The U.S. national team faces a crucial match against Paraguay in Philadelphia on Saturday in their Group A finale.
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For the USMNT the equation is simple: win and you’re in the Copa America Centenario last eight.
Even if Jurgen Klinsmann’s side draw they will still likely qualify as group runners up behind Colombia, as Costa Rica would have to make up a six-goal deficit and win their final Group A game against Colombia.
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The U.S. national team head coach has already said he aims to “go for the win” and has talked up the unpredictability of Paraguay. The Paraguayans will be going for the win too, as they need a win to make it through as the USMNT’s expense.
Below is a look at how the U.S. should start on Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field.
USMNT XI vs. Paraguay
—– Guzan —–
— Yedlin — Cameron — Brooks — Johnson —
— Bedoya — Bradley — Jones —
— Zardes — Dempsey — Wood —
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That old adage rings true right now. On the back of a huge win against Costa Rica to put themselves in a good spot, Klinsmann doesn’t need to change anything.
The only thing he may look at is starting Darlington Nagbe maybe for Gyasi Zardes, just to give the U.S. a better defensive shape when they don’t have the ball. Seeing as the U.S. only need a draw to all but secure their path to the quarterfinals, it may be the smart play.
That said, Klinsmann’s pre-game comments suggest he will stick with the same lineup and he wants to attack Paraguay. The U.S. could be susceptible on the counter, as Paraguay showed they’re extremely good at springing those after soaking up plenty of pressure from Colombia in their narrow 2-1 defeat with 10-men on Wednesday.
All in all, the U.S. defense is looking settled, the midfield three got the balance right last time out and Clint Dempsey is getting more help from Bobby Wood and Zardes. Can this U.S. team build on their big win against Costa Rica?