USMNT-Venezuela preview: Yanks get warm-up for WCQs

Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images
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The United States men’s national team will warm up for two critical World Cup qualifiers by tangling with Salomon Rondon and Venezuela on Saturday.

La Vinotinto has already been eliminated from World Cup qualification and has fared poorly on the road, with the exception of a pair of Copa America Centenario wins on neutral ground in the United States.

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They’ll hit Utah and the high elevation at Rio Tinto this weekend, which the U.S. hopes will ready itself for Thursday’s WCQ versus Trinidad and Tobago in Colorado and the big away tilt with Mexico at Azteca on June 11.

Bruce Arena’s Yanks are heavy favorites to find a win, and the manager has a full squad at his disposal.

Tim Howard is Arena’s starting goalkeeper, and John Brooks and Geoff Cameron have been a dynamic duo in the middle of the Americans’ back line (though there’s a case to be made for Cameron in the midfield, which weakens the center backs considerably but could free up Michael Bradley).

The easy guess for Arena’s formation would be something like this:

Howard

Yedlin — Cameron — Brooks — Villafana

Bradley

Pulisic — Nagbe — Johnson

Altidore — Wood

That doesn’t mean Arena won’t take some chances in the friendly, perhaps with a new formation or personnel changes. Maybe Kellyn Acosta or Dax McCarty will get a look in the center of the park, or Matt Hedges at center back?

In any event, the expectation should be a win ahead of two important qualifiers.