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USA vs. England, 2018 friendly: What to watch for

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This is a big match...what should we focus on?

Mexico v United States Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

The United States Men’s National Team begins the final two matches of its Kickoff Series tomorrow as they take on England at Wembley Stadium in London. It’s a big matchup, with it being 8 years since the last time these two teams took the field opposite each other. That match was a 1-1 draw during the group opener of the 2010 World Cup. The United States and England squaring off will always bring a lot of storylines and interest among diehard and casual fans alike. It’s especially interesting given that England made a run to the 2018 World Cup semifinals while the USMNT is starting fresh with some of the younger talent in the player pool. England is always a country that soccer in the United States is constantly compared with. Now, the Yanks seek to impress in London against the Three Lions and show that the future is bright in America.

Recent Form

USA

D (1-1) - Peru - Friendly

L (2-4) - Colombia - Friendly

W (1-0) - Mexico - Friendly

L (0-2) - Brazil - Friendly

D (1-1) - France - Friendly

England

W (3-2) - Spain - UEFA Nations League A, Group 4

D (0-0) - Croatia - UEFA Nations League A, Group 4

W (1-0) - Switzerland - Friendly

L (1-2) - Spain - UEFA Nations League A, Group 4

L (0-2) - Belgium - 2018 World Cup 3rd Place

What To Watch For

Let’s see what this midfield can do. Hopefully, American interim manager Dave Sarachan will let loose and allow the young trio of Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, and Tyler Adams to start so we can see how this future midfield core can operate. Add in Tim Weah on the flank and you have some guys that could frustrate England’s deliberate attack. Let’s see them go right at the Three Lions.

Can the defenders stop the English attack? This match is billed as a charity match and a farewell for England legend Wayne Rooney, who had a resurgence this season with D.C. United after transferring there midseason from Everton. He will get the start up top for the Three Lions, and it’s likely that Harry Kane will join him. With Dele Ali and Jesse Lingard also expected to feature, the English have some guys that can create scoring opportunities. Can our defenders contain them and not let them get shots off? That’s the question and the main key to victory.

The veterans need to be leaders. In a stadium as big as Wembley that will be full and loud, communication is going to be essential between the guys on the field. The veterans on the field have to make it their personal responsibility to lead the young guys who have not experienced this atmosphere before. DeAndre Yedlin, Brad Guzan, Bobby Wood, John Brooks...those guys need to step up. Sure, more of the younger players are used to playing in front of big crowds week in and week out, but in a match like this, it will be the veterans that help keep the team on the same page and organized. It’s that organization that could be the difference between a result and leaving on the wrong side of the scoreline.

Lineup Prediction

With this match being against England, I think Dave Sarachan goes with a 4-2-3-1. However, in a twist, he doesn’t find room for Wil Trapp in the middle. I think now’s the time to see what the middle duo of Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams can do, with Christian Pulisic, Tim Weah and Julian Green ahead of them. Is it possible he goes with some formation that includes Trapp? Of course. However, with this being a big-time road friendly, it’s likely he turns the team over to the youngsters that are playing against this talent every week in England and Europe.

USMNT vs. England

Bobby Wood is the lone striker up top, while Brad Guzan gets the start in goal. On defense, three of the four are expected starters in John Brooks, Matt Miazga, and DeAndre Yedlin. Look for Jorge Villafaña to take the left back position over Antonee Robinson (who has left camp due to injury) as the team seeks to find a solution on the left side of the defense.

Match Prediction

This is going to be a match that goes back and forth, with a lot of action and a couple goals on each side. In the end, the Americans will be ahead 2-1 and give up the lead late. It will be a hard fought 2-2 draw, but one where the USMNT will think they should have won.