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USA vs. Uruguay, 2019 friendly: What to watch for

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Hopefully, it’s a better contest than it was Friday night

United States Men’s National Team v Mexico: Friendly Match Photo by Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images

The United States Men’s National Team will try to dust themselves off and put on a good showing when they host Uruguay tomorrow in St. Louis. The 5th-ranked team in the world didn’t bring their A lineup, but that doesn’t mean they will be any less difficult for the Americans to defeat. For the USMNT, a win will hopefullly some people down after the horrendous performance they had Friday night against Mexico. However, a defeat will not do anything to give the fanbase any confidence as the team begins CONCACAF Nations League next month.

Recent Form

USA

L (0-3) - Mexico - Friendly

L (0-1) - Mexico - Gold Cup Final

W (3-1) - Jamaica - Gold Cup Semifinals

W (1-0) - Curaçao - Gold Cup Quarterfinals

W (1-0) - Panama - Gold Cup Group D

Uruguay

W (2-1) - Costa Rica - Friendly

L (0-0) - Peru* - Copa America Quarterfinals

W (1-0) - Chile - Copa America Group C

D (2-2) - Japan - Copa America Group C

W (4-0) - Ecuador - Copa America Group C

*Lost on penalties

What to watch for

PLAY BALL. The USMNT just didn’t do that against Mexico. There were very few performances to write home about, and the action was dominated by El Tri. The USMNT has to get back to basics and just play some soccer. They have to deliver a better performance than what we saw on Friday, and if nothing else, let’s just see the guys play.

Stay in formation. We don’t have a lot of speedy guys that can adjust and track back quickly if caught out of position, so guys need to know where they need to be on the field. If the right back edges into the center defensive midfield area, as is customary in USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter’s playing style, the right midfielder will need to make sure they can help cover that space if there is a turnover. Too many times, the USMNT is caught out of position, and the guys on the field need to know where they need to be at all times...and then actually be there.

Can this group gain any confidence? The confidence level for the USMNT right now might be less than zero. They need to take away something positive from each match, but the past two matches (both against Mexico) haven’t given much to gush over. This is a chance to do something positive against a top-5 team in the world. We haven’t played Uruguay in over 17 years, and this is a chance to get a good result and take some confidence with them into Nations League next month. Use this opportunity.

Lineup Prediction

USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter will have a smaller roster to choose from tomorrow, as five players returned to their clubs after the match against Mexico: Christian Pulisic, Zack Steffen, John Brooks, Alfredo Morales, and Sean Johnson. With the players left, let’s take a look at who Berhalter will likely call upon to start the match:

Predicted Starting XI vs. Uruguay

With Zack Steffen and Sean Johnson gone, expect Brad Guzan to be in net for the United States. On the back line, it’s probable that you see almost the same lineup that we saw against Mexico: Sergiño Dest at left back, and Aaron Long and Walker Zimmerman as the centerback pairing. Yes, it was a disaster, but we’ve seen Berhalter go right back to the same guys after a big loss. The only change we could see is Nick Lima assume his right back/defensive midfield hybrid position that Berhalter has asked him to play so many times this year.

In the middle, with Alfredo Morales back with Fortuna Düsseldorf, we should expect to see Wil Trapp once again in the middle, along with Weston McKennie and Sebastian Lletget as well. It’s possible that FC Dallas youngster Paxton Pomykal gets the start ahead of Lletget, but it’s more likely that he makes an appearance as a substitute.

Up front, we will see Tyler Boyd once again on the left wing. With Christian Pulisic heading back to Chelsea, it will be Jordan Morris on the right. In the middle, he will likely give Gyasi Zardes a rest and go with Josh Sargent to see what he can do as the lone front man.

Score Prediction

There will likely be a lot of struggles tomorrow night against La Celeste, but the USMNT will give us some flashes of optimism. However, it won’t be enough. The USMNT shows more fight, but ultimately fall 1-0 to Uruguay.