USMNT v. Panama preview, projected starting XI
The Gregg Berhalter era begins properly Sunday as he takes charge of his first game as the U.S. men’s national team head coach.
Panama are the opponents for the USMNT at State Farm Stadium at Glendale, Ariz. (kick off, 8 p.m. ET) with Berhalter having over three weeks to work with his squad of MLS players during the January camp.
We will all be looking to see if Berhalter has managed to bring his possession-based, direct style from Columbus to the USMNT, while realizing that the majority of his best players are in Europe and won’t suit up for the U.S. until March at the earliest.
With Michael Bradley the most experienced player by far, it will be intriguing to see who lines up for Berhalter as the likes of Wil Trapp, Zack Steffen and Gyasi Zardes will no doubt play a huge role for the USMNT moving forward after playing under Berhalter with the Columbus Crew.
The likes of Mihailovic, Baird, Canouse and Lovitz have all reportedly impressed during the January camp, while Jonathan Lewis, Jerome Ebobisse and Christian Ramirez are also all in line to make their debuts.
Panama will not provide the toughest test for Berhalter’s side as the game falls outside of the FIFA match window and only seven of their 18-man squad have previously played for the national team. Forward Abdiel Arroyo and defender Fidel Escobar are the two experienced players for Los Canaleros.
Below is a look at a projected starting lineup for the USMNT against Panama, as they also face Costa Rica in a friendly in San Jose, Calif. on Feb. 2 before a clash with Chile in March.
Projected starting lineup for USMNT (4-3-3)
----- Steffen -----
---- Cannon --- Zimmerman --- Long --- Lovitz ---
---- Bradley ---- Trapp ----
----- Mihailovic -----
--- Arriola --- Zardes --- Baird ---