The U.S. men’s national team host Colombia in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, with Dave Sarachan without several of his brightest young talents due to injury.
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Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams all withdraw from the USMNT squad to face Colombia and Peru due to injury, meaning that Sarachan’s options are a little thin in midfield areas.
After recalling veterans Brad Guzan and Michael Bradley into the squad for the first time since the crushing defeat to Trinidad & Tobago on Oct. 10, 2017 which ended the USA’s hopes of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, this team expected to have a more experienced core compared with the youthful teams over the past 12 months.
Below is a look at two options for how I’d line up the USMNT against Los Cafeteros, with James Rodriguez and Co. beating the U.S. on each of the last three occasions they’ve played them since 2014.
JPW’s USMNT starting lineup option 1 (3-4-3)
—– Guzan —–
—- Carter-Vickers —- Miazga —- Brooks —-
— Yedlin — Bradley — Trapp — Robinson —
—- Weah —- Wood —- Green —-
JPW’s USMNT starting lineup option 2 (4-2-3-1)
—– Steffen —–
—- Cannon —- Long —- Brooks —- Sweat —-
—- Delgado —– Acosta —-
—- Green —- Saief — Amon —-
—– Sargent —–
Option 1 is focused on having the most experience in the team, while Option 2 is all about getting as many of the USMNT youngsters players involved as possible. Will Guzan and Bradley start both games against Colombia or Peru? Probs not. It is likely that Colombia, despite having plenty of new faces in its squad, will provide a tougher test than Peru for the USMNT and I’d expect to see Guzan in goal in Tampa. Having a back three of Carter-Vickers, Brooks and Miazga would be wonderful to see and is something that would really help the U.S. stay solid against these top 10 nations in the latest FIFA world rankings. With the pace of Yedlin and Robinson in wing-back roles, that gets the best out of their strengths, while Michael Bradley and Wil Trapp are very similar players but the U.S. could do with two holders if Weah, Wood and Green play ahead of them.
Option 2 gives plenty of youngsters and newcomers a chance to shine, with Sargent and Amon particular rising stars in Europe. I’d likely use Option 2 against Peru and Sarachan should use as many players as possible across the two games to experiment and see if they are capable of being at this level. In November, when the U.S. head to Wembley to play England and then play Italy, it is likely a more senior squad will be announced along with youngsters who have taken their chances. The games against Colombia and Peru seem to represent the final few chances for quite a few players under Sarachan, with the interim boss likely to be coaching his final games for the national team in November before a new head coach is appointed.