US Soccer’s eyes – and Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel – will be on Gregg Berhalter’s lineup for USMNT’s big Friday match against Mexico in the World Cup qualifiers.
Yank’s face The Tri with a chance to level up at the top of the qualifying table, and Chelsea star Christian Pulisic is healthy but just returned from a long-term injury.
Pulisic is America’s best playmaker, and it matters even more when Giovanni Reyna is unavailable due to injury, but will Berthalter choose to bring him off the bench against Mexico and see what that means for Jamaica next week? Will it be two subs appearances? Can Pulisic start both? Do none of them play?
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Berhalter has played 4-3-3 in almost every qualifier, though he experimented with formations in the Gold Cup and played 3-4-3 against Mexico in the CONCACAF Nations League final.
It was a 4-3-3 in the Gold Cup final, and although surprises are a good way to beat the opponent, it seems unlikely that Berhalter would use home ground against his biggest rival to throw a wrench at a plan he believes has been. pretty successful through six qualifications.
Sergino Dest joins Reyna as absent for those qualifiers, while Berhalter opted out of calling John Brooks into camp, which also leaves questions along the back line, plus there is uncertainty over whether Berhalter sees Matt Turner or Zack Steffen as a clear No. 1 goalkeeper now. that both are healthy in the same camp.
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The safest bet would be a 4-3-3 with minimal changes in the lineup that beat Jamaica and Costa Rica. The only differences between the two Starting XIs saw Chris Richards in for Miles Robinson, Zack Steffen for Turner and Timothy Weah for Paul Arriola.
Pulisic is, of course, the second big question among possible starters, while Gianluca Busio’s midfield play with Venice – which just made Roma upset when the American played very well – will give Berhalter reason to investigate whether the Sporting KC alumni should start or Musah.
And Kellyn Acosta started in both the CNL and Gold Cup finals against Mexico and went the distance in both.
Let’s try it after the jump:
How will the USMNT lineup against Mexico in the big home World Cup qualifier?
Turner has become more regular race with New England and helped shine Mexico in the Gold Cup final. Steffen starts in Jamaica
Scally – M. Robinson – Zimmerman – A. Robinson
For better or worse, Berhalter has not hesitated to give players their first WCQ start in big places, and he also seems to take fair criticism seriously, and he heard a lot about Scally’s success in Gladbach while not being called up to the final round of qualifications. That said, he has preferred DeAndre Yedlin as the back-sub in recent outings. Scally can only be a more like-for-like with Dest. Miles Robinson starts over Richards and Mark McKenzie.
Acosta – McKennie
There is reason to insert Musah over Acosta, but the savvy Mexico midfielder with Hector Herrera and Andres Guardado could make the threat more appealing to Berhalter. In addition, it could free up McKennie to help the attack in case Pulisic does not start.
Weah – Pepi – Aaronson
Paul Arriola’s experience in and against Mexico should not be underestimated, but he has not been at his best in recent qualifiers, while Weah has done enough to beg why he has not seen more time. The combination of Weah and Aaronson – plus McKennie – should attract attention and give young Ricardo Pepi more room to use his skills against a nation that finished in second place when he chose his national team fidelity.