USMNT-Colombia preview: Bradley’s back, but the new stars are not

AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo, File
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The United States men’s national team is back, and will play a match one year and one day removed from its colossal failure in Couva.

The Yanks were eliminated from World Cup qualification on Oct. 10, 2017, failing to ever find their footing in a must-win contest against Trinidad and Tobago’s B Team.

[ MORE: 1 year on from USMNT’s dark day ] 

How fitting, then, that the American squad set to face Colombia on Thursday is still a bit of a B Side by its own standards? Yes, Michael Bradley and Brad Guzan are back in the fold, but Dave Sarachan hasn’t just called up another a young side. He’s been forced to operate without new key pieces Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, and Tyler Adams (all injured).

Bradley is the most interesting piece in that he’s been one the main targets of scorn and blame for the failure in Trinidad and Tobago. On any other team, he waltzes back into the Starting XI. But how is Sarachan viewing this week, and the USMNT’s longtime captain?

Colombia is bringing plenty of A-listers to the affair, starting with James Rodriguez, Juan Cuadrado, Carlos Bacca, and Radamel Falcao. They’ll provide a stiff test for an American back line which is really beginning to function well together. DeAndre Yedlin, John Brooks, and Matt Miazga will figure in the set-up, but will Sarachan opt for three, four, or five at the back?

Or will he try some new blood, with MLS standouts Reggie Cannon, Aaron Long, and Ben Sweat angling for their first caps?

The other uncapped player in Nordsjaelland winger Jonathan Amon, a 19-year-old now featuring for the senior team after several years in the academy of the Danish powers.

Colombia beat the USMNT twice at the 2016 Copa America, once in the group stage and then again in the third place match. The Yanks haven’t come out on top against Los Cafeteros since a 2005 friendly.

The goal scorers that day? Pat Noonan, Chad Marshall, and Clint Mathis.