The United States faces Ecuador in a game that looks, for multiple reasons, like it’ll be an interesting one. First of all, the USMNT is facing a dangerous South American team, which beats another game against the same old Concacaf faces. Second, and the point that got people talking, is the prospect of seeing Tyler Adams deployed in the hybrid right back/defensive midfielder role that Gregg Berhalter sees as part of his system with the U.S. right now.
That has reverberations elsewhere in the team, which for the first time under Berhalter includes most of the European contingent for the first time since he took over the program. We’ll see what his plans are with Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie, though Josh Sargent and Tim Weah were left out (they’re with, ugh, Jason Kreis and the under-23s during this window).
Location: Orlando City Stadium (Orlando, FL)
Kickoff time: 8:00pm Eastern
Projected USMNT starting 11: (433) - Ethan Horvath; Tyler Adams, Matt Miazga, John Brooks, Tim Ream; Weston McKennie, Wil Trapp, Christian Pulisic; DeAndre Yedlin, Gyasi Zardes, Paul Arriola
Bench: Sean Johnson, Jesse Gonzalez, Nick Lima, Omar Gonzalez, Aaron Long, Nick Lovitz, Cristian Roldan, Michael Bradley, Sebastian Lletget, Jordan Morris, Corey Baird, Christian Ramirez, Jonathan Lewis
I’ll admit I’m taking a guess about Ream, but he’s played left back before, and remember the flexible situation within this formation. With Adams pushing up into the midfield, the rest of the defenders shift into a back three, and left-center back probably suits Ream just fine.
There are a couple spots I’m not sure about here. Is Miazga going to start over Long or Gonzalez? And along the front line, is Gregg Berhalter going to go with his throwback usage of Yedlin as a winger straight away? Doing so would mean either ignoring MLS’s two most in-form right wingers at the moment (Morris and Arriola) or playing them in positions they don’t play with their clubs. However, given that Morris has played more on the left than on the right in his career, and that Arriola did quite well on the left during his last USMNT stint, maybe that worry isn’t so important. Finally, we could also see Ramirez or even Baird start over Zardes.
Available TV: ESPN2, UniMas, Univision Deportes
Available streaming: WatchESPN, Univision Now, Univision Deportes En Vivo
For listings in other countries, check out LiveSoccerTV.com.
we our friends have to say about it?: Stars and Stripes FC has the U.S. roster (along with an update that we do not like around these parts), a scouting report on Ecuador, and an overall preview.
What are you drinking?: Odds are I’ll be getting back from meeting friends to watch Maryland’s men’s basketball team defeat Belmont (a university that I am choosing to believe was founded by the Belmont family from the Castlevania series of games, please do not tell me otherwise), so probably nothing more complicated than a beer.
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