Soccer

USA vs. Jamaica, 2021 friendly: What to watch for


The U.S. Men’s National Team is back on the road as they take on Jamaica tomorrow in Wiener Neustadt, Austria. The March window is a chance to once again see many of the European-based players get some playing time under Gregg Berhalter as the USMNT prepares for a busy summer that includes the Nations League Finals, the Gold Cup, and eventually leads to World Cup qualifying in the fall.

They go up against a familiar opponent in Jamaica, a team that has caused them fits in recent years and one that the USMNT will see in World Cup qualifying this fall. This will be a test for the American players who want to show they can be counted on when the matches start counting when the road to Qatar officially begins.

Latest Form

USA

W (7-0) – Trinidad and Tobago – Friendly

W (6-0) – El Salvador – Friendly

W (6-2) – Panama – Friendly

D (0-0) – Wales – Friendly

W (1-0) – Costa Rica – Friendly

Jamaica

W (2-1) – Saudi Arabia – Friendly

L (0-3) – Saudi Arabia – Friendly

W (2-0) – Bermuda – Friendly

D (1-1) – Guyana – Concacaf Nations League (2019)

W (2-0) – Antigua and Barbuda – Concacaf Nations League (2019)

What To Watch For

Prepare to play physical. Jamaica is a team that is athletic and can play very physical, and they can provide a nice sample of what qualifying will be like. The USMNT is going to have to figure out how to match the physicality and the intensity, and Jamaica will provide plenty of both.

Finish chances. The USMNT will get their chances. How could they not with a lineup that could feature several attacking options. Still, they will need to maximize those chances and then finish them. That has been the issue when the U.S. lines up against Jamaica, and they need to show the Jamaicans that they’ve learned from past matches.

Find the right combinations. There are a few starting jobs that would be considered up for grabs or at least ones where the positions have a lot of options. Guys will have opportunities to show they can be reliable when called upon by Berhalter.

Lineup Prediction

In looking at the players on this roster, this is a chance for Berhalter to field one of his strongest lineups. Of course, some notable stars are absent, but in the end, it’s likely that Berhalter goes with what he thinks is his best lineup from the guys in camp:

Projected Starting XI vs. Jamaica

Zack Steffen lines up in goal, while Antonee Robinson and Sergiño Dest operate at the fullback positions. Both will be called upon to move forward in attack but also to make sure they track back on defense to prevent any fast counters. John Brooks and Aaron Long are two players that Berhalter trusts the most at centerback, with Long getting the armband.

Owen Otasowie gets the start at defensive midfield, while newly-committed Yunus Musah gets to operate as one of the center midfielders. And, while Brendan Aaronson is going to get consideration to start, Sebastian Lletget is one that Gregg Berhalter always seems to list in his starting XI. He gets the start at the other center mid position.

Up front, Gio Reyna occupies the right wing, while Christian Pulisic will hold down the left wing. Finally, Josh Sargent feels like the main #9 for Gregg Berhalter, and has been playing with confidence lately. He gets the start over Daryl Dike, but I expect Dike to get some time as a substitute.

Prediction

This is going to be a back-and-forth affair for much of the match, with both teams not showing too much early. In the end, the USMNT score late and it ends as a 2-0 victory that looks somewhat shaky for much of the time.



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