The United States men's national team kicks off the Copa America Centenario tonight against Colombia. While we don't know who will start tonight, it's fun to predict who will while watching the clock slowly tick.
Here's who I think Jurgen Klinsmann will be utilizing tonight at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
Although the 4-3-3 has been tinkered with lately, Klinsmann will stick with his battle tested 4-2-3-1, at least for tonight.
In goal is Brad Guzan. There have been calls for him to be replaced after a disappointing season with Aston Villa on the heels of a few mistakes at the 2015 Gold Cup, but for now he's the number one. A few mistakes tonight, and he might not be the number one for long.
There will be no surprises on defense, with the strongest back line playing. Fabian Johnson is U.S. Soccer's best left back, John Anthony Brooks and Geoff Cameron have formed a decent pairing, and DeAndre Yedlin has yet to be dethroned.
Stalwarts Jermaine Jones and Michael Bradley will take two of the central midfielder spots, with Jones in the free roaming role. However, Kyle Beckerman, a Klinsmann favorite, will be put into the defensive midfielder role. Colombia is a strong attacking team, and the U.S. will try to shut them down instead of taking them on directly.
Ryan Tolmich of Soccer by Ives explained his reasoning for starting Beckerman:
Placing Beckerman on [James] Rodriguez will help limit the Colombian star. It will be impossible to take him out of the game completely, but allowing the RSL midfielder to keep two eyes on him will, at worst, make him a bit uncomfortable and, at best, fluster the Colombian attack at its focal point.
Expect Darlington Nagbe as a substitute in the second half and to feature heavily against Costa Rica and Paraguay.
Gyasi Zardes, fresh off a two-goal performance against Bolivia, and Alejandro Bedoya will start on the wings. Clint Dempsey will hopefully provide skill and experience up top. Bobby Wood, who tore up the 2. Bundesliga last season, could possibly start in place of Dempsey or Zardes (in which case Dempsey would move to the wing).
The first match of a tournament is not when teams will make drastic changes or experiment with the starting lineup. Although people want to see Nagbe or Christian Pulisic break into the starting lineup, it's doubtful they will do so against Colombia.
Expect a safe, reactive lineup with an emphasis on defense.