The United States Men's National Team travels to Frisco, Texas to take on Ecuador in their second of three warm up matches before Copa America Centenario kicks off with the USMNT playing the opening game against Colombia in Santa Clara, California on June 3rd.
What To Watch For:
- Can the USMNT find a center back pairing? Geoff Cameron is likely one of two starters along with John Brooks when the full tournament rolls around but Cameron is out for this game nursing a hamstring injury. Omar Gonzalez was left off the roster, despite playing well since moving to Liga MX, so this leaves Michael Orozco, Steve Birnbaum or Matt Besler to start alongside Brooks. Ideally Jurgen Klinsmann would pick a CB pairing and give them time to gel before the Colombia match. Birnbaum has recently received strong interest from Feyenoord of the Dutch Eredivisie, a move looks likely post Copa America.
- Is Fabian Johnson fit and where does he play? Fabian Johnson is arguably the best USMNT player at multiple positions and while this is a luxury to have such a quality and versatile player, it means his time with the USMNT is marred by positional changes and uncertainty. Johnson is listed as a defender on the official roster, signalling that he will likely be playing left back if fit. Johnson has not played for Borussia Moenchengladbach since April 24th because of a groin injury. Kellyn Acosta has been added to the roster for this game only as emergency cover.
- Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones, the odd couple. Klinsmann likes to deploy Bradley higher up the field and keep Jones deep which is the opposite of their current club position. Bradley is excelling as a deep lying playmaker for Toronto FC, while Jones is giving the Colorado Rapids an attacking verve they have utilized to great results. Will Klinsmann flip his two midfielders to their more natural positions or try something else? The Ecuador match should be telling.
- Christian Pulisic, does he play? 17 year old Christian Pulisic has been getting regular minutes for Dortmund in the Bundesliga and made his full USMNT debut with a cameo in the World Cup Qualifier (cap tied!) against Guatemala in March. It will be interesting to see if and where Pulisic plays against Ecuador as an indication of what his role will be once the tournament kicks off.
- Can the Bobby Wood and Clint Dempsey partnership flourish with a step up in competition? Dempsey and Wood are the likely strike partnership for Copa America and they played well together in a pair of World Cup Qualifiers against Guatemala in March. Two tournament warmups together should help cement that partnership. Bobby Wood, along with DeAndre Yedlin, was clearly one of the two best players for the USMNT against Puerto Rico on Sunday.
TV and Streaming Listings:
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