7/23 USA looks to bounceback vs NZ Sat 7:30 NBCSN, US Men vs Jamaica Sun 9:30 pm FS1 Gold Cup Quarters, Indy 11 home vs Birmingham 7 pm, Full TV game Schedule, Westfield/IU’s Eriq Zavaleta plays for El Salvador Sat on Fox 7:30.

US Ladies vs New Zealand NBCSN Sat 7:30 am Olympics

Wow- so I was wrong with my prediction last week.  I could have seen a 2-1 or possibly a 2-2 game – but 3-0 a$$whipping from Sweden?  Perhaps we shouldn’t have been surprised – Sweden has played the US the best over the past 8 years and they were obviously very prepared for this game.  I had to watch the game 2 times to really get a feel for what happened.  Sweden found a weakness attacking down the right side constantly putting Crystal Dunn in 2 v 1 situations.  I think Sweden took advantage of Dmid Julie Ertz missing to confuse and perplex the US midfield and defense. Without the protection centerbacks Dahlkemper and Sauerbrunn were split and exposed at times especially Becky no supporting Dunn properly.  With Horan clueless at the #6 Dmid spot – and Sam Mewis completely disappearing – the Sweden side countered the US 3 forward alignment with their own 3 forward line-up and an overlapping right back who crossed the ball into danger no fewer than 7 times.  They scored on 2 of them as Dunn was left to decide by herself which of 3 players to cover at times. Amazingly poor coaching by the US – as an adjustment was NEVER made and the Swedes probably should have won this game 6 to nothing – they blew 2 one v one’s and another breakaway before finally scoring in about the 30th minute.  While Coach A finally did bring in Ertz to add some bite to the midfield – she was sloppy with her passing as she rarely completed a pass.  Heck Dunn turned the ball over 9 of 13 times that I counted in before finally being pulled thankfully late in the 2nd half. Oh and Alyssa Naeher played fine – I have heard some folks questioning our GK – she made 3 early saves that kept us in this game.  Yes she could have maybe handled the corner better by coming to punch out – (no back post defender by the way-AGAIN!! but overall she was fine.  While the defense was the worst that I have seen the US play in years – the offense was honestly not much better.  Again I didn’t count more than 4  passes completed by the US in a row until late in the game.   Sweden won every 50/50 until Ertz came in and was first to the ball almost every time.  I was surprised Heath got the start over Rapinoe on the front line – just because I thought he would ease Heath back in and Rapinoe is such a Big Game player – I thought she would start.  We know Rapinoe can’t go 90 – but I honestly think Coach A got this wrong.  Heath had a nice shot early – but when Rapinoe finally came on down 2-0 – she immediately made hay as she almost beat the keeper near post before setting up Press with a perfect cross that Press dinked off the post.  The US actually hit the post twice – as Levelle blew a perfect pass from right back O’hare when she headed past the open net and into the post.  Two post balls and perhaps this is the 2-3 game this should have been.  Still we kept waiting for the US to wake up – and it never happened.  I am not sure if they overtrained or partied too hard pregame but they looked worn out and tired and not like the US team we are used to.  I still expect coach A to mix things up Sat vs New Zealand – they are not good – and we should win at least 4 or 5 to nothing.  Australia looked equally as weak in just beating this terrible New Zealand team 2-1 so the US should cruise thru the next two games.  But as the #2 team from the group the US will have a tougher road with the Netherlands, and Great Britain sitting in the other bracket.  Of course you didn’t expect the US to coast did you?  At least this way you have to watch – as this is anyone’s Olympics and don’t forget NO Team has ever won the World Cup and then won the following Olympics.  We’ll see if the US can fight their way back and compete for this title – I wouldn’t bet against them – but I also think this could get tricky as we get to the knockout rounds- I am just not sure we have a go to scorer when down by 1 with 5 minutes left.  We’ll see !!

US Ladies Roster

GOALKEEPERS (2): Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Jane Campbell (Houston Dash)

DEFENDERS (6): Abby Dahlkemper (Manchester City), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit), Casey Krueger (Chicago Red Stars),

MIDFIELDERS (5): Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash), Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage), Catarina Macario (Lyon),

FORWARDS (5): Tobin Heath (Unattached), Carli Lloyd (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Unattached), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage)

US Men vs Jamaica Sun 9:30 pm FS1 

So the US men found a way to survive Canada with a hard fought 1-0 victory last weekend.  After scoring in the first 30 seconds – the US dominated for about 10 minutes with their flexible new look 3 man back line with a wondering center mid James Sands introducing himself full scale to the US fans.  But when captain Walker Zimmerman, MLS Defender of the Year went out at the 11 minute mark it all changed.  Sands and a newly subbed in left center back Donovan Pines -now meant there were 3 relative newcomers on the 5 man back line with about 10 caps between them all.  What happened next was the US held on for dear life while Canada continued a barrage on the US goal.  GK Matt Turner stood strong and center backs James Sands and 20 year old Miles Robinson turned into stars as each player put in Man of the Match performances with their last second saves and incredible defending against a Canadian team bent on getting the equalizer.  US Coach Gregg – tried a back 3/5 with 2 forwards in Dike and Zardes up top.  I will admit I was excited to see two forwards in the line-up.  But this did not work as both #9s simply did not work off of each other very well.   Zardes moves better and has better quick passing while in the #9 slot – and while I thought Dike would shine – he was surprisingly week in his hold up play and willingness to battle for balls now that he was playing a real soccer team.  Dike is no Altidore – yet – he’s like 5 notches below that right now – but has tons of potential.  His movement is ok – but his hold-up play and passing off that hold-up play leaves A LOT to be desired.  He’s young – its just his 2nd year as a pro and It shows – but again he’s got potential.  The US really never threatened to score after the opening stanza which is worrisome moving forward for the US.  Coach B – needs to figure some things out.  For 1 – we don’t have a next level Dmid #6 on this roster (well James Sands maybe- but he’s playing center back for us).  Jackson Yueill is showing he can’t match up vs better competition just yet and the young Italian KC man Gianluca Busio  who played so well vs Martinique – was completely overrun by Canada last weekend.   Busio might well be the future but he’s no Adams just yet.  Coach B truly has a challenge as we move forward in the tourney – anything less than a finals matchup with Mexico will be seen as a failure – even with a B team – edging on C team at the moment.  Still its exciting to watch – can some players from this young US team emerge and contend for a World Cup birth next winter?  I think so as Sands, Robinson and Sam Vines are all making themselves a lot of money with the potential for moves to Europe after this showing.  I could see those players replacing – Ream, and Yedlin at least along with back line.  Here’s who one writer thinks we should start – I have no idea what the US will do or what alignment they will use vs Jamaica on Sunday night – I just know I will be watching and rooting us on!  Ah heck – so here’s my line-up. 

Dike (if healthy/if not) Zardes

Hoppe //Leitget

Williamson//Roldan

Acosta

Vines/Robinson/Sands/Moore

Matt Turner

Full USMNT roster for 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup

Goalkeepers (3): Brad Guzan (Atlanta United), Sean Johnson (New York City FC), Matt Turner (New England Revolution)

Defenders (8): George Bello (Atlanta United), Reggie Cannon (Boavista), Shaq Moore (Tenerife), Donovan Pines (D.C. United), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United), James Sands (New York City FC), Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids),

Midfielders (6): Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids), Gianluca Busio (Sporting Kansas City), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders), Eryk Williamson (Portland Timbers), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes)

Forwards (6): Paul Arriola (D.C. United), Daryl Dike (Orlando City), Nicholas Gioacchini (Caen), Matthew Hoppe (Schalke), Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew)

Gold Cup Bracket

Huge quarter finals as 2022 World Cup Host Qatar faces former US Asst Coach Hugo Perez and the most exciting team in the tourney El Salvador Saturday at 7:30 on Fox.  Watch as former Westfield and Indiana University forward Eriq Zavaleta (son of Carlos Zavaleta, owner of Indiana Soccer Academy/futsal in Noblesville) plays centerback!  The Toronto FC Defender has become quite the young centerback and should give Qatars tourney leading scorer all kinds of fits. 

Indy 11 host Birmingham @ the Mike — Sat 7 pm ESPN+, TV 8

Fresh-off a disappointing tie at home to Memphis last weekend, the Indy 11 are home this Saturday to face Birmingham at 7 pm at the Mike!   Tickets at a special Discounted Price are Available Here– Friends of Indy 11.  On the MLS side check out  this goalazo by Seattle’s Raul Ruidiaz as Seattle remained top of the MLS with a 1-0 win over Austin with 5 home-grown players under the age of 19 starting the game. 

The State Runner-Up Carmel High School Girls will be hosting a soccer tourney Fri/Sat 7/24 at River Road (126th & River Road).  Drop on by to see some solid soccer and of course good luck to those trying out starting Aug 2.  

US Ladies –Sat 7:30 am NBCSN vs New Zealand

True Grit US Must Dig out of Olympic Hole – Dan Wetzel
Opinion: USWNT has time to turn around Olympic prospects, but they’ll have to be ‘ruthless’

‘We Got Our Asses Kicked, Didn’t We?’ USWNT Reels After Olympic Loss BY MOLLY GEARY SI

USWNT determined to not let blowout loss to Sweden derail its gold-medal hopes
Why the USWNT shouldn’t panic about their Olympic thrashing by Sweden (yet)

USWNT already in tough spot after losing to Sweden 3-0 in Olympic opener

USWNT 0-3 Sweden: Not great Bob, not great!

Rapinoe: ‘No time to dwell’ on loss to Sweden
USWNT looked lost, confused as Sweden end unbeaten run
  Caitlin Murray ESPN FC

Tactical Approach Used by Sweden to SWAMP the US
Sweden dominates USWNT in a 3-0 victory in their opener at Tokyo Olympics

All About Megan Rapinoe, Olympic Soccer Star and USWNT Leader

Australia find winning formula in Olympic opener

The Standings

 Men
France thrashed by Mexico in Olympic opener as Brazil beat Germany

From Copa America to Olympics, Richarlison nets 3 for Brazil

 

US Men   Sunday 9 pm vs Jamaica FS1 Gold Cup

Zimmerman Out While Kessler And Cowell Join USMNT Camp Ahead Of Jamaica

Analysis: USMNT Starts Strong, Holds On In 1-0 Win Over Canada by Brian Sciaretta ASN

Defender Miles Robinson Making the Most of his Chances – S&S

Walker Zimmerman departs USMNT camp By Donald Wine II

 USA v. Canada, 2021 Gold Cup: What we learned

USA vs. Canada, 2021 Gold Cup: Man of the Match

2021 Gold Cup Recap: USA 1-0 Canada – The Americans score early and come away with a lucky win

USMNT player ratings: Miles Robinson, James Sands shut down Canada in group-topping win

Three USMNT takeaways from a skin-tight Gold Cup win over Canada

Exploring James Sands’ rapid USMNT rise: “It’s not a surprise to me”

USMNT icon Hugo Perez has made El Salvador the Gold Cup’s best story so far

What we learned from the USMNT Gold Cup group stage showing

 

MLS and Indy 11


MLS Atlanta United dumps Heinze as coach after poor start

Why Atlanta United parted ways with Gabriel Heinze

·      PREVIEW | INDY ELEVEN HOSTS BIRMINGHAM LEGION FC FOR KEEP INDY LIVE NIGHT

·      USL CHAMPIONSHIP RECAP: INDY ELEVEN 1 : 1 MEMPHIS 901 FC

·      INDY ELEVEN AND FORWARD CAMMY SMITH MUTUALLY AGREE TO END CONTRACT WITH CLUB

 

Goalkeeping

MLS Keepers Make Great Saves Last week

Best Saves Copa America

GAMES ON TV

Saturday, July 24 Women’s Olympics

4:30 am        Sweden vs Australia (NBCSN)

7 am               Netherlands vs Brazil (universo)

7:30 am        USA vs New Zealand Ladies  (NBCSN)

3:30 pm        MLS Atlanta United vs Columbus Crew  (ABC)

7:30pm         Gold Cup Qatar vs El Salvador (Westfield’s Zavaleta)

10 pm            GOLD CUP QF Mexico vs Honduras FS1

Sunday, July 25th Men’s Olympics

3:30 am        Egypt vs Argentina (telemundo)

4 am             New Zealand vs Honduras (univserso)

4:30 pm        Brazil vs Ivory Coast (NBCSN)

7 am             Japan vs Mexico (NBCSN)

3 pm           Racing Louisville vs Washington Spirit NWSL (paramount+)

7:30 pm        GOLD CUP QF Canada vs Costa Rica FS1

10 pm            GOLD CUP USA vs Jamaica FS1

Tuesday, July 27 Women’s Olympics

4 am             USA vs Australia Ladies  (USA)

4:30 am        Sweden vs New Zealand (NBCSN)

7 am               Canada vs Great Britain (??)

7 am               Netherlands vs China (universo)

Wednesday, July 28th Men’s Olympics

3:30 am        Germany vs Ivory Coast (NBCSN)

4 am             New Zealand vs Romania (univserso)

7 am             Japan vs France (NBCSN)

Thursday, July 29th

7:30 pm        GOLD CUP Semi FS1

10 pm            GOLD CUP Semi FS1

Friday, July 30th

4 am               Olympic Ladies QF  NBCSN

6 am               Olympic Ladies QF NBCSN

7 am               Olympic Ladies QF USA vs ? (USA) 

7:30 pm        Orlando vs Atlanta

10 pm            LA Galaxy vs Portland Timbers

Saturday, July 31st

4 am               Olympic Men QF  (NBCSN)

5 am               Olympic Men QF (USA)

7 am               Olympic Men QF (USA)

Sunday, Aug 1

8:30 pm        GOLD CUP Final FS1

Monday, Aug 3

4 am               Olympic Ladies Semi US Ladies?   (USA)

7 am               Olympic Ladies Semi (USA) 

United States looked lost and confused in Olympic opener as Sweden ended its unbeaten run

Jul 21, 2021Caitlin Murray

There was a moment early in the first half of the United States women’s national team‘s opening match of its Olympic campaign when midfielder Rose Lavelle, dribbling into Sweden‘s half with the ball at her feet, looked around furiously and put her hands out, as if she was lost. Even without being able to hear what she said in Tokyo’s cavernous Ajinomoto Stadium, it’s easy to imagine it was something along the lines of, “Where is everyone?”

That, in a nutshell, was how the USWNT began its 2020 Olympics, looking confused in a 3-0 loss to open Group G play.The defeat was notable, first, because the team rarely loses. It came into Wednesday’s match unbeaten in its previous 44, with 40 of them wins. Its last loss was in January 2019, at a friendly in France.To say the reigning Women’s World Cup champions arrived in Japan as a favorite is perhaps an understatement. The U.S. has reached the gold-medal match in five of the six Olympics since women’s soccer became an event, and unlike some of the teams in Tokyo, the USWNT has played warm-up games for the months leading up to this amid the pandemic.But the defeat was also notable because of just how bad the loss was. Confused expressions abounded as players, including Lavelle, looked for an open American to pass the ball to but couldn’t find anyone. As Sweden swarmed, pressing and bossing the midfield, the Americans looked rattled and gave the ball away too cheaply.”It felt like there were holes everywhere defensively,” striker Alex Morgan said. “I didn’t feel like we were pressing together, and then when we were on the attack and we’d lose the ball, we didn’t have the numbers around the ball to win it back.”The hopelessness and confusion wasn’t in spurts, as is wont to happen for even the best teams sometimes — rather, it endured for the full 90 minutes and the USWNT never looked close to waging a comeback. That is a rare feeling in USWNT history. The last example might have been at the 2007 World Cup, where Brazil pummeled the U.S. 4-0 — but there were the extenuating circumstances of then-coach Greg Ryan bizarrely benching first-choice goalkeeper Hope Solo on nothing more than a hunch.There was no reason for the USWNT to lose as badly as it did Wednesday, but plenty of credit belongs to Sweden, a team that over the years has become the tactical thorn in the USWNT’s side. After all, the only Olympics the USWNT crashed out of were in 2016 when Sweden, playing a disciplined, ultra-defensive bunker, knocked the Americans out in the quarterfinals.This Sweden was not a bunker-and-counter team, however. This Sweden was out for the jugular, delivering crunching tackles to stop any whiff of American possession and committing numbers forward to slice through the American defense and strike.Sweden’s first goal, in the 25th minute, went seemingly just as planned: the USWNT got stuck in the midfield with nowhere to go and lost possession, springing Sweden in the other direction. Yellow shirts flew forward and, before the U.S. even seemed to know what had happened, Stina Blackstenius headed the ball into the back of the net.When the USWNT dominates games, it likes to use every inch of the field, spraying the ball around and using the wide spaces to its advantage, and Sweden certainly recognized that, closing passing lines and choking those spaces. That rendered the U.S. midfield a turnover machine. But as much as Sweden deserves credit, the Americans also deserve blame.”We got our ass kicked a bit,” Megan Rapinoe said afterward. “There’s a lot of stuff we can clean up — trap the ball, pass the ball to your own team is probably the first one.”In other words, the USWNT looked flummoxed and unprepared for what it faced Wednesday. It would be easy to say that perhaps the USWNT was just overconfident. Maybe the No. 1-ranked team in the world and the favorite in this tournament had expected it to be a breeze. On the contrary, the USWNT seemed to lack confidence from the opening whistle. That put the Americans in trouble immediately because their confidence is perhaps their deadliest weapon — the mentality that no matter the score, they always believe they can win and find a way to outwork the other team.”We were a little tigh, a little nervous — doing dumb stuff like not passing the ball,” Rapinoe said. “… I think a lot of it was just us not playing free and not being who we are and not enjoying it.”If there is a positive spin to put on the performance, it’s that at least it happened in the tournament’s opener. After 44 games unbeaten, the USWNT might have needed a reminder of the pain of losing.”We’ve had a long string of wins, and we haven’t had a lot of games where we’ve had to come back or anything like that,” forward Christen Press said. “I think it was actually really good to have this match.”Take, for instance, the 2008 Olympics. There, the U.S. lost 2-0 in its opening match to Norway. It bounced back without losing the rest of the way and won gold. While the U.S. doesn’t usually lose in major tournaments, the Americans do usually have bad performances. During the 2015 World Cup, which the U.S. later won, calls to fire then-head coach Jill Ellis over the lackluster performances came from the media and even from former members of the team.At the 2019 World Cup in France — where on paper the U.S. dominated, scoring within the first 12 minutes of every match en route to the final — the round-of-16 match against Spain was shaky, and mistakes allowed Spain to score, making for a surprisingly close match given Spain’s still-rising status in women’s soccer.But the proper lessons will need to be learned, which includes by coach Vlatko Andonovski, whose substitutions projected panic and nervousness rather than the composure that comes from a clear game plan. At halftime, he yanked Morgan, who was the least of the U.S.’s problems as the most advanced player on the field, in favor of Carli Lloyd, who has usually been reserved for late-game minutes. He also took off Samantha Mewis for Julie Ertz, the stuck-in defensive midfielder he surely would’ve preferred to have started Wednesday. After all, Ertz is known as a midfield enforcer who flies in challenges and wins balls. But crucially, Ertz is coming off an injury and hasn’t played competitive soccer since May, and some rust was evident, making her an unlikely solution in a game as difficult as this.The good news, at least, is that New Zealand, the USWNT’s next opponent in Group G, is not at Sweden’s level. It’s also hard to imagine the USWNT can play any worse, so its Olympic campaign can only improve from here.”We, like Vlatko said, got ourselves into this mess,” captain Becky Sauerbrunn said. “Now it’s our responsibility to get ourselves out of it.”

Plunged into an Olympic hole, the USWNT now must prove it can still fight like hell out of it

Dan Wetzelbbv ·Columnist   Wed, July 21, 2021, 8:33 AM

TOKYO — Even as they stacked up victories and championships, even as they were celebrated and decorated in ways women before them could never have imagined, this core group from the United States soccer team always focused on their grit more than talent.This was a team full of fury and fight, they’d tell you, mentally and physically tough, the best in the world because they could always dig deeper and push harder. It wasn’t just skill. It wasn’t just tactics. That was their mantra, at least. You can’t argue with the results.Now, after a shocking and humiliating 3-0 loss to Sweden in their Olympic opener, the Americans are going to have to prove it, this time in a way they never have before.If the U.S. is going to take gold — and when you arrive as the World Cup champs on a 44-game unbeaten streak, that’s the only goal — it’ll need every bit of the tenacity it can muster.It didn’t just lose to Sweden, the Americans were dominated in ways they just never are.“We got our asses kicked, didn’t we?” Megan Rapinoe said afterward.Sure did.Now what are they going to do about it?This is just a 12-team event, so the U.S. has ample opportunity to get out of group play and reach the eight-team knockout stage. It needs to finish second in its group, or be one of the two best third-place teams.The U.S. plays New Zealand on Saturday and Australia on Tuesday. It can certainly bounce back, but there is little margin for error.Even then, if Sweden can push the U.S. around like this, do the Americans have what it takes to come back and win this tournament?It wasn’t like they just slept-walked into this. Sweden was a circle-the-date matchup, a true contender and a chance to gain a measure of revenge over the team that eliminated them in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Rio Olympics.“One of the worst results that the senior national team has had in a major tournament,” captain Becky Sauerbrunn called that loss. 

Yeah, well …The U.S. was slow to the ball, poor in possession and outclassed from start to finish. The team looked like it was wilting in the heat and humidity of Japan, despite a training camp based mostly in Florida and Texas.“I don’t even know how many goals we have given up this whole year,” Rapinoe said with a laugh. “I don’t even remember the last time we gave up a goal.”The Americans had given up one goal in their previous 13 games … in a tie with Sweden in April.“So to give up three is … not great,” Rapinoe said.It’s not like this is a group that is just learning to play together. This is essentially a run-it-back roster. Coach Vlatko Andonovski favored experience over youth when putting together the roster. Ten of the 18 active roster players available Wednesday were 30 or over, including seven over 32. Seven of the 10 starting field players saw action in that 2016 Olympic loss. Six starters had 100 or more international appearances, and that didn’t include Carli Lloyd (306), Megan Rapinoe (177) or Julie Ertz (110), who were the first three to come off the bench.This was an encore performance for this group, a curtain call trying to do something (follow a World Cup with Olympic gold) that no team ever has.“This is not something we expected,” Andonovski said. “We don’t expect to lose to begin with, especially not 3-0 … I don’t think this team has ever been in a situation like this. It’s a bit of a shock.”So now what? Is there an adjustment to be made? Is there an attitude to fix? Is there a lineup that works? Was this just a bad night after years of near invincibility?Alex Morgan lasted just a half before being pulled. Same with Sam Mewis. The midfield was particularly exposed. Really, no one played well other than perhaps goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, who kept it close for awhile.One loss doesn’t end the dream or destroy a dynasty. This is one of the greatest teams of all time, legends to the sport. It can absolutely spring back and win it.Yet age is undefeated. Sweden’s three goals were scored by a pair of 25-year-olds: Stina Blackstenius (two) and Lina Hurtig.And with just two off days, the Americans need to regroup. New Zealand offers a chance for that, it’s ranked 22nd in the world. Australia, however, is different, a top-10 team capable of — and likely eager to — beat the suddenly bloodied top-ranked USA.This is when we’ll see what this group still has. Lloyd. Morgan. Rapinoe. O’Hara. Sauerbrunn. Dunn. Press. Heath. Ertz. They’ve won and won to the point where it looked effortless. They were always quick to remind everyone that it wasn’t, that behind the success and behind the commercials and behind the parades these were women who fought like hell to get to the top.Now here’s the chance to show it, this time with a stunned soccer world suddenly doubting them.

‘We Got Our Asses Kicked, Didn’t We?’ USWNT Reels After Olympic Wake-Up Call vs. Sweden

A 3–0 defeat to Sweden was a rude awakening for the U.S., whose gold medal outlook got a lot cloudier in Tokyo.

MOLLY GEARYJUL 21, 2021

For the last five years, even as the U.S. women’s soccer team won a World Cup and rattled off victory after victory, its quarterfinal Olympic exit to Sweden has lingered.It lingered in the run-up to the two sides’ meeting at the 2019 Women’s World Cup (the United States won, 2–0, against a less-than-full-strength Sweden XI). It lingered ahead of an April friendly in Stockholm, a pre-Olympic test for both heavyweights (the two sides drew, 1–1, after a late penalty by the U.S.). And it lingered—of course—as the countries returned to the scene of the crime, with the USWNT fittingly opening up its Tokyo Olympics run against the same opponent it left off against in 2016 on a field in Brasília, stunned after its earliest elimination ever in the tournament.On Wednesday, Sweden took that enduring narrative and kicked down the door, setting an unsettling Olympic tone for the U.S. and giving itself a leg up in its own quest for gold.Dominating in just about every facet, the Swedes put on a clinic against the world’s No. 1-ranked team, executing a note-perfect game plan in a 3–0 win that exposed the United States in a way that even the ‘16 iteration of Sweden did not come close to doing. “We got our asses kicked, didn’t we?” forward Megan Rapinoe, who subbed on in the 64th minute Wednesday with her team already down 2–0, succinctly said afterward.From the start, you could sense something was amiss with Vlatko Andonovski’s team, normally the one stepping on the gas pedal from the first whistle and never letting up. “Off days” for the U.S. are usually code for days when it struggles to finish chances, eventually figuring it out enough to build what had been a 44-game unbeaten streak and a torrid run across the last four years, when its only defeat came to France in January 2019.But in Tokyo, it was the U.S. that was put on its heels almost immediately, repeatedly succumbing to Sweden’s relentless pressure and disruptions and failing to generate any kind of cohesive attack.Missing star Julie Ertz—who entered the Olympics as a major question mark, having not played since May due to a knee injury—the normally formidable U.S. midfield was thoroughly outplayed in the first half, and the defense sliced and diced amid uncharacteristic games from the likes of Crystal Dunn and Abby Dahlkemper. Pointed halftime subs by Andonovski—bringing in Ertz for Sam Mewis and Carli Lloyd for striker Alex Morgan—did little to change the match trajectory and failed to stop the bleeding as the Swedes tacked on two more. Back in 2016, Sweden received plenty of attention for the defensive style of play that successfully led that game to penalties and cracked the U.S.’s code, including then-U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo’s famous postgame remarks.“We played a bunch of cowards. The best team did not win today … They didn’t want to open play. They didn’t want to pass the ball. They didn’t want to play great soccer,” Solo said that day.No one could make a similar accusation this time. Sweden was brave and assertive, discombobulating the U.S. in a way few opponents can and consistently applying attacking pressure on the Americans and GK Alyssa Naeher. And while Naeher made a series of highlight-reel saves early—and kept the game from being an even worse blowout than 3–0—there was little she could do to stop an onslaught that grew increasingly inevitable.

The United States’s chances, meanwhile, were few and far between, summed up by the fact that it took nearly an entire half for the team to earn its first corner kick. Attempts by Rose Lavelle and Christen Press that clanged off the post were about as riveting as it got for the U.S. attack, normally so potent and unyielding but held to five shots on goal by the Swedes, who were playing without star center back Magdalena Eriksson.“We need to learn from our mistakes this game and then we need to move on. We need to forget about it,” Morgan told Telemundo. “We need to take each game as it comes and then obviously it’s taking care of our bodies because it’s a shorter tournament than a World Cup, so the turnaround is a lot faster.”The U.S. arrived in Japan with a clear expectation—anything less than its fifth gold medal will be a disappointment. Andonovski opted for a battle-tested—and also older—roster filled with experience; of the original 18 that made the cut before rosters expanded to 22, only 30-year-old Kristie Mewis was not a part of the 2019 World Cup-winning squad. This is a team that has long embraced and prided itself on its ruthlessness, its confidence and its will to win. It has felt defeat just four times since that 2016 Olympic exit, three of which came during a five-month period in 2017 when the team’s seeming invincibility displayed real cracks and had then-coach Jill Ellis on thin ice.The response to that rough patch—losing just once in the four years since—is a testament to the group’s mentality and resiliency. Those traits will now be fully tested in Japan, where the U.S. still controls its own destiny but has complicated its path to the podium.Sweden is now in the driver’s seat of Group G with two group-round games for both (vs. New Zealand and Australia) remaining. The winner of the group will face a third-place team from one of the other two groups in the quarterfinals, while the runner-up gets a difficult draw with the Group F winner, very likely to be the Netherlands or Brazil (third place would not necessarily doom the U.S., either, as eight of the tournament’s 12 teams advance to the knockout rounds).Brutal draws are nothing new for the USWNT—look no further than its ’19 World Cup run, when it took down host France in a raucous quarterfinal atmosphere before winning a slugfest with England in the semis—but it hasn’t had to answer to such an early disappointment at a major tournament in quite a long time. And aside from Lloyd and Tobin Heath, the current roster is in uncharted waters.“2008 Olympics, I was part of that team, we lost our first game as well and came away with a gold medal,” Lloyd told Telemundo after Wednesday’s defeat, recalling the U.S.’s 2–0 opening loss to Norway in the Beijing Games. “It’s really, really important for us not to dwell too much on this game.”There won’t be much time to, with New Zealand waiting on Saturday before a group-stage finale vs. Australia on Tuesday. The U.S. will be favored to win both, and New Zealand in particular presents an excellent opportunity to bounce back nicely and get itself on track. With the need for lineup rotation, it will have to be a true team effort on Saturday after Andonovski put what was seemingly the U.S.’s best foot forward against Sweden.Ultimately, the U.S. women will be judged by one thing in these Games—whether or not they bring home the gold medal that they failed to in Rio. To get there, they might not be done with the Swedes, either. Presuming they finish 1-2 in the group one way or another, when is the next time these two sides could possibly meet, and further add to their decorated rivalry?The Olympic final.You want story lines? Nothing could quite beat that.

Megan Rapinoe after USWNT loss to Sweden in Tokyo Olympics: ‘No time to dwell’

Jul 21, 2021ESPN

Megan Rapinoe said the United States women’s national team must move on quickly after a surprising 3-0 loss to Sweden in its Olympic Games opener on Wednesday.

The USWNT saw a 44-match unbeaten record end in humbling style as the tournament favorite and world No. 1-ranked side was undone by two Stina Blackstenius goals and one from Lina Hurtig.With four gold medals, the United States has more than any other nation and is vying to become the first team to win Olympic gold following a World Cup title.To do that, though, the team must move on quickly after the loss to Peter Gerhardsson’s side. Speaking after the match, Rapinoe said: “We got our asses kicked, didn’t we? … I thought we were a little tight, a little nervous, just doing dumb stuff.”There’s no time to dwell and think about if Sweden is living in our heads or not. We’ve got another game in three days.”Rapinoe, who came on in the 64th minute with the score 2-0, added: “Did we expect this result tonight? No.”It’s frustrating, and it’s frustrating that it’s Sweden. They found a lot of space on us. I don’t even know how many goals we have given up this whole year. I don’t remember the last time we gave up a goal. So to give up three is not great.”Sweden, ranked No. 5, has been the U.S. team’s nemesis of sorts in recent years. The Swedes bounced the Americans from the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games in the quarterfinals, their earliest U.S. Olympic exit ever, by making a defensive stand.In April, Sweden played the United States to a 1-1 draw in Stockholm, which snapped a winning streak dating back to January 2019 when the Americans lost to France in the runup to the World Cup. It was the U.S. team’s only draw this year.U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski said: “It’s obvious we put ourselves in a big hole, but we’re the only ones who can get ourselves out of it.”It’s not going to be easy. We’ve got to get positive results in the next two games, but the fact there is still a chance [means] I know this team is not going to give up.”Sweden leads Group G heading into Saturday’s game against Australia in Saitama, while the United States faces New Zealand. The top two teams in the group advance to the knockout round.”We have very brave players and very good leaders,” Gerhardsson said. “Brave attitude to win the ball and transition so well. Yeah, I’m satisfied.”In 2008, the United States also lost its first match (2-0 to Norway), but went on to win the gold medal.”I think ultimately as an athlete you go through ups and downs, and this is a hard result, but it’s the nature of a tough tournament,” U.S. forward Christen Press said. “It wasn’t going to be easy. We weren’t going to breeze through six games no matter what. So here we are.”

Zimmerman out while Kessler and Cowell join USMNT camp ahead of Jamaica

Gregg Berhalter took the first steps towards potentially changing his roster ahead of the quarterfinal matchup against Jamaica on Sunday. Walker Zimmerman has been rulled out. Henry Kessler and Cade Cowell have joined the team’s camp in Dallas. ASN’s Brian Sciaretta is here with his thoughts. 

BY BRIAN SCIARETTA  JULY 21, 2021  7:00 AM

UNITED STATES national team manager Gregg Berhalter revealed important news to his Gold Cup roster on Tuesday night when he announced that winger Cade Cowell and central defender Henry Kessler were going to join the team’s camp on Wednesday. It was further announced that defender Walker Zimmerman has been ruled out for the remainder of the tournament.Per the amended tournament regulations, teams can replace injured players up to 24 hours prior to the quarterfinal. At this time, however, the United States national team has not made a formal change to the roster. These plans simply give Berhalter more leeway to make a switch.The U.S. team learned it will face Jamaica on Sunday night at 9pm EST in the quarterfinals in Dallas. Changes for the knockout rounds therefore need to be made by Saturday night. Here are a few thoughts on the potential changes. 

EXTREMELY INEXPERIENCED CENTRAL DEFENSE

 If New England Revolution defender Henry Kessler replaces Walker Zimmerman, the central defense is extremely inexperienced with it now consisting of Kessler, Miles Robinson, James Sands, and Donovan Pines. Prior to the Gold Cup, three of those four central defenders had zero caps and Robinson had just three. While Robinson and Sands have played well, it’s very little experience in the back and that will come into play as the tournament gets harder.ne thing to consider is whether this limits Berhalter’s ability or confidence to play three central defenders in the back. Pines was shaky at times against Canada and with these changes, three central defense adds to the inexperience of the entire team.  To drift away from the three central defense lineup, it will depend on how the winger situation is resolved. This team is thin on wingers and that limits the usage of the typical 4-3-3. To return to the 4-3-3 will depend on Paul Arriola getting healthy or Cade Cowell being ready. Otherwise, Berhalter will have to revert to variation of a 4-4-2 or a 4-2-3-1.

 COWEL’S VERSATILITY GIVES OPTIONS

 Paul Arriola has missed the past two games and Daryl Dike played the final 10 minutes against Canada with a hurt shoulder. Cowell has versatility to play both forward and winger so it remains to be seen who he could be brought into replace.Cowell, 17, has been playing very well recently for San Jose so he has momentum heading into this tournament. This is a very big opportunity for Cowell who could get his first cap in a very big moment.

BERHALTER HAS TIME TO MAKE MORE CHANGES

 One thing to consider is that the rules of the tournament give Berhalter until Saturday to make a change. Kessler and Cowell have yet to appear for the U.S. national team and it’s good that they are arriving on Wednesday for an added training session.It’s important to note that MLS has a big slate of games on Wednesday night (and another two games on Thursday). Perhaps more announcements are on their way after these games?
There are a few possibilities – bearing in mind the names must come from the 60-player provisional roster. Moses Nyeman and Kevin Paredes recently trained with the U.S. team before the start of the Gold Cup. Chris Mueller is also playing well for Orlando (which plays on Thursday) and he plays as a winger, which could be needed. Jeremy Ebobisse is also in form for Portland and he is a striker option. Justin Che could add defensive depth and he at least trained with the team in May.We will see if more players arrive in camp and if any changes are being made but for now it’s in flux.

Analysis: USMNT starts strong, holds on in 1-0 win over Canada

In its biggest test of the Gold Cup so far, the USMNT got the result it wanted but it didn’t necessarily get the performance. In the end a strong start gave the U.S. team a 1-0 win over Canada to win Group B. Now Gregg Berhalter will have a week to prepare and hopefully have his team healthy for the quarterfinals. ASN’s Brian Sciaretta is here to give his throughts.

BY BRIAN SCIARETTAPOSTEDJULY 19, 20211:30 AM

THE UNITED STATES NATIONAL team scored early and hung on to defeat Canada 1-0 in Kansas City to win Group B with a perfect nine points. While Group B might have been secured, the performance was far from good enough if the team wants to win this tournament ahead of the knockout stages.The U.S. team once again rolled out with a three-central defense set up (Walker Zimmerman, James Sands, and Miles Robinson).The U.S. got on the board very quickly with one of its fastest goals ever – 20 seconds into the game. Kellyn Acosta swung the ball to Sebastian Lletget inside the box, left of the goal. The California native hit the bouncing ball with his first touch back across the goal and it found Shaq Moore at the far post for an open finish.Gregg Berhalter was forced into an early change in the 10th minute when Walker Zimmerman was forced out of the game with a hamstring injury following a collision. He was then replaced by D.C. United’s Donovan Pines.After a strong start, the U.S. team faded around the half hour mark following the first hydration break. After that, Canada controlled possession of the game and the U.S. was pinned back. Liam Fraser, Tajon Buchanan, Samuel Piette, and Richie Laryea all had strong games for Canada which impressed in the midfield and will likely be a tough out in the knockout stages. Still, the U.S. team limited Canada’s dangerous despite struggling to maintain possession. Buchanan was the most dangerous offensive player in the game for either team and he was effective getting the ball on the left side and cutting in. In the second half, he nearly equalized when his bending shot just missed bending into the far side of the post.The U.S. team was able to see out the win and will now have an entire week off to prepare for the quarterfinal against either Costa Rica or Jamaica next Sunday.Here are some thoughts on the game.

ROBINSON AND VINES STANDOUT

 The U.S. team’s two best players on the day were Miles Robinson and Sam Vines who were fantastic on the backline. Both players were the reason why, despite losing the possession battle, the U.S. team was able to drastically limit Canada’s number of very dangerous opportunities – which were few.

1-0 #USMNT defeats Canada to win group. Not a great performance.
some thoughts
?Miles Robinson was terrific. Wow
?Vines had a very good game
?Lletget had his moments, great assist
?Hoppe solid off bench
?Buchanan: best player on the field
?Injuries are a huge concern

— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) July 18, 2021

 This was the performance many hoped Robinson could deliver for the U.S. team. This was the first time he was significantly tested for the U.S team and the Massachusetts native delivered with important clearances, duel wins, and passes out of the back. He was a massive obstacle that Canada could not get around and, in my opinion, the most influential player in the game.Robinson has an opportunity to crack into the national team for World Cup qualifying as there are so many questions in central defense. John Brooks is a lock starter for the national team when healthy but Mark McKenzie isn’t quite a set starter at Genk. Meanwhile Matt Miazga, Erik Palmer-Brown, and Cameron Carter-Vickers are all yet to have their club situations sorted out.Sam Vines, likewise, had a massively important game both for the U.S. team and for himself. Long thought of as an offensive left back, Vines showed his defensive attributes in this game – which were always the questions surrounding his game. He was simply everywhere defensively while also being one of the team’s few assets getting forward.Sam Vines: raw # for the #USMNT in 1-0 win over Canada
90 mins
71 touches
0 shots
2 key passes
41/46 passing
3/3 accurate crossing
0/1 long balls
5/7 duels won
5 clearances
2 interceptions
1/1 tackles
1/1 dribbles
0 fouls
1x fouled
2/3 aerials won
– very good game

— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) July 18, 2021

 Vines is likely heading to Royal Antwerp after this tournament on a transfer from the Colorado Rapids and anyone who has been paying attention to his game has noticed his improvement every single season. It is possible he cracks into the World Cup qualifying team this fall.

FORMATION ISSUES AND STRUGGLES

 The U.S. team seemed to fall off dramatically after the hydration break at the 30th minute. Canada adjusted and the U.S. team didn’t respond.Canada put a lot of pressure on the U.S. team’s deeper central midfielders in Gianluca Busio and Kellyn Acosta. Neither of those two players had strong games and that is where the possession game fell apart. One of the big consequences is that the two outside backs, Sam Vines and Shaq Moore, were pinned back. As wingbacks, the plan was to push them into the midfield on a regular basis but the lack of possession saw them pinned back.The design was that the U.S. team would defend with five in the back but that, when in possession, it would shift to a narrow diamond with James Sands moving to the six and the fullbacks pushed aggressively into the attack to provide width. It never really materialized.The U.S. team played with a two-forward set in Gyasi Zardes and Daryl Dike but was never able to get the benefit given the midfield’s lack of possession. Instead, it turned into a wasted player. If the fullbacks were able to get forward, it would have been a different story as the midfield would have had more outlets out wide and more crosses could have been sent into a pair of forwards who are both good in the air.The U.S. team’s mostly poor performance was a chain of things that went wrong and it started with Acosta and Busio. That led to the outside backs being pinned back and not enough offensive outlets – with everything being geared up the middle. Sebastian Lletget, meanwhile, had a nice game for the U.S. team. His outstanding assist was the defining moment of the game but he was given a very tough task as his two midfielder partners were struggling, and the wingbacks were pinned to the backline. His forward outlets were limited. Canada’s backline was able to mark Zardes and Dike out of the game. Still, Lletget was able to help the team hold the ball better than just about everyone else and help to set up whatever offensive chances it had.

INJURIES MOUNT

It was welcome news for the U.S. team to have Reggie Cannon return from injury and be able to play off the bench. The Boavista-based fullback was effective defensively and Shaq Moore, who started all three games, has been almost overworked given his preseason form.Meanwhile, Paul Arriola remains out and that limits the ability to play from wide positions.The U.S. team badly needs Walker Zimmerman to be healthy and his hamstring will be evaluated this week. Meanwhile, Daryl Dike suffered what appeared to be a shoulder injury after falling on it awkwardly in the second half after the U.S. team used all of its substitutions. He was able to continue but clearly wasn’t 100%. James Sands also finished out the game after having to spend some time getting treatment.

 PLAYER RATINGS

THE STARTING LINEUP

 Matt Turner: The New Jersey native made all the saves that were asked of him and was confident whenever called upon. Rating: 6.0

Shaq Moore: The Tenerife-based fullback took his goal very well with a nice run to back post. For the rest of the game he defended well but struggled to make an impact offensively. Rating: 6.0

James Sands: The New York City mainstay played two roles. Defensively he was a centerback but when the U.S. team had the ball, he shifted to a No. 6 in a narrow diamond. He was relatively solid although didn’t do much in his midfield role. Rating: 6.5

Miles Robinson: This was an important game for Robinson where he showed a lot of defensive quality in helping the U.S. team see out the win. His made a lot of important clearances, won several important duels, and his passing out of the back was solid. He was the MOTM and Robinson should have a lot of confidence moving forward. Rating: 8.0

Walker Zimmerman: The Georgia native left the game early due to injury and his loss was a big setback for the team. Rating: N/A

Sam Vines: Along with Robinson, Vines was one of the few U.S. players to have a solid performance against Canada. His defense was important at several key moments and he shut down Canada on his side of the field. Rating: 8.0

Kellyn Acosta: Aside from his important pass to Lletget on the goal, it was a poor outing from Acosta who was outplayed by the Canadian midfield and was not able to help the team much in possession. It is never good when a central midfield manages just 22 touches in 74 minutes. Canada clearly wanted to shut him out and Acosta had no response. Rating: 4.5

Gianluca Busio: The Sporting Kansas midfielder is a newcomer to the deeper No. 6 and No. 8 positions as opposed to the No. 10 position he grew up playing. He failed to win many duels to win the ball back for the U.S. team. Once in possession, he didn’t make much of an impact and was mostly invisible. Rating: 4.0

Sebastian LLetget: The U.S. team’s best performer in the midfield. He not only assisted, but was the only one capable of getting the ball into dangerous spots and holding the ball. Rating: 7.0

Daryl Dike: Along with Zardes, Dike was effectively controlled by Canada. He was fairly dangerous in the first 25 minutes but after that was quiet. It was admirable how he was able to play hurt the final 10 minutes plus stoppage time. Rating: 4.5

Gyasi Zardes: The Columbus forward had his moments early and worked hard to run down some long balls. At times, he stretched the defense and could send in some crosses. But overall it wasn’t nearly enough and Canada contained both him and Dike. Rating: 4.5

 THE SUBSTITUTES

 Donovan Pines: Some decent moments but also some moments when he looked extremely nervy in the back and new to the moment. Rating: 5.0

Reggie Cannon: The Boavista fullback defended well off the bench for the U.S. team but mishit a good chance on a goal. Rating: 6.0

Cristian Roldan: Mostly invisible in his 16 minutes off the bench and didn’t do much or enough. Rating: 4.5

Jackson Yueill: Managed to get on the ball a little bit to help see the game out. Rating: 5.5

Matthew Hoppe: Very lively off the bench. Dribbled into trouble a few times but overall brough some energy and helped advance the ball. Rating: 6.0

Who will, and who should the USMNT start vs. Jamaica?

By Ives Galarcep | July 23, 2021 1:50 pm ET  https://platform.twitter.com/widgets/follow_button.06c6ee58c3810956b7509218508c7b56.en.html#dnt=false&id=twitter-widget-1&lang=en&screen_name=soccerbyives&show_count=false&show_screen_name=true&size=m&time=1627063338462

The Concacaf Gold Cup group stage was a learning experience for Gregg Berhalter’s young U.S. men’s national team squad, and the team’ 3-0 record would suggest the group passed some tests along the way.With the knockout rounds up next, the USMNT will need to shift away from the learning portion of the tournament to the testing phase, and it will be pass-fail the rest of the way. For that reason, it is a good bet that Berhalter starts to shift toward his more experienced players.Of course, there will be some new blood in the mix to start based on some impressive group stage showings. James Sands is at the top of the list, having made himself an indispensable starter after his group stage showings. Shaq Moore has also been one of the revelations of the Gold Cup, and Berhalter will have a tough decision to make between starting Moore and starting Reggie Cannon, who has recovered from the injury that kept him out of the USMNT’s first two Gold Cup matches.Daryl Dike and Gianluca Busio had some impressive moments as well, but both struggled in the win against Canada, making it less certain that they will be in the starting lineup on Sunday against Jamaica. There is also some concern about whether Dike will be forced to withdraw after suffering a shoulder injury against Canada.You also have some veterans who haven’t necessarily lit it up at the Gold Cup. Cristian Roldan had a good second half against Martinique, but had forgettable cameo against Canada, putting his chances of starting against Jamaica into question. Kellyn Acosta hasn’t quite maintained the high level he set at Nations League, but should still have a key role to play against Jamaica.With all that in mind, here is the starting lineup we could see the USMNT deploying against Jamaica on Sunday, as well as the lineup we would deploy if we were making the final lineup decisions:


Projected USMNT Starting Lineup vs. Jamaica

Zardes

Hoppe/Gioacchini

Lietget/Roldan

Acosta

Sam Vines/Miles Robinson/James Sands/Reggie Cannon

https://sbisoccer.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/89/2021/07/USMNT-Projected-XI-vs.-Jamaica.png?w=300

SBI’s Preferred USMNT Starting Lineup vs. Jamaica

https://sbisoccer.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/89/2021/07/SBI-Preferred-USMNT-XI-vs.-Jamaica.png?w=300

GOALKEEPER


Who will start: Matt Turner

Who should start: Matt Turner

Not a big mystery at goalkeeper, where Turner has been solid in goal.


DEFENDERS


Who will start: Reggie Cannon, James Sands, Miles Robinson, Sam Vines

Who should start: Shaq Moore, James Sands, Miles Robinson, Sam Vines

Sands and Robinson are locks to start in any scenario. It is at fullback where things get interesting.Moore has had a solid Gold Cup, but if Berhalter is forced to go with a 4-3-3 it can be argued that Reggie Cannon is a better fit and better defender than Moore as a right fullback, whereas Moore was more adept at handling a right wingback deployment. Walker Zimmerman’s injury will likely force Berhalter to shelve the 5-3-2.At left back, Sam Vines has been solid and has the experience edge on George Bello, who didn’t impress in his start against Martinique.


MIDFIELDERS


Who will start: Sebastian Lletget, Cristian Roldan, Kellyn Acosta

Who should start: Eryk Williamson, Kellyn Acosta, Gianluca Busio

Two players who are safe bets to start are Sebastian Lletget and Kellyn Acosta. The question is where will they be deployed?

Lletget has operated strictly as a midfielder at the Gold Cup, but he has played on the forward line in the past and is no stranger to being deployed on the wing. It is something Berhalter should consider as he deals with the absence of wide threats.The safe bet for Berhalter is the Lletget-Roldan-Acosta midfield, with Acosta in a defensive midfield role. Berhalter knows this trio, and has used them in important matches before.That being said, Roldan’s Gold Cup hasn’t been a memorable one, and as much as Busio struggled against Canada, he could find more success playing against a Jamaica side that doesn’t boast as strong a collection of central midfielders as the Canadians.One player who has shown well in his Gold Cup appearances is Eryk Williamson, and he could help bring some defensive bite. Partnering Williamson with Acosta in front of Busio would give the midfield an edge that could serve the USMNT well against Jamaica.


FORWARDS


Who will start: Matthew Hoppe, Gyasi Zardes, Nicholas Gioacchini

Who should start: Matthew Hoppe, Gyasi Zardes, Sebastian Lletget

Dike’s health status complicates things a bit because if he is healthy he will absolutely be in the mix to start.Having said that, look for Zardes to step into his more familiar target striker role ahead of Dike in a 4-3-3. Zardes’ superior hold-up play gives him the edge, and he also has experience playing against Jamaica.Hoppe has impressed every time he has been on the field, and why he isn’t the prototypical wide player, Hoppe has shown a liveliness and skill on the ball to be an effective wide forward option. The only doubt about him being a starter is whether there is a concern about his fitness and if he can give Berhalter 70+ minutes as a starter. Berhalter could decide that Hoppe is a better weapon off the bench, and start Lletget on the left wing.Then you have the right forward spot, which could go to Nicholas Gioacchini, or Paul Arriola if he is recovered from the injury that has sidelined him since the opening win against Haiti. Gioacchini has been a lively threat in the opportunities he has been given, and could be a problem for Jamaica’s suspect defense.If trying to maintain possession and dominate the ball is what Berhalter will ultimately be hoping for, then deploying Lletget as a wide forward would serve the dual purposes of giving the USMNT a player who can provide effective service from the wing, and also help free up a midfield spot for someone like Eryk Williamson to provide some added bite and creativity to midfield.


What do you think of our projected lineups? Which would you start? Who are you most excited to see play?

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