How the USMNT could set up for Colombia to open Copa America Centenario

Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

The United States men’s national team opens its biggest tournament in two years on Friday, welcoming Colombia to California for the start of the Copa America Centenario.

Colombia is a major step-up in competition from the Yanks’ recent 4-0 blowout of Bolivia, but USMNT boss Jurgen Klinsmann has vowed his side will “go for it” against Los Cafeteros.

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The U.S. made a pair of changes at halftime of the Bolivia match after beginning with a pair of unorthodox fullbacks in Matt Besler and Michael Orozco (at least on the national team level), inserting DeAndre Yedlin at right back and Fabian Johnson at left back.

It’s reasonable to believe the U.S. will line up in the same manner against Colombia, like this:


Yedlin — Cameron — Brooks — Johnson


Jones — Bedoya

Wood — Dempsey — Zardes

It’s not quite that simple, though, as Johnson is a wonderful attacker at left wing for Borussia Monchengladbach, and new call-up Edgar Castillo was still with Monterrey for the Yanks’ most recent friendlies.

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Yet it’s hard to imagine Klinsmann, even considering his predilection for appearing unpredictable, would’ve left his starting left back off the 23-man roster (Castillo was called up once Timmy Chandler was hurt). But we suppose this could be an option:


Yedlin — Cameron — Brooks — Castillo


Zardes — Jones — Bedoya — Johnson

Wood (or Dempsey)

There are more unorthodox, player-centric ways to look at this, too. Klinsmann could take Zardes and move him up top in a 4-4-2 with Bobby Wood to keep Colombia’s back line from focusing on a single striker, but without sacrificing the space the midfield of a 4-3-3.


Yedlin — Cameron — Brooks — Castillo

Bedoya — Jones — Bradley — Johnson

Wood — Zardes

What do you think?