USMNT team News and Predicted Starting Lineup

Can USA Go three peat

Ghana v USMNT
Ghana v USMNT / Erin Chang/ISI Photos/USSF/GettyImages

The United States Men’s National team takes centerstage on Thursday evening at AT&T Stadium in Arlington Texas as they go in search of a third straight Concacaf Nations League championship. The Stars and Stripes will tackle the Reggae Boyz (Jamaica) in the first semifinals at 7:00 pm, before Mexico host Panama at the same venue at 10:00 pm. The USMNT is currently the only team to have lifted the CNL championship, having captured the title in the first two editions of the competition.  

In the last edition AC Milan’s Christian Pulisic scored twice in the first half before Ricardo Pepi put the tie to bed with a late goal off the bench which helped the USA to a 3-0 win over Mexico in the CNL Semifinal, before Chris Richards and Folarin Balogun each scored their first international goals off Gio Reyna assists to give the USA a 2-0 win against Canada in the Final. In the first staging of the competition in 2021 Jordan Siebatcheu’s 89th minute goal was enough to send USA to the finals. In front of a packed stadium Gio Reyna, Weston McKennie and Christian Pulisic, substitute goalkeeper Ethan Horvath made the extra time penalty stop on Andres Guardado to ensure the USA’s 3-2 win over Mexico. 

The back-to-back champions punched their ticket to the final four after a 4-2 aggregate victory against Trinidad and Tobago in the quarterfinals. In a home and away tie Ricardo Pepi, Antonee Robinson and Gio Reyna gave the home team a comfortable 3-0 victory with goals in the 82nd, 86th, and 89th minutes respectively at Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas. In the return game at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain, Trinidad, Robinson once again found the back of the net, but it wasn't enough to avoid the visitors from losing 2-1, but the U.S. advance despite the lost.  

Haji Wright
Coventry City v Preston North End - Sky Bet Championship / Matthew Lewis/GettyImages

USA is no stranger to big tournament semifinals after reaching the semifinals of World Cup in 1930 and the semifinals of all Concacaf's major tournaments. The USNM is super favorites going into the contest but suffered a few unforeseen issues after the 23-man squad was named. Luca de la Torre (right quadriceps strain) and Josh Sargent (right ankle irritation) had to sit out due to injuries sustained during training. However, they were replaced by Union Berlin striker Brenden Aaronson and Coventry City’s Haji Wright who scored a peach of a goal to set up a semifinal at Wembley against Manchester United. Aaronson has earned 38 caps for the USMNT and has scored eight goals with six assists in his international career.

The 23-year-old has seven appearances and one goal in CNL action, having started in the 2-0 win against Canada in the championship final of the 2023 edition. Wright, however, has 7 caps and 2 goals, all of which came in 2022. Irrespective of the adjustments and late addition coach Greg Berhalter said he has a very balanced team. He however believes it will be a tough task to get past the Reggae Boyz despite they too having a few glitches in player selections.  

Jamaica got into the semifinals by overturning a 2-1 first leg defeat against Canada on Nov. 18 at Independence Park in Kingston, Jamaica. Shamar Nicholson scored in the 56th minute for the home team, while Jonathan David netted on the cusp of halftime before Stephen Eustaquio found a late game-winner in the 86th minute. The return leg days later in Toronto on Nov. 21, saw a three-minute brace from Nicholson (63’, 66’) and a 78th minute penalty kick conversion from Bobby Decordova-Reid sink Canada 3-2 and advance on away goals after a 4-4 aggregate. Two of the players who played an integral role in that 3-2 win will not be among the staters on Thursday evening. Shamar Nicholson, the tournament’s leading scorer and Demarai Gray will not be available for semifinal due to suspension. 

Jamaica will also be without defender Ethan Pinnock, who suffered an ankle injury during club duty at Brentford FC. Coupled with that Aston Villa’s star man Leon Bailey was dropped for disciplinary reasons and West Ham’s Michail Antonio who scored a thunderbolt in a 1-1 draw aganst USA in World Cup Qualifiers was withdrawn. This, however, made way for several uncapped players to announce themselves. Irrespective of who is placed on the pitch they will fight for their badge and place in the team, says coach Heimir Hallgrimsson.  

Predicted Starting USA Lineup 4-4-2 

GK – Matt Turner, CB – Tim Ream, CB – Cameron Cater-Vickers, LB – Antonee Robinson, RB Sergino Dest, LM – Brendon Aaronson, CM – Yunus Musah, CM – Weston Mckennie, RM – Giovanni Reyna, ST – Folarin Balogun, ST – Ricardo Pepi