USMNT to host Colombia in pre Copa América friendly

USMNT, Paris 2024
ORLANDO, FL – MARCH 21: A detailed view of the United States Soccer Federation crest logo is seen in the player and team tunnel in game action during an International friendly match between the United States and the Ecuador men’s national teams on March 21, 2019 at Orlando City Stadium in Orlando, FL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)

Gregg Berhalter and the United States Men’s National Team are back in action for the first time since their 2-0 win against Mexico in the Concacaf Nations League final. The squad will be facing off against the CONMEBOL side of Colombia as they prepare for the Copa América that starts in a couple of weeks. The match will be taking place on Saturday, June 8th at 5:30 PM EST in Commanders Field. This will be the first time the USMNT has played on this field since 2012 when they faced off against Brazil. 

Team USA hoists their goalkeeper Matt Turner (1) in extra time in a penalty shootout during a CONCACAF Gold Cup semi-final soccer match against the Canada, Sunday, July 9, 2023, in Cincinnati. The United States advances. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

A Look at Colombia

Colombia is currently the 12th-ranked team in the FIFA Men’s World Ranking list, falling one behind the United States. They are led by manager Néstor Lorenzo, who took over in 2022. Since Lorenze took over, Los Cafeteros are on an insane run, as they haven’t lost in 21 matches played under him. They have only conceded a total of 13 goals in the 21-game unbeaten run, and also have a total of 13 clean sheets in it. Colombia is playing some good soccer right now, and will definitely prove to be a test for Berhalter’s USMNT. 

This Colombian side has some big names playing in top leagues, as players such as Luis Diaz (Liverpool) and James Rodriguez are playing for them. Their entire roster will go as follows:

Goalkeepers – David Ospina (Al Nassr), Camilo Vargas (Atlas), Alvaro Montero (Millonarios)

Defenders – Deiver Machado (Lens), Davinson Sanchez (Galatasaray), Yerry Mina (Cagliari), Daniel Munoz (Crystal Palace), Johan Mojica (C.A. Osasuna), Yerson Mosquera (Villareal), Santiago Arias (Bahia), John Lucumi (Bologna), Carlos Cuesta (Genk)

MidfieldersLuis Sinisterra (A.F.C. Bournemouth), Mateus Uribe (Al-Sadd), Yaser Asprilla (Watford), Juan Fernando Quintero (Racing), Jefferson Lerma (Crystal Palace), Jhon Arias (Fluminese), James Rodriguez (Sao Paulo), Jorge Carrascal (Dynamo Moscow), Richard Rios (Palmeiras), Kevin Castano (Krasnodar)

Attackers – Jhon Duran (Aston Villa), Miguel Borja (River Plate), Rafael Santos Borre (S.C. Internacional), Sebastian Gomez (Coritiba), Jhon Cordoba (Krasnodar), Luis Diaz (Liverpool)

United States forward Gio Reyna celebrates after a win over Mexico durring a CONCACAF Nations League Final soccer match, March 24, 2024 in Arlington Texas (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Matchup History

These two sides have met a total of 21 times prior to this match, and it has not gone in the way of the USMNT. They have a record of 3 wins, 13 losses, and 5 draws against the South American side, with their latest win being in 2005. Their latest matchup was in 2023 when the two sides played to a 0-0 draw. While it is just a friendly, Gregg Berhalter will be hoping he can reverse the negative results against this side, in hopes it will instill some confidence that they can play well against all top competition in the Copa América.

Jonathan Osorio, of Canada, right, grabs Timothy Weah of the United States during the first half of a CONCACAF Nations League final match Sunday, June 18, 2023, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

USMNT’s Key to the Game

1. Find a way to replace Sergino Dest’s productivity

When Sergino Dest went down with a torn ACL at the end of his club season with PSV, the USMNT lost one of their best players for the Copa América. With the way that Dest attacks, defends, and just overall plays, Berhalter has lost one of his guys who would have been a locked-in starter for every match.

In the friendlies against Colombia and Brazil, the USMNT manager needs to find a way to replace the impact that Dest had on this squad. Whether that be switching the formation up to utilize certain players’ strengths to help the attack and defense, or playing a more attacking-minded attack, Berhalter has some work to do. Finding a way to replace the impact of Dest will not be easy at all, but due to the two matches coming up only being friendlies, now is the perfect time to do just that.

ORLANDO, FL – MARCH 27: during the World Cup Qualifier soccer match between the US MNT and Panama on March 27, 2022 at Explorer Stadium in Orlando, FL. (Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire)

USA Lineup Predictions

Gregg Berhalter’s usual formation for the USMNT is a 4-3-3, so I would assume Berhalter would be using this formation once again. With the strength of Colombia, I can see Berhalter using his strongest formation, and the one that he plans on using for the Copa América, so they can get some familiarity with each other. The only starter that is absent from this roster would be Sergino Dest, as he suffered a torn ACL in early May. While this Starting XI is hard to predict, with the injury to Dest and the Brazil match in mind, this is how I see Gregg Berhalter and the United States Men’s National Team lining up for the match against Colombia: 

GK: Matt Turner
RB: Joe Scally, CB: Tim Ream, CB: Chris Richards, LB: Antonee Robinson
CDM: Tyler Adams
RCM: Weston McKennie, LCM: Gio Reyna
RW: Haji Wright, ST: Folarin Balogun, LW: Christian Pulisic

When looking at this formation, both McKennie and Reyna are playing as central midfielders, but I can see Berhalter pushing Reyna up more, while McKennie plays more central. This creates good spacing between the midfielders and will allow Berhalter’s team to utilize all of them in their best positions. 

CINCINNATI, OH – NOVEMBER 12: United States midfielder Weston McKennie (8) talks to forward Christian Pulisic (10) during a CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying game between the United States and Mexico on November 12, 2021 at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati, OH. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)

Score Prediction

The United States Men’s National Team is entering into a fight against one of the toughest teams in the world. Unbeaten in 21 matches with only 13 goals allowed is not something that happens often in this sport, so it shows the dominance that Colombia is playing with right now. While Gregg Berhalter will most likely be throwing his most dominant side out for this friendly, I am having a hard time thinking the USMNT will be able to pull off the upset. For my score prediction, I am going 2-1 to Colombia.

USMNT vs Colombia Betting Odds

United States Moneyline: +175
Colombia Moneyline: +170
Draw: +230

United States Players Celebrate on the podium after a win over Mexico in the Concacaf Nations League final soccer match, March 24, 2024 in Arlington Texas (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

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Featured Imag Credit: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire