USMNT - Jamaica takes center stage on Thursday, as Gregg Berhalter’s young squad play their first friendly of two in March and the USA’s head coach hinted has hinted at trying out a new formation.
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For the U.S. men’s national team, these tests against Jamaica and Northern Ireland will be key for players trying to impress the coaching staff one final time before they next play at the end of May ahead of the CONCACAF Nations League and then the Gold Cup and World Cup qualifiers later in the summer.
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With Weston McKennie (hip injury) and Tyler Adams (travel restrictions) missing for this game, there is a big chance for central midfielders to step up. And there is a lot of debate about a few other positions in the USMNT starting lineup too.
With that in mind, here’s a look at our projected starting lineup for the USMNT against Jamaica.
How will USMNT lineup v. Jamaica? (3-4-2-1)
----- Steffen -----
--- Richards --- Long --- Brooks ---
--- Dest --- Musah --- Acosta --- Robinson ---
--- Reyna --- Pulisic ---
----- Sargent -----
Analysis of potential starting lineup
Zack Steffen is the clear frontrunner in goal, while John Brooks is the main man at the heart of the defense.
Right back is intriguing, as Reggie Cannon and Bryan Reynolds will push Sergino Dest all the way in years to come, and the Barcelona youngster has been sensational in a more advanced role in recent weeks. We could easily see Dest line up as a left back and Cannon on the right, but for balance purposes having Antonee Robinson on the left and Dest on the right works best. Given Berhalter mentioned a potential formation change, we could see wing backs in a move away from the usual 4-3-3.
At center back, there are lots of options. Aaron Long, Tim Ream and Matt Miazga have had plenty of chances, but it would be great to see Chris Richards get his, especially as he’s been playing well on loan at Hoffenheim from Bayern Munich. Berhalter has hinted that he has ‘a lot of center backs’ so there could be a three-man central defense.
In midfield, with no Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie, this is a big chance for Kellyn Acosta to show he can be the ‘next man up’ when those players aren’t available. Berhalter likes the Colorado Rapids central midfielder a lot, and he’s one of the only true more defensive midfield players in this squad.
Yunus Musah and Sebastian Lletget could get the nod just ahead of Acosta in a midfield three, but Brenden Aaronson and Luca de la Torre will be pushing hard for minutes in those spots too.
In attack, it seems like that Gio Reyna and Christian Pulisic in the creative attacking roles (let’s goooooo!) and Tim Weah would have been in the conversation if he was able to travel.
The biggest debate is who will start up top. Josh Sargent and Daryl Dike are both in great form, and it seems like Sargent will get the nod as he’s missed recent squads. Theoson Siebatcheu and Nicholas Gioacchini will be ones to watch too, as the No. 9 and one center back spot is mostly up for grabs in this USMNT squad.