The United States Men’s National looks to build upon its 1-0 victory against Mexico as it takes on Peru in a friendly in Hartford, Connecticut. Unlike the USMNT, Peru featured in the 2018 World Cup. La Blanquirroja finished 3rd in Group C, which also featured France, Denmark, and Australia.
Peru’s been in unremarkable form lately, with a 2-3 record in its last five matches. However, these losses have all been close and come against top teams like Germany and France. La Blanquirroja defeated rival Chile 3-0 on Friday night.
Goalkeepers (3): Patricio Álvarez (Sporting Cristal/PER), José Carvallo (Universidad Técnica de Cajamarca/PER), Pedro Gallese(Veracruz/MEX)
Defenders (8): Luis Abram (Vélez Sarsfield/ARG), Luis Advíncula (Rayo Vallecano/ESP), Miguel Araujo (Talleres/ARG), Alexander Callens (New York City FC/USA), Nilson Loyola (Melgar/PER), Johan Madrid (Sporting Cristal/PER), Christian Ramos (Al-Nassr/KSA), Anderson Santamaría (Puebla/MEX), Miguel Trauco (Flamengo/BRA)
Midfielders (10): Pedro Aquino (Club León/MEX), Cristian Benevente (Royal Charleroi/BEL), Horacio Calcaterra (Sporting Cristal/PER), André Carillo (Al-Hilal/KSA), Christian Cueva (Krasnodar/RUS), Edison Flores (Morelia/MEX), Paolo Hurtado(Konyaspor/TUR), Andy Polo (Portland Timbers/USA), Renato Tapia (Feyenoord/NED), Yoshimar Yotún (Orlando City SC/USA)
Forwards (2): Yordy Reyna (Vancouver Whitecaps FC/CAN), Raúl Ruidíaz (Seattle Sounders FC/USA)
Peru will be without its top two strikers, as Jefferson Farfán will miss out through injury and Paolo Guerrero is suspended due to a failed drug test. It’s difficult to predict what lineup manager Ricardo Gareca will utilize, especially considering how recently his squad played. I expect him to stick with the 4-2-3-1 he deployed against Chile on Friday, but make several personnel changes.
Pedro Gallese is Peru’s clear #1 and is a solid, yet unspectacular shot stopper. His greatest weakness is lack of physical strength which results in him losing more aerial battles than he should.
Christian Ramos should get the nod at centerback. Ramos is a good tackler and quite aggressive, but he struggles mightily in the air. There are several potential options to partner Ramos at centerback and I’m predicting Alexander Callens earns the start after a strong year with NYCFC. Callens dominates aerial duals and is also an excellent tackler. However, his man-marking leaves much to be desired.
Look for Luis Advincula to feature at right back. Advincula is one of the fastest players in the world and will frequently look to get involved in the attack, but is prone to lapses in concentration. Expect Miguel Trauco to be the starting left back. Trauco is an excellent crosser and often looks to join the attack. His 1-v-1 defending is solid, but not particularly impressive. Trauco’s main weakness is his tendency to overcommit to attack and then subsequently get caught out of position.
Pedro Aquino should be one of the starting central midfielders, after an excellent two-goal performance as a substitute against Chile. Aquino is a hard-tackling defensive midfielder who seemingly never stops running. While he is quite talented, he receives far too many cards (he has two red cards in just nine Liga MX games this season). Yoshimar Yotun will likely partner Pedro Aquino in central midfielder. Yotun has been one of the few bright spots in Orland City’s dismal 2018 season. He is an excellent distributor of the ball and great at intercepting passes.
Look for Sergio Pena to get the nod as a central attacking midfielder. Pena is skilled dribbler who can embarrass defenders and is a solid passer. While he is a decent playmaker, his finishing is rather poor. Andy Polo should start as a right winger, as he played well against Chile during a 15-minute substitute appearance. Polo is a fast winger who is essentially two-footed, but puts in little defensive effort. He has been quite poor for the Portland Timbers this year, with just 1 goal and 2 assists in 21 MLS appearances.
Several different players could feature on the left wing, but I’m predicting Andre Carrillo will get the start. Carrillo is a skilled dribbler and good crosser, but his defending is quite poor.
Either Yordy Reyna or Raul Ruidiaz will start up top. I’m expecting Reyna to start after Ruidiaz’s rather disappointing performance against Chile.
Reyna is quite fast and is an excellent playmaker (with 10 assists for Vancouver), however he rarely scores from further than twelve yards out. He is also shockingly ill-disciplined for a striker, with 2 reds and 6 yellows in 24 MLS appearances this season.
While this Peru squad is not particularly strong, I believe it could cause some trouble for the USMNT. I’m predicting a 1-1 draw.