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USA vs. Morocco, 2022 friendly: What to watch for

The first prep for Nations League with an eye on the World Cup.

SOCCER: MAR 27 World Cup Qualifier - USA v Panama Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The United States Men’s National Team are in Cincinnati to take on Morocco tomorrow night in a friendly at TQL Stadium. The USMNT is using this friendly to begin preparations for the Nations League group stage, which begins next week. They are also using this as the beginning stages of preparing for this fall’s World Cup. USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter will use this camp for final evaluations as he decides who will make the final roster that heads to Qatar.

They face a strong team in Morocco, ranked 24th in the world and who will also be at the World Cup this fall. With this window and September being the final opportunities to play decent competition to prepare for the World Cup, Morocco will serve as a formidable test. Fans should be in for an intriguing matchup, as the two teams have not faced each other since 2006.

Latest Form

USA

L (0-2) - Costa Rica - World Cup Qualifying

D (0-0) - Mexico - World Cup Qualifying

W (3-0) - Honduras - World Cup Qualifying

L (0-2) - Canada - World Cup Qualifying

W (1-0) - El Salvador - World Cup Qualifying

Morocco

W (4-1) - DR Congo - World Cup Qualifying

D (1-1) - DR Congo - World Cup Qualifying

L (1-2) - Egypt - Africa Cup of Nations Quarterfinals

W (2-1) - Malawi - Africa Cup of Nations Round of 16

D (2-2) - Gabon - Africa Cup of Nations Group C

What To Watch For

Keep the back line in sync. The defense will have the most scrutiny with all eyes on who will be the centerback pairing. The back line will want to remain in sync all match so that Morocco doesn’t get behind them for scoring chances.

Who’s stepping up on offense? The biggest question facing this team is who will do all the scoring, particularly at the center forward position. So many have been unsuccessful, so there’s an opportunity for players to show that they can be the consistent scorer that the team needs heading into the Nations League and the World Cup.

It’s the midfield’s match to control. The American midfield should be ready to battle all night, but they should be the ones in control. If they can do that, it will relieve pressure from the back line and give the forwards more chances to push ahead and look for the goal.

Lineup Prediction

Gregg Berhalter will have some options when setting out his lineup. In the end, this is what we predict he’s going to do:

Predicted Lineup vs. Morocco

With Zack Steffen out of camp due to family reasons, the starting goalkeeper job is Matt Turner’s. His back line will consist of Antonee Robinson and DeAndre Yedlin at left and right back, with Erik Palmer-Brown being granted the starting centerback role next to Walker Zimmerman.

In the middle, it’s MMA time, as Weston McKennie and Yunus Musah join Tyler Adams to form probably the best midfield core. Up front, Christian Pulisic will occupy the left wing, while Paul Arriola will be tried on the right. Haji Wright gets a shot to show he can provide the scoring in the middle.

Prediction

It’s a difficult match for the USMNT, and it ends in a 1-1 draw.