The U.S. national team face Paraguay in Cary, North Carolina on Tuesday in a friendly game which has so far flown well under the radar.
As interim head coach Dave Sarachan prepares to take charge of his third game as USMNT boss, the U.S. have only had friendlies against Portugal in November and Bosnia & Herzegovina in January since they crashed out of 2018 World Cup qualifying.
Yes, that’s right. In case you hadn’t heard, the U.S. aren’t going to the 2018 World Cup. On a serious note: this game and the upcoming friendlies in May and June are all about building for the future.
The average age of this squad is 23 years and 84 days, with 13 players 22 years old or younger as the likes of teenagers Timothy Weah, Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie will look to make their mark and stay in the USMNT after a week of training in North Carolina.
Below is a look at how Sarachan could line up his team with a mixture of youth and a few more experienced players in DeAndre Yedlin, Darlington Nagbe and Bobby Wood falling into the latter category.
JPW’s USMNT XI v Paraguay
—– Hamid —–
—- Yedlin —- Miazaga —- Carter-Vickers —- Robinson —-
—- Adams —- Nagbe —- McKennie —-
—- Weah —- Wood —- Saief —-
With Brad Guzan and Tim Howard perhaps coming to the end of their USMNT career (Guzan may have a few more years left in the tank), Bill Hamid really is the next man in line. Both Alex Bono and Zack Steffen will get their chances but you feel that Hamid is now ready to step up and be the long-term No.1. In defense DeAndre Yedlin and Matt Miazga will both likely start as they’ve had plenty of U.S. national team experience between them, while Antonee Robinson should get the nod at left back after his superb form on loan at Bolton this season but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Jorge Villafana get another chance at left back. One of CCV or Erik Palmer-Brown (EPB) will get the nod alongside Miazga and it will be intriguing to see if CCV and Miazga can continue their CB partnership from youth level.
In midfield things look very exciting with Darlington Nagbe, Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie, Wil Trapp and Cristian Roldan all battling for a starting spot. Nagbe, Adams and McKennie seem like a good partnership with the Adams and McKennie the standout players from the friendly draw at Portugal back in November. Up top, Bobby Wood will lead the line and in a 4-3-3 formation having Kenny Saief and Timothy Weah out wide would provide the U.S. with a balance of trickery and pace in support of Wood.