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USA vs. Switzerland, 2021 friendly: What to watch for

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We preview what the USMNT will need to do in order to secure the win.

Northern Ireland v USMNT

The United States Men’s National Team look to begin an important 11 days as they take on Switzerland in St. Gallen. The friendly match serves as preparation for the Nations League Finals for the USMNT, ranked 20th in the FIFA World Rankings. For Switzerland, ranked 13th in the world, it poses as a warmup before they compete in Euro 2020. It’s a formidable matchup at altitude as Gregg Berhalter looks to get his team acclimated to the heights before traveling to Denver. It also will allow him to evaluate more players and put formations and rotations in place for most of his A lineup.

Latest Form

USA

W (2-1) - Northern Ireland - Friendly

W (7-0) - Trinidad and Tobago - Friendly

W (6-0) - El Salvador - Friendly

W (6-2) - Panama - Friendly

D (0-0) - Wales - Friendly

Switzerland

W (3-2) - Finland - Friendly

W (1-0) - Lithuania - World Cup qualifying

W (3-1) - Bulgaria - World Cup qualifying

W (3-0*) - Ukraine - Nations League

D (1-1) - Spain - Nations League

*match forfeited by Ukraine due to COVID-19

What To Watch For

Play better in the attacking third. The past few matches have seen the USMNT be inconsistent with finishing their chances and being creative in the attack. They will have the lanes to do it, but let’s see if the chemistry that has been created with much of the young core of the team will lead to several chances that leads to goals. They’ll need to take advantage of those opportunities.

Play strong. Switzerland have a couple players in the middle that can be physical, but the USMNT can win a physical battle. They’ll need to exhibit that they can stay on the ball and not be pushed around. Playing strong also means dealing with the altitude. When the team starts to get gassed, it will mean finding an extra gear to push through and finish the match. They’ll have to deal with more altitude in Denver and Salt Lake City, so this will get these players mentally prepared to handle it.

Play with confidence. Sure, the Swiss are 13th in the world and are a terrific team. But, that doesn’t mean that an upset can’t be had in St. Gallen. The best way to do that is for the USMNT to play with the confidence they’ve shown in games so far in 2021. That confidence can put Switzerland on their back foot, and that will mean the Americans will have the edge in creating opportunities to put balls in the net.

Lineup Prediction

With Christian Pulisic and Zack Steffen not in camp yet, there are some options for Gregg Berhalter for his formation. Ultimately, he likely will opt for a lineup that looks like this:

Predicted Lineup vs. Switzerland

Ethan Horvath is the established #2 right now, so he starts in goalkeeper for the Americans. Across the back line, Berhalter once again tries Antonee Robinson at left back and Sergiño Dest at right back, with the centerback pairing of John Brooks and Mark McKenzie.

In the middle, it’s likely that Berhalter holds out Tyler Adams to make sure he’s fully 100% for the Nations League Finals, so Sebastian Lletget enters the lineup. It will push either Weston McKennie or Yunus Musah into more of a defensive role, but all 3 players will take on some of the defensive heavy lifting at times.

Up front, Brenden Aaronson occupies the left wing position, with Gio Reyna starting at right wing. Up top, with a few choices, Berhalter goes with Josh Sargent. Expect Sargent, who is generally viewed as Berhalter’s top choice at the 9, to not play a full match, giving way for either Daryl Dike or Matthew Hoppe so Sargent can rest for the two matches in Denver.

Prediction

This is a match that starts out slow for the USMNT, with the Swiss getting a goal early. However, the United States fights back with a goal in the second half to salvage a 1-1 draw.