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USA vs. Venezuela, 2019 friendly: Scouting Venezuela

Can a struggling Venezuelan side, featuring Josef Martinez, defeat the USMNT?

2018 MLS Cup - Portland Timbers v Atlanta United Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The United States Men’s National Team plays its final friendly before the 2019 Gold Cup against Venezuela on June 9th in Cincinnati. This match also serves as a Copa America tune-up for Venezuela. La Vinotinto comes into the match with a 1-2-2 record on the year and will be playing its third match since June 1st. The team most recently played on June 5th, a 3-1 loss to Mexico in Atlanta. Venezuela holds a 0-3-2 all-time record against the USMNT.

Venezuela Roster:

Goalkeepers (3): Wuilker Farinez (Millonarios / Colombia), Rafael Romo (Apoel / Chipre / Venezuela), Joel Graterol (Zamora F.C. / Venezuela)

Defenders (7): Ronald Hernandez (Stabaek / Norway), Rolf Feltscher (LA Galaxy / MLS), Yordan Osorio (Vitoria Guimaraes / Portugal), Mikel Villanueva (Gimnastic de Tarragona / Spain), Jhon Chancellor (Al-Ahli Doha / Qatar), Roberto Rosales (RCD Espanyol / Spain), Luis Mago (Palestino / Chile)

Midfielders (10): Junior Moreno (D.C. United / MLS), Arquimedes Figuera (Deportivo La Guaira / Venezuela), Yangel Herrera (SD Huesca / Spain), Luis Manuel Seijas (Independiente Santa Fe / Colombia), Juan Pablo Anor (SD Huesca / Spain), Tomas Rincon (Torino / Italy), Jhon Murillo (CD Tondela / Portugal), Adalberto Penaranda (Watford / England), Jefferson Savarino (Real Salt Lake / MLS), Darwin Machis (Cadiz / Spain)

Forwards (3): Salomon Rondon (Newcastle / England), Fernando Aristeguieta (América / Colombia), Josef Martinez (Atlanta United / MLS)

Coach Rafael Dudamel typically deploys a 4-5-1, featuring two defensive midfielders. Expect him to rotate his squad, given how many games the team has played in recent weeks.

Projected Lineup:

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see any of the three goalkeepers start, but I expect Joel Graterol to get the nod because he has been in good form. Graterol is rather raw, at just 22, but he has lightning-quick reflexes and is an excellent penalty stopper. However, his positioning and decision-making need to improve.

Expect Jhon Chancellor and Roberto Rosales to be the starting centerbacks. The 6’6” Chancellor is dominant in the air and a solid tackler, but he is quite slow, even for a centerback. Rosales is Venezuela’s most experienced defender (30 years old and 75 caps) and should complement Chancellor well. Rosales is poor in the air and receives too many cards, but he has decent pace and is a very good dribbler.Luis Mago is likely to earn the nod at left back. He is the only natural left back on the roster, is quite strong and excels at tackling. However, his passing is abysmal.

Look for Junior Moreno and Yangel Herrera to feature as defensive midfielders. Moreno’s strengths are intercepting passes and tackling. He is also nearly two-footed. His primary weaknesses are his man marking and dribbling. Herrera has an impressive passing range, a high soccer IQ, and is an excellent tackler. His one major flaw is that he is exceptionally slow.

Luis Manuel Seijas should earn the start in central midfield. Seijas typically plays as a #10, but I can’t provide a report on him, as I am not familiar with the Colombian Liga Aguila and there is little about his play online. Jefferson Savarino will likely start as a right midfielder. Savarino is a pacy winger and an excellent dribbler; however, he is very inconsistent. He should score more goals and create more chances than he does.

I’m expecting Jhon Murillo to be deployed as the starting left midfielder. Murillo is by far the fastest player on Venezuela’s roster and is a good passer, however like Savarino, he is quite inconsistent.

Expect Josef Martinez to feature as the lone striker. Martinez is a powerful poacher who is lethal inside the 18 yard box. One of his few weaknesses is that he is not particularly strong on the ball.

Venezuela is rather weak, but the USMNT played terribly against Jamaica. I’m expecting a close game and believe that the USMNT will win 2-1.