The USMNT will face Saudi Arabia in Murcia, Spain in their final warm-up before the start of the 2022 World Cup in November, and their best starting XI raises a lot of questions.
Especially in the center back and front.
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After a shock loss to Japan (where the USMNT was flattered 2-0 to Japan), Gregg Berhalter has a lot to think about as he juggles his lineup ahead of the final audition.
Yes, six key players (Weah, Steffen, A. Robinson, Carter-Vickers, Richards and Musa) were missing from this final USMNT pre-World Cup camp, but the biggest worry is that no one took advantage of the opportunity presented to them against Japan. . Will anyone be able to go up against Saudi Arabia and secure their place in the roster or even in the starting roster?
Below is our estimated lineup, along with an analysis of what Berhalter should be doing during the last 90 minutes he has with the team before they start their World Cup campaign against Wales on November 21st in Qatar.
Projected USMNT starting lineup vs. Saudi Arabia (4-3-3)
—— Croatian ——
– Scully – Zimmerman – Palmer-Brown – Dest –
— Adams — McKenny —
— Reina —
— Aaronson — Baby — Pulisic —
What should Berhalter do?
It is clear that Gregg Berhalter will make many substitutions, as eight players (six outfield, two goalkeepers) did not play a minute against Japan last time. However, he needs the key players of this team to find the rhythm, playing together less than two months before the start of the World Cup. This starting line-up should combine giving players one last chance to impress and allowing star players to work alongside each other as they look to build momentum ahead of the World Cup.
Matt Turner proved himself the undisputed No. 1 when he scored against Japan (perhaps the only player to leave that game with any credit), and while Zach Steffen is better with the ball at his feet, Turner appears to have the advantage. This leaves Ethan Horvath and Sean Johnson fighting for the bottom spot on the list. Expect both of them to get a chance in this game.
On defense, Eric Palmer-Brown and Mark McKenzie should get enough minutes to finally claim a spot on the lineup, but it might be a surprise to see them together. Perhaps each of them will have 45 minutes together with Zimmerman (guaranteed starting XI in CB) to see which of the duos are doing better?
At fullback, Joe Scully should run from the right, while Sergino Dest is likely to show his versatility and play on the left flank. The likes of Dest and others need playing time given they are on the fringes of their starting XI for their club teams. Now we know what DeAndre Yedlin can do and he is the leader of this team who is going to Qatar no matter what.
In midfield, I would put Tyler Adams and Weston McKenny together again. They looked terrible against Japan, which was very surprising. This duo should forge some sort of partnership and 60 minutes together could see things fall into place for them. We know what Luca de la Torre and Kellyn Acosta have to offer, while Johnny Cardoso and Malik Tillman could get another, longer shot at the roster.
Gio Reina, who is central at number 10, should be a priority for Berhalter, while Christian Pulisic is in good shape and will start (according to Berhalter), so he should start on the left and Brenden Aaronsohn should start on the right. It is necessary to teach Aaronsson, Reina and Pulisic to play together and change places.
At the summit, Berhalter confirmed that Ricardo Pepi would get a chance to start and his physique and speed should play very well with the trio below him. Expect Josh Sargent to get a good chunk of minutes too, while Jesús Ferreira is another option at the top, but maybe we could see Pulisic or Reyna playing there as a false nine at some point in the game?
Fair or not, Saudi Arabia’s match against USMNT on Tuesday will be the subject of much scrutiny, like any friendly match in the recent history of the US men’s national team.
[ MORE: Projected starting XI vs Saudi Arabia ]
Gregg Berhalter’s men looked sloppy at best and out of control at worst in Friday’s 2-0 loss to Japan in Düsseldorf, and it’s incredibly unsettling for the Yankees as they head towards their return to the World Cup, a time when teams usually question fine-tuning, and not what, well, but uuuuuuuuuu a lot of.
Let’s be very honest with Berhalter, who has a young team and several memorable and absolutely amazing CONCACAF triumphs to his credit: there are injuries right now – Christian Pulisic got injured on Friday – and the coach doesn’t have access to Timothy Weah. , Cameron Carter-Vickers and Chris Richards.
[ MORE: What we learned from Japan vs USA | Player ratings ]
But his opinion is being questioned by Fulham captain Tim Rome, Union Berlin center Jordan Pefok and Benfica defender John Brooks, healthy and ready to contribute but staying at home. Berhalter questioned their fit with the system, and also said something vague about the team not expressing their “personality” compared to Japan, which sounds pretty bad when the system looks terrible.
That’s why a big performance against the solid and stubborn Saudi Arabia, a team theoretically chosen for its resemblance to World Cup group stage rivals Iran, could really lift the spirits of the American football world everywhere. And although Berhalter could say that only the fans need the elevator, he would be joking with himself.
Remember: while all of American football wants the team to go deep into Qatar, this should set the stage for a real test of the trophy on home soil in 4.5 years. At the moment it sounds silly. A year and a half ago, late at night against Mexico, that didn’t happen. Fixing this would be a good first step, and the next chance is Tuesday.
How to watch Saudi Arabia vs USMNT live, updates and start times
“The volatility of this team, even with injuries, is shocking.”
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) September 24, 2022
Saudi Arabia Head-to-head record against USMNT
It will be the seventh meeting between the Yankees and the Green Falcons, but the first since 1999 against a national team representing political issues for the United States. Saudi Arabia won two of the first four matches, but the Yankees took home wins in the 1995 friendly and the 1999 Confederations Cup. All of the above on-pitch mentions mean absolutely nothing for Tuesday, but they’re interesting to note in the pre-match preview (flip emoji emoji).
The inside story of Saudi Arabia
This is a very experienced team from Saudi Arabia who have passed 13W-4D-1L in World Cup qualification and have experience in a lot of 1-0, including Spain’s recent friendly defeats to Colombia and Venezuela. The team will also feel at home in Murcia, where they played these matches and where they had a scoreless game against Ecuador four days before this match. Ecuador outplayed the Saudis 11-5 and held 60 percent of the ball, but all of that will give you the argument you deserve better than a single point scored in a real match. If you want to see your Yankees break down a solid team, Tuesday is a good chance.
USMNT Team News, Injuries, Roster
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