday’s match in Kansas City helping simulate the tight schedule the USMNT will face at the World Cup.
Berhalter had this in mind when he limited the minutes of some of his key players, such as Christian Pulisic, Tyler Adams and Walker Zimmerman. That doesn’t mean every player who went 90 minutes against Morocco will sit against Uruguay, but some like Yunus Musah and Tim Weah seem destined to be rested on Sunday.
We should see a few new faces in the starting lineup, with Luca De La Torre, Paul Arriola, Joe Scally and Cameron Carter-Vickers among the players who could be called on to face Uruguay.
What will the starting USMNT lineup look like on Sunday? Here’s a look at the squad we could see, and the lineup SBI would deploy if we were pulling the strings:
Projected USMNT XI vs. Uruguay
An outstanding eight-save performance against Morocco served as a good reminder of just how good the soon-to-be Arsenal goalkeeper can be and a start against Uruguay’s dangerous attack makes sense, with the Nations League matches coming up offering a better chance for Ethan Horvath and Sean Johnson.
DeAndre Yedlin, Walker Zimmerman, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Antonee Robinson
Zimmerman and Robinson are safe bets to stay in the lineup, but the bigger question marks are at right back and the other centerback spot. Reggie Cannon played 90 minutes and veteran DeAndre Yedlin didn’t play. Berhalter could give Cannon another start, which would be clear evidence he has pulled away from Yedlin in the race to be Sergiño Dest’s primary back-up.
Aaron Long put in a good shift against Morocco, though the Red Bulls defender was tested repeatedly and had some tough moments against Morocco’s physical forwards. Cameron Carter-Vickers had a good 45 minute shift and could step into the lineup, though we shouldn’t rule out the possibility of Erik Palmer-Brown getting a nod.
Tyler Adams, Luca De La Torre, Brenden Aaronson
Both Tyler Adams and Brenden Aaronson should be locks to start and both were pulled early against Morocco to keep them fresh for the challenge. The one change we should see in midfield is Luca De La Torre stepping in for Yunus Musah, who has been shown to not be equipped for the heavy load of consecutive starts on short rest.
Weston McKennie is still working his way back to full fitness and would obviously be a locked-in starter if he was fully fit. That being said, this should be a match where he sees a good-sized substitute’s appearance before a likely start against Grenada in the Nations League opener.
Kellyn Acosta was held out of the Morocco match due to a recent heavy workload for Los Angeles FC, so he is unlikely to factor into the starting midfield options.
Christian Pulisic, Jesus Ferreira, Paul Arriola
Christian Pulisic and Tim Weah had outstanding nights against Morocco and both would make sense as starters against Uruguay, though Weah went the full 90 minutes, which could open the door for Paul Arriola to start. Arriola has been in outstanding form with FC Dallas and his partnership with Jesus Ferreira has blossomed.
The striker position is an interesting one, with Ferreira playing just 45 minutes against Morocco, which suggests he’ll be given another run-out. Haji Wright put in a good shift in the second half against Morocco but he seems more likely to start against Grenada.
What do you think of the projected starting lineup? Who is missing that you would like to see start?
Share your thoughts below.