USA and Uruguay will face off against each other for the first time in over seventeen years, in an international friendly in St. Louis, Missouri.
After their disappointing defeat to Mexico last week, the US Men’s National Team will be hoping to bounce back strongly when they take on South American giants Uruguay at the Busch Stadium on Tuesday night.
Following their defeat in the CONCACAF Gold Cup finals against Mexico in June, USA succumbed to another loss to El Tri, in a friendly encounter this time out, losing 3-0 at the MetLife Stadium. Manager Gregg Berhalter and his men will be aiming to get back to winning ways, but will find it difficult going up against Uruguay.
Despite Berhalter’s claims that his side are making progress with each passing game, the manner of defeat against Mexico has brought a lot of scrutiny on the manager. And he will be under pressure to deliver a positive result against the fifth-ranked team in the world.
Uruguay recovered from their Copa America quarter-final penalty shootout defeat to Peru with a 2-1 triumph against Costa Rica. Manager Oscar Tabarez is without a number of his star players, but they managed to eke out a win against the Central American nation and will want to carry the momentum from that clash against the USMNT in St. Louis.
The absence of some of the seniors from the squad provides manager Tabarez with a good chance to take a look at some new faces who could grow into regulars before the Copa America next summer.
This will just be the sixth time USA and Uruguay will be taking on each other. And ahead of the latest encounter, we at The Hard Tackle take a closer look at both sides.
Team News & Tactics
The USMNT will be without several players who featured against Mexico with star player Christian Pulisic, Alfredo Morales, Weston McKennie and Zack Steffen all leaving the squad to return to their respective clubs, along with John Brooks and Sean Johnson. Berhalter has opted not to call up any replacements and should have enough options to set out a competitive starting XI against Uruguay.
With both Steffen and Johnson absent, veteran goalkeeper Brad Guzan is in line to start between the sticks for USA. Sergino Dest had a mixed outing at left-back in the last game and could make way for Tim Ream, whereas Nick Lima could return in place of Reggie Cannon on the opposite side. The 24-year-old will be asked to essay a hybrid right-back/defensive midfielder role by the manager.
At the heart of the defence, both Aaron Long and Walker Zimmerman had a disappointing game last time out. But, the former is likely to be retained against Uruguay, with Miles Robinson, who came on as a sub last time out, in line to make his full debut for the USMNT in place of Zimmerman.
The midfield is set for a reshuffle on Tuesday night. Wil Trapp should start at the base of the three-man midfield for the home team. Sebastian Lletget came on as a substitute in the last game, but showed enough to earn a starting berth against La Celeste, while the third midfield slot is likely to be taken up by Cristian Roldan, who will be tasked with providing the forward thrust.
Jordan Morris was a lively presence after coming on as a sub in the last game and should pose a threat to the Uruguayan defence with his pace. The 24-year-old should get the nod on the right wing, whereas Besiktas winger Tyler Boyd should feature on the opposite flank. Josh Sargent is expected replace Gyasi Zardes as the striker for the USMNT.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Guzan; Lima, Robinson, Long, Ream; Roldan, Trapp, Lletget; Morris, Sargent, Boyd
As mentioned previously, Uruguay are without a number of their star players, with top two goalscorers Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani both missing due to injuries along with captain Diego Godin. Uncapped pair Matias Vina and Darwin Nunez had been called up by Oscar Tabarez for the friendlies, with the former making his debut against Costa Rica.
In Godin’s absence, Fernando Muslera has been named the captain and he should once again start between the sticks ahead of Martin Campana. Martin Caceres started at right-back, but could make way for Giovanni Gonzalez while Gaston Silva could come into the side at left-back at the expense of Diego Laxalt. Jose Gimenez and Sebastian Coates should continue at the heart of the defence.
Lucas Torreira has been a constant presence in the middle of the park for Uruguay and should be retained once again on Tuesday as the holding midfielder. The other two midfield slots could see a change as Real Madrid’s Federico Valverde and Nahitan Nandez could come into the side in place of Rodrigo Bentancur and Matias Vecino.
Giorgian de Arrascaeta, who scored from the penalty spot against Costa Rica, should hold on to his spot, but could be shifted out to the right flank having started on the left side last week. Brian Rodriguez, who made his debut for Uruguay against Costa Rica, could make way for Brian Lozano who has featured three times for the national team, but is yet to start a single game.
Valencia striker Maxi Gomez started as the centre-forward for Tabarez’s side in the last game. But, he is likely to make way for 26-year-old Jonathan Rodriguez, who scored the late winner against Costa Rica after coming on from the bench. 20-year-old Nunez could be handed his debut from the bench.
Probable Lineup (4-1-4-1): Muslera; Gonzalez, Coates, Gimenez, Silva; Torreira; di Arrascaeta, Nandez, Valverde, Lozano; Rodriguez
- USA and Uruguay have clashed against each other on six occasions in the past. Both the teams have picked up two victories apiece, with the remaining two fixtures ending in draws.
- The last time these two nations clashed was way back in May 2002 in a friendly leading up to the 2002 FIFA World Cup. The USMNT came out on top, beating La Celeste 2-1.
- Uruguay’s penalty shootout defeat to Peru in the Copa America quarter-final is their only loss this calendar year. They have won six of their eight matches in 2019, while drawing one.
- Since taking up the USMNT managerial job towards the end of the last year, Gregg Berhalter has overseen 14 matches, winning eight of those, while losing five (D1).
- Fernando Muslera will become the joint third-most capped player for Uruguay should he feature against USA. The goalkeeper is currently on 113 appearances and will join Edinson Cavani on 114 caps if he plays in St. Louis.
Player to Watch
The 19-year-old striker made a blistering start to his international career, scoring a goal on his debut against Bolivia in May last year. Sargent has made 8 appearances so far for the USMNT scoring two goals.
The teenager was not part of the squad that made it to the finals of the Gold Cup this past summer, but has made his way back into the side after a decent start to the 2019-20 season with Werder Bremen, for whom he has scored one goal in two Bundesliga matches.
Having come on as a substitute against Mexico last week, Sargent missed a penalty for USA and will be looking to redeem himself when he takes the field at the Busch Stadium in his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri.
USA 1-2 Uruguay
USA are under pressure to bounce back after back to back defeats against Mexico. However, facing Uruguay will be a difficult proposition for Gregg Berhalter’s side, even if La Celeste are without their three best players in Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani and Diego Godin.
Chances are likely to be few and far in between for either teams on Tuesday night, but Uruguay should manage to edge past the USMNT to clinch a narrow victory and heap further pressure on Berhalter. We at The Hard Tackle are predicting another 2-1 win for Oscar Tabarez’s men.