clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Filed under:

USMNT January Camp Fantasy Draft

Two writers draft two teams from the players currently in Bruce Arena's camp. Raise your hand if you want to see this scrimmage.

There are enough players in the January camp to have a pretty good scrimmage. We decided to draft sides, put them into a formation and (theoretically) play the game. We're looking for the readers to decide who would win so check out our arguments and vote below.

The Draft Results

Here's how the draft played out with Adam drafting with the first pick and then a snake draft the rest of the way.

Round Pick Blue (Adam) Pick Red (Jared)
1 1 Altidore 2 Bradley
2 4 Manneh 3 Morris
3 5 Nagbe 6 Kljestan
4 8 Hedges 7 Zardes
5 9 Agudelo 10 Birnbaum
6 12 Jones 11 Marshall
7 13 Rosenberry 14 Feilhaber
8 16 Zimmerman 15 Bedoya
9 17 Trapp 18 Acosta
10 20 Lletget 19 Garza
11 21 Rimando 22 Robles
12 24 Beasley 23 Zusi
13 25 Pontius 26 Evans
14 28 Kemp 27 McCarty
15 29 Bingham 30 Rowe
Undrafted: Wondowlowski

Red Team Lineup

Jared: Looking at this roster it's appealing to get both Feilhaber and Kljestan connecting centrally. That's probably a more important opportunity than pairing Zardes and Morris up top, so I'm going to opt for a 4-2-3-1 formation. I'll play Kljestan deeper and that creates an intriguing triangle in the midfield with Feilhaber, Kljestan and Bradley. This will push Zardes out to the left and I'll pair him with Bedoya on the right. Zardes can pinch in and play more of a second forward and Bedoya will play more conservatively. Kellyn Acosta broke into FC Dallas at right back so he'll be comfortable there and Garza is a natural left back. Birnbaum and Marshall will man the central defense with Robles between the pipes. Here's what the starting lineup looks like:

Blue Team Lineup

Adam: This lineup works in a way that makes the field a bit lopsided, but it's one that I think puts forward the best ideas the USMNT attack has shown over the past year or so. I took Jozy first in the draft because I think he is far and away the best player in this camp and he is especially the best player when considering the depth of his position. No one else does what he does. Getting him firing on all cylinders is key, so the lineup revolves around him. Agudelo saw his hot streak correlate with New England's switch to a 4-4-2 diamond/4-1-3-2, and he makes a good partner. The other player this lineup revolves around is Jermaine Jones. Ideally and assuming full health, Jermaine Jones is a monster in the midfield, but he's typically not great as a pure 6 and has never been able to work out the double-pivot of a regular 4-4-2. With Trapp behind him, he can do what he did for Colorado: whatever he needed to do. The rest of the lineup writes itself. Manneh is the threat on the wing; Nagbe is tidy in possession and has the full goal open to him on the left side to unleash that cannon of a right foot. I ride the FC Dallas CB tandem, throw in Beasley and Rosenberry, and trust Rimando's PK prowess to justify his inclusion.

Jared: I think we'll see some goal scoring in this matchup. The quickness and strength of Agudelo and Altidore will be very difficult to handle. Add to that the playmaking from out wide and you don't need Jones to spearhead the attack. He can sit a little deeper, which suits him, and be more of a manager. Defensively I'm hoping the experience of Bradley, Marshall and even Birnbaum will be able to limit the dangerous chances that group can create. On the other side I think my offense can exploit the youth and space on the defensive side of the formation. I see pushing mostly up the left side where Bradley/Kljestan can work it to Feilhaber, Zardes and Morris. I like that combination against Trapp, the Dallas CBs and the newbie Rosenberry. I'm a Philadelphia Union fan and love the kid so I can pick on him. But I feel we can flood that area and create good opportunities.

Adam: One of the main reasons I picked Darlington Nagbe so high was his ability to fill so many different roles in the midfield. I actually hope we see him and Manneh on opposite flanks in a real game with Jozy up top, because that smells like goals to me.

On the other hand, the veterans on your side bring a lot of positional awareness on both sides of the ball. And while I'm confident in Hedges and Zimmerman, it's not like Jordan Morris will be intimidated looking at that defense.

Jared: Nagbe is the wild card. He can unleash a moment of brilliance in a flash and Jozy would be a more than happy recipient. I'm not sure we can keep Manneh and Nagbe at bay all game. What about defensive pressure? Should your team sit back and protect the defense or press forward?

Adam: I have to think we go on the offensive. Jordan Morris is a major threat on the break, but my team isn't set up to win a war of attrition. Score early, often, and try to take the life out of the game. If we let Sacha and Benny start moving the ball around and keep possession for long, we're toast.

Jared: I'm sensing a wide open game. But depending on who scores first I also like my bench. If we're up I like doubling down on defense with Dax McCarty and Bradley. If I'm down I can sub Zusi for Bedoya and get a little more offense. Can we somehow play this game!!?

Adam: My bench is...ok. Not the most versatile bunch. But I hope enough pieces on the field are comfortable enough in multiple positions that any tactical adjustments will still be feasible. And for the record, I think my team wins, 3-1.

Jared: I see the red team taking it 3-2.

Who do you think will win? Vote below.

United States Women

USA vs. China, 2023 Friendly: USWNT eases to 3-0 victory

United States Women

USA vs. China, 2023 Friendly: Time, TV schedule, streaming and lineups

Americans In MLS

USMNT weekend viewing guide: Winter warmups