The United States Men’s National Team continue their Kickoff Series tomorrow night in East Hartford as they take on Peru. The USMNT is coming off a loss Thursday night to Colombia, while Peru is riding high after a 3-0 victory over rival Chile. The last time the USMNT faced Peru, it rode a Jozy Altidore brace to a 2-1 victory at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. Can they recreate some of that magic with a younger squad?
L (2-4) - Colombia - Friendly
W (1-0) - Mexico - Friendly
L (0-2) - Brazil - Friendly
D (1-1) - France - Friendly
L (1-2) - Ireland - Friendly
W (3-0) - Chile - Friendly
L (1-2) - Germany - Friendly
L (1-2) - Netherlands - Friendly
L (0-1) - France - 2018 World Cup Group C
What To Watch For
Can the youngster learn from Thursday’s mistakes? Thursday’s defeat to Colombia had some nice moments, but it also had some lessons that were learned on the job. Last month, after a similar loss to Brazil, the kids put it behind them in time to beat Mexico. They will need to do the same thing against Peru: take the lessons that they learned from the Colombia match and apply them tomorrow night.
Who can break through first? It will be important for the Yanks to get out and try to get the first goal. Why? Because momentum is a helluva drug. These kids feed off it, and tomorrow night, they can use it to take the Peruvians out of the game. That will be dependent on the offense showing the ability to create more scoring chances, and the midfield needs to track back on the counter if they give up the ball.
Can the defense tighten up? It was not a great night at the office for the defense, particularly the left side. It was the first time in quite a while that the back line had such a terrible night, so they clearly need to move forward and tighten up. One of the big things will be improved communication, as that will allow them to know where they are on the field and where the ball is. Peru has some speed on the wings, and no doubt they reviewed the tape from Thursday night. If the fullbacks move forward on the offensive attack, the communication with the center backs must be there so that they don’t get beat on the counter or while tracking back.
American interim manager Dave Sarachan noted after Thursday’s loss to Colombia that there will be “a lot of changes” in the lineup that takes the field tomorrow night against Peru. This was all a part of the evaluation process. To that end, there will be a couple players remaining in the lineup, but mostly a brand new starting XI.
Because Zack Steffen departed USMNT camp due to hamstring tightness, Brad Guzan will likely get the start in net. On the back line, only Matt Miazga remains from the starting XI that took the field against Colombia. Cameron Carter-Vickers gets the start over John Brooks, although don’t be shocked if Sarachan opts to keep his center back pairing intact by starting Brooks alongside Miazga. Reggie Cannon and Ben Sweat get their first starts at right and left back, respectively.
In the middle, expect Michael Bradley to keep the armband and start alongside Wil Trapp. Marky Delgado and Kellyn Acosta will also feature as substitutes in this match. On the right wing, Tim Weah will get another start. He was truly the bright spot for the Americans on Thursday night. On the left wing, we finally get to see what Jonathan Amon can do. The 19-year-old has dazzled in the Danish Superliga, and while he didn’t dress against Colombia, expect to see him play against Peru.
Up front, Sarachan will start with the striker pair of Josh Sargent and Andrija Novakovich. Bobby Wood will also get minutes in the 2nd half. Can Sargent and Novakovich finish some chances at the net? This will be a nice test for them.
This match is going to be one that has a lot of chances on both sides, but not a lot of successes. Both teams punch it through once, and it ends as a 1-1 draw.