The time has arrived. The much-anticipated matchup for the USMNT against Lionel Messi and the Argentinian machine for a spot in the Copa America finals is here.
With Alejandro Bedoya, Bobby Wood, and Jermaine Jones all suspended for yellow and red card accumulation, Jurgen Klinsmann has been forced to swing things around. There was much speculation the last few days about how he would shuffle the deck, and now we have the answer.
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The German has decided to change to a static 4-4-2 formation, bringing in Kyle Beckerman into midfield in place of Jermaine Jones, Graham Zusi in for Alejandro Bedoya on the wing, and the biggest surprise of all, Chris Wondolowski into the attack in place of Bobby Wood.
It could be a moment of redemption for Wondolowski, who sees his first start since the 2015 Gold Cup 3rd place match against Panama. It will also be a massive test in the middle of the field, using 34-year-old Kyle Beckerman to hold the center of the pitch. Beckerman will have just Michael Bradley next to him to hold down the fort against Lionel Messi and the speedy Argentinian attack.
For Argentina, Nicolas Gaitin is suspended and Angel Di Maria is injured, so in comes 31-year-old Ezequiel Lavezzi. Lionel Messi starts for the second straight game after coming off the bench for the first two games of the tournament. The Argentinian bench is stacked, with Sergio Aguero, Erik Lamela, and Javier Pastore able to provide reinforcements.
United States – Guzan; Yedlin, Cameron, Brooks, Johnson; Zusi, Beckerman, Bradley; Zardes, Dempsey. Wondolowski.
Argentina – Romero; Mercado, Otamendi, Funes Mori, Rojo; Augusto, Mascherano, Banega; Messi, Higuain, Lavezzi.