The USMNT starts Gold Cup group D play against Guyana on Tuesday in Saint Paul (10pm ET - FS1). For the USMNT, the match-up against the nation ranked 177th by FIFA and 22nd by Concacaf is an opportunity to put the warm-up friendlies behind them. The USMNT had difficulties generating offense against Jamaica and Venezuela. That shouldn't be an issue against Guyana, getting confidence in the system coach Gregg Berhalter is installing. With that in mind, here's what to look for later tonight.
On and off of the ball
Part of the issue with a new tactical direction is making sure assignments happen without giving up too much. Figuring out a new setup in real time on the field can create opportunities for the opposition. If Guyana chooses to sit back and try to absorb the USMNT attack, that would mean limiting opportunities on the counter. With the backline expected to do more, exposing the goalkeeper is an issue. So is making sure the flow from the defensive to the attacking half isn't isolating players and limiting opportunities.
Shape of the midfield
The USMNT gets Christian Pulisic back but not Tyler Adams. How Berhalter designs his midfield is a big question going into the Gold Cup. Will he rely on wing play? Will he use a talent like Pulisic more centrally? Is a weaker opponent an opportunity to use an attacking midfield without so much pressure on the defensive-mid? Is there one look to what Berhalter wants from this version of the USMNT or several?
Going into the tournament, the expectation is that we'll see Berhalter using a target forward either alone or with a withdrawn partner. The issue coming out of the friendlies is who. Berhalter gave 90 minutes to Djordje Mihailovic and Josh Sargent against Jamaica and then didn't pick Sargent for the Gold Cup squad. Against Venezuela, it was Paul Arriola and Gyazi Zardes with Jozy Altidore replacing Zardes at halftime. How this looks against Guyana might not tell us that much about what it will look like against Trinidad & Tobago and Panama, but it should make the setup and the expectations clear.
USSoccer.com's Jonah Fontela interviews Houston Dynamo defender DaMarcus Beasley about defending their US Open Cup title. Pro Soccer Talk's Chris Fuhrmeister with Atlanta United's Jeff Larentowicz describing last week's closed door Open Cup game. ESPN's Bruce Schoenfeld talks to Freddy Adu.
AP's John Leicester and Samuel Petrequin report on the arrest of former UEFA president and FIFA vice-president Michel Platini as part of an investigation into the voting for the 2022 World Cup host. DW's Jonathan Harding explains proposed changes to how youth soccer operates in Germany.
All links are provided as a courtesy. US Soccer Players nor its authors are responsible for the content of third-party links or sites. For comments, questions, and concerns please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo by John Dorton - ISIPhotos.com