The USMNT get set to play in their last friendly before taking on Mexico in the Confederations Cup playoff. After going down a goal early, a second half brace from Jozy Altidore was able to help the USMNT escape Peru, but the talk of the match was not about the win. After the game, the story was about the poor level of play, Jozy back in form, and Gyasi Zardes providing the energy. Oh, and there’s the small story of Brad Guzan not giving Tim Howard a chance to win back the starting job.
Against Peru, US came out in a 4-4-2 with Jozy and Bobby Wood up top. While we all know what Jozy is capable of, I was very interested to see what Wood had to offer. He had a few very good games in the pre-Gold Cup friendlies, but was very poor on Friday. Against Brazil, I will be very surprised to see Wood start again. With Dempsey staying in Seattle, and Jordan Morris being called up instead, it will most likely either be Aron Johannsson or Morris getting the starting nod alongside Jozy, if Jurgen Klinsmann keeps the 4-4-2 that is. I hope Morris starts. We know what Johannsson can do, and I think that Morrris should get the opportunity to prove he should be in the 23 against Mexico.
As for the defense, Matt Besler came on late in the game, but provided an immediate spark. Although he was only in the game for 27 minutes, Besler proved he should be on the team. Klinsmann sent him home stating, “We were impressed … We saw what we needed to see.” I hope that he means this in a good way and we will see Besler getting the call up against Mexico. He has outplayed all the other center backs, and at this point Klinsmann is running out of options for the position.
Now for the fun positional battle: Tim Howard vs. Brad Guzan. On the bright side, whoever starts will be one of the best players on the field. Both players are the current top 5 players on the team, and both have saved the defenders’ butts countless times. Tim Howard was the hero for USA throughout the 2014 World Cup, but since his year long break Guzan has stepped in and, I’m sorry to say, we have not missed Howard. Against Brazil, I hope Guzan gets the start. I don’t think it will matter too much, but why not just stick with the hot hand? In a few weeks, when the USMNT play Mexico will be the real challenge as to who gets the start.
After the few roster changes, here is the complete 23 man roster:
Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan, Sean Johnson, Tim Howard
Defenders: Ventura Alvarado, John Brooks, Geoff Cameron, Greg Garza, Omar Gonzalez, Michael Orozco, Tim Ream, Jonathan Spector
Midfielders: Alejandro Bedoya, Michael Bradley, Joe Corona, Mix Diskerud, Jermaine Jones, Alfredo Morales, Danny Williams, DeAndre Yedlin
Forwards: Jozy Altidore, Aron Johannsson, Jordan Morris, Bobby Wood, Andrew Wooten, Gyasi Zardes
Here is my bold prediction: Jozy Altidore will get another brace, and move to forth on the USMNT all time goal scoring list. My bolder prediction: Kaka will come in as a sub and score for Brazil. But my boldest prediction: the USMNT will defeat Brazil.
I think the series of poor, sub-par performances will come to an end on Tuesday, and the talks about firing Klinsmann will stop, at least for a little. The defense will still not be at the level that it should be at, but the attack for Klinsmann’s men will be at the next level, with Michael Bradley leading the charge.
Brazil will score off of a counter attack, where the USMNT will have thrown men forward. A defensive error will leave a Brazilian wide open, who will easily put it past Guzan. USA will get their goals from set pieces and crosses in. I think USA will win it 3-2.
More from O-Town's 11
- Friendly: USA vs. Brazil
- Gillette Stadium; Foxborough, Mass.
- Tuesday, September 8, 2015
- 8:00pm EST
Brad Guzan deserves to be the starting keeper with his recent performances and all signs look like he will remain the starter on Tuesday. Tim Howard will go down as one of the best keepers in USMNT history, but right now he will have to earn that starting spot back
I believe Klinsmann will go with a 4-4-2 diamond, and if that is the case Bradley will be on top of it. Zardes had a very good performance against Peru and so he will remain on the left wing. The right wing will be a little harder to predict. Yedlin played all 90 minutes last week, and while he did not have a poor game, he was not spectacular either. I don’t think that he will be able to keep up with Brazil and Klinsmann will go elsewhere on Tuesday. Joe Corona could get the nod, as well as Mix Diskerud. Mix normally does not play on the wing, but I believe he could play anywhere in the midfield. The bottom of the diamond will be Jermaine Jones.
The back four is always the hardest to predict, because the defenders are never consistent. Tim Ream should start again after after having a strong outing his last few performances. On the other side, I think it should be Geoff Cameron, who might just have been the best player on the field during the second half of the Peru game. I am interested in seeing how he plays against Neymar and Hulk. Klinsmann could go with anyone for the two center backs. I believe that Omar Gonzalez has been in the best form out of all US center backs in recent weeks and months, and so he will start again. Brooks has his days where he is the amazing, and then his days where he wouldn’t be playing on Louisville FC. I do not think that he should be a starter, but with no Besler he will get the start.
Goalkeeper: Brad Guzan
Defender: Geoff Cameron, Omar Gonzalez, John Brooks, Tim Ream
Midfielders: Jermaine Jones, Joe Corona, Gyasi Zardes, Michael Bradley
Forwards: Jozy Altidore, Jordan Morris