The United States Men’s National Team defeated Ecuador 2-1 on Thursday night to put them through to the semifinals of the Copa America Centenario. The next question was what team would they face there?
The U.S. got their answer Saturday night when Lionel Messi and Argentina steamrolled to a 4-1 win over Venezuela in their quarterfinal matchup. This means that the Americans will meet Argentina in the semifinal on Tuesday night.
The United States-Argentina matchup is a much anticipated semifinal for U.S. fans, and it is exactly what Jurgen Klinsmann had been hoping to get from this tournament. This game will give the U.S. National Team a chance to show what they can do against top competition in a major tournament.
One major problem for the United States is that they have three starting players suspended for the semifinal. Jermaine Jones received a red card in the last match against Ecuador, and Bobby Wood and Alejandro Bedoya will be suspended due to yellow card accumulation.
These three suspensions will test the depth of the United States National Team, and it results in some fascinating lineup decisions, as Klinsmann is now forced to change things up.
Goalkeeper – Brad Guzan
Guzan has been good for the United States this entire tournament, and he will need to continue to perform in order for the U.S. to advance. Argentina will likely get a good number of shots on goal against the Americans, so Guzan will need to be up for the task.
Left Back – Fabian Johnson
This is the first of many interesting decisions that Klinsmann will need to make. Matt Besler filled in well at left back when Yedlin was suspended against Ecuador, but I think Klinsmann will go back to the original back 4 that started in the group stage.
Center Backs – Geoff Cameron and John Brooks
I believe that John Brooks has been the best player for the United States in this tournament so far, and he is a no-brainer to start at this point. Cameron has also been very good even if his performances are somewhat overshadowed by what Brooks is doing.
Right Back – DeAndre Yedlin
Yedlin missed the last match with a suspension, but he should be back in the lineup against Argentina. Yedlin’s speed could help lead to some chances on the counter-attack.
Left Mid – Darlington Nagbe
Jermaine Jones has turned in some fantastic performances in this tournament, but Nagbe is more than an adequate replacement. Nagbe is a star for the Portland Timbers in MLS, and he scored a game winning goal for USA in a friendly against Ecuador in May. He is a great passer, which should help the U.S. keep some possession against Argentina.
Center Mids – Michael Bradley and Kyle Beckerman
It is sad that it appears Michael Bradley might not be as good as he once was, but he is still good enough to make the starting 11. I think Beckerman will sneak into the lineup, as Klinsmann always trusts his veterans, and because Beckerman can help out defensively in a game where the U.S. will be doing a lot of defending.
Right Mid – Graham Zusi
Klinsmann has been giving Zusi a lot of playing time as a sub in this tournament, making me think that he will give Zusi an opportunity to start with Bedoya suspended. Zusi’s biggest contribution might come from taking set pieces, which has been a weakness for the United States so far in the Copa.
Forwards – Clint Dempsey and Gyasi Zardes
The United States faces a difficult task against Argentina in the semifinals of the Copa America Centenario, and their task is made even harder due to the suspensions of Wood, Bedoya, and Jones. However, the United States thrives in the underdog role, and I expect to see a great game Tuesday night.