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USMNT v. Chile preview

Ecuador US Soccer

United States midfielder Christian Pulisic (10) passes the ball during the first half of an international friendly soccer match against Ecuador, Thursday, March 21, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)


Can it possibly be “No McKennie, no Adams, no problem” for Gregg Berhalter’s United States men’s national team?

McKennie has joined Adams in departing camp after the pair had very different performances in a 1-0 defeat of Ecuador last week, and are seemingly huge parts of the USMNT’s future.

[ RECAP: USMNT 1-0 Ecuador ]

But there are several players who will get deserved starts in their stead on Tuesday evening against Chile, as the competition takes another step up following wins over Costa Rica, Panama, and Ecuador.

And that midfield is going to be tested, as Reinaldo Rueda La Roja brings Arturo Vidal and Charles Aranguiz to Houston and boasts a 5-3-2 record against the USMNT. And the nine-man defensive corps is three-deep in centurions.

Ranked 13th by FIFA and 18th by EloRatings, the Chileans do bring question marks in attack. Diego Rubio is a decent enough MLS striker, but there is not an Alexis Sanchez in the bunch. Nicolas Castillo scored his third international goal in a 3-1 loss to Mexico on Friday, and is the only player in the 4-deep forward corps to have scored in a Chile shirt.

Berhalter remains all about possession, but we should see more recognition and big switches in the future when encountering defensive tactics from the opposition. From

“It was [about] breaking down the midfield line of five, trying to draw out their central midfielders, and then penetrate their line,” Berhalter said. “And when you can’t do that, we needed to play more diagonal behind their line. And I think we lacked the diagonal-behind-the-line, that should have been used much more. They were shifting over to one side and we could have been playing behind their line more often.”

Speaking of getting behind the line, will Christian Pulisic again play a central attacking role in the midfield or might Berhalter put the Borussia Dortmund playmaker out wide?

Kickoff from Texas will come shortly after 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

Follow @NicholasMendola