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Projecting the USMNT lineup against Mexico

19:30 BST 11/09/2018
Kellyn Acosta Tyler Aams Neymar USA Brazil 09072018
The latest installment of the USA-Mexico rivalry will feature two young teams, and offer a glimpse of the future. Here's the squad the USMNT could use

The U.S. national team takes on Mexico on Tuesday in Nashville and both teams will be featuring young squads in a showcase of players that are just beginning their international careers.

Both teams are also coming off humbling losses to South American powers — a 2-0 USA loss to Brazil and a 4-1 Mexico loss to Uruguay — the types of results that might shake the confidence of an inexperienced group.

What should keep both from dwelling on those harsh results is the fact that they are both now set to face their teams greatest rival, in a match that is rarely short on intensity.

U.S. coach Dave Sarachan made it clear that he plans on making a handful of changes to the lineup that lost to Brazil — though at least two of those changes are down to the departures of John Brooks and Paul Arriola from camp.

"It’s important that we get a look at some new faces," Sarachan said on Monday. "So you can expect 4-6 changes in the starting lineup,"

Who will Sarachan call on to face Mexico? Here is a look at his options, and the squad he is likely to deploy:


Zack Steffen didn't put a foot wrong against Brazil, and couldn't be blamed for either goal the USMNT allowed, so Sarachan should turn to the Columbus Crew goalkeeper once again. Sarachan could decide to toss someone like Bono a start in order to spread the wealth, but right now there is a strong likelihood tthat he starts again..


Brooks' return to Germany opens the door for Cameron Carter-Vickers to slide back into his long-standing partnership with Matt Miazga in central defense. Tim Parker is a worthy candidate to start as well, but Sarachan's emphasis on developing the team's youngsters suggests someone like the 20-year-old Carter-Vickers.

Antonee Robinson endured a rough night against Brazil, but it was more a rough first half. He settled down and played better in the second half. Will that be enough for him to get another start against Mexico, or will Sarachan call on the veteran Erich Lichaj to provide more experience along the bacline? Robinson should start, or at least get 45 minutes.

DeAndre Yedlin has the most caps on the team, and is in outstanding form, but Sarachan could choose to sit him in order to give him some rest before returning to Newcastle. That would open the door for Shaq Moore to start.


The U.S. national team lacked creativity in central midfield against Brazil, and that should mean an opportunity to start for Kellyn Acosta, who brings more attacking flavor than the other options on the squad. Acosta has played more of an attacking role with the Colorado Rapids since being traded from FC Dallas, and he has experience playing against Mexico.

Sarachan spoke positively about Wil Trapp after the Brazil game, and it feels likey that the Crew midfielder starts again on Tuesday. If he reprises his role in the deep-lying midfielder spot, then Tyler Adams should be pushed out wide on the right to make room for Acosta.

Will Sarachan give Weah the start? He has been trying to bring the Paris Saint Germain youngster along slowly, but Tuesday's Mexico match is the perfect setting to give the confident 18-year-old a chance to show what he can do against some top Mexican prospects.


Andrja Novakovich didn't get a chance to play against Brazil, but it's tough to see him not get the nod against Mexico. He has been in excellent form for Dutch club Fortuna Sittard, and his size and mobility for a big man could cause problems for Mexico.

Could Gyasi Zardes get the nod up top? It wouldn't quite be in line with the youth movement theme, but he'd be the choice ahead of Bobby Wood, who put in a physically-demanding shift against Brazil.

4-3-3 (Most likely XI)

Sarachan has shown an affinity for the 4-1-4-1 formation, and this setup makes the most sense against a Mexico side that will be vulnerable defensively. In an ideal world Adams would play in the defensive midfield role, but Sarachan prefers Trapp leadership in the middle of the field.

There's really no need to deploy a 3-5-2 against this Mexico team. If El Tri had a full-strength squad that would be one thing, but Mexico has seen several of its top players on the squad depart, including most recenly Raul Jimenez, which make the Mexico squad even younger.

If Sarachan decides to sit Trapp, the U.S. could consider a 4-4-2, with Novakovich and Zardes up top, and the midfield in a diamond with Acosta in front of McKennie and Adams on the right.