The cycle for 2018 begins tomorrow for the United States national team when they face the Czechs in Prague. This will be the first game for the US without Tim Howard, who begins his sabbatical away from the international game. Brad Guzan will now be the US’ number one between the posts, a position he has earned over the years.
As is the case with the European friendlies, the roster is made up of mostly European based players, and there were a few shocks in the roster.
Brad Guzan, Cody Cropper, Nick Rimando
Fabian Johnson, John Brooks, Tim Ream, Greg Garza, Timmy Chandler, Michael Orozco
Alejandro Bedoya, Mix Diskerud, Julian Green, Emerson Hyndman, Brek Shea, Alfredo Morales, Joe Corona
Jozy Altidore, Jordan Morris, Rubio Rubin, Joe Gyau, Bobby Wood
With this youthful squad, the US have 15 players under the age of 24, which is just astonishing. Geoff Cameron was on the roster, but suffered an injury in Stoke’s League Cup game earlier last week. Brek Shea earns another call up after struggling to gain playing time at Stoke, but has proven to be a valuable sub to have on the bench. Emerson Hyndman earns his first call up to the senior team after his commanding midfield play for Fulham in this young season, drawing comparisons to Michael Bradley. World Cup veterans Julian Green, Alejandro Bedoya, and Mix Diskerud also earn call ups for the match, with Green in the news recently for his loan to Hamburg in Germany.
Jozy Altidore returns from his hamstring injury suffered in the World Cup against Ghana, but is joined by a host of young US forwards. Jordan Morris is currently lighting up the PAC-12 with Stanford, yes Stanford, but his college play has earned him a full senior team call up. Joe Gyau made a move to Dortmund earlier in the summer and has scored 2 goals in 5 games with their reserve squad. 18 year old Rubio Rubin is playing well for FC Utrecht in Holland this season, and Bobby Wood is making strides at 1860 Munich, starting in his club’s early season matches.
So, with that being said, I will now take a look at a projected starting XI for tomorrow’s match.
Fabian Johnson, Tim Ream, John Brooks, Greg Garza
Alejandro Bedoya, Mix Diskerud, Brek Shea
Julian Green, Jozy Altidore, Joe Gyau
In this 4-3-3 formation, Julian Green and Joe Gyau would flank Jozy Altidore on the wings, positions that Green and Gyau are accustomed to playing. If Jurgen Klinsmann wants the US to play attacking soccer, then why not come out in a 4-3-3? Have Fabian Johnson bomb down the right side, interchanging with Julian Green and provide service to Altidore making runs into the box. Let Brek Shea take players on down the left and make bursting runs into the box to set up others, why not Jurgen? This XI, and these tactics are very optimistic, but why not try it? The quality would improve and the brand would more attractive.
The USMNT play the Czechs tomorrow at 2 pm ET on NBCSN.