The USMNT need a big rebound win against Honduras in Saint Paul on Wednesday, as Gregg Berhalter’s side are hurting from their defeat at Canada.
[ MORE: What went wrong for USMNT at Canada? ]
All is not lost, but reaching the World Cup has just got a lot tougher heading into the final four games of CONCACAF qualifying.
Canada sits top of the table on 22 points, the USMNT in second on 18 and only ahead of third-place Mexico on goal difference by one goal. Panama sits in fourth place, the playoff spot, on 17 points and Costa Rica sits fifth on 13 points.
The U.S. face Panama, Costa Rica and Mexico (both away) in their final three games of qualifying in March. Like we said, things are a lot tighter than the USMNT wanted with four games to go…
However, the U.S. have a huge opportunity next up against Honduras — who sit bottom of the table and have yet to win any of their 10 qualifiers and were the first team to be officially eliminated from World Cup contention in the Octagonal — and anything other than a resounding win will pile more pressure on Berhalter.
Below we take a look at our projected lineup for the game against Honduras, plus the lineup we would go for.
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USMNT projected lineup vs Honduras (4-3-3)
—– Turner —–
— Dest — M. Robinson — Zimmerman — A. Robinson —
—- Musah —- Acosta —- McKennie —
—- Weah —- Pepi —- Pulisic —-
JPW’s lineup vs Honduras (4-1-4-1)
—– Turner —–
— Cannon — M. Robinson — Zimmerman — A. Robinson —
—- McKennie —-
—- Weah —- Musah —- Pulisic —- Arriola —-
—– Pepi —–
We know that Gregg Berhalter likes to stick with a 4-3-3, but I want him to go with something more adventurous against Honduras. Come out on the front foot. Maybe play two up top. At least try and get a few more attackers on the field to force the issue.
In goal, Matt Turner will start because it isn’t worth risking Zack Steffen who has been in England dealing with a back injury. Sergino Dest could be given a break and if that is the case, Reggie Cannon would do a good job at right back. At center back, Miles Robinson and Walker Zimmerman should get the chance to develop their partnership after the latter had a knock for the Canada game and then Chris Richards came in and got hurt. Antonee Robinson continues at left back because there aren’t any other options in this squad.
In midfield, I’d got with Weston McKennie as the lone deeper CM with Tyler Adams out injured. Berhalter is likely to go with three in the middle and don’t be surprised to see Kellyn Acosta come in for Adams as the only chance. Don’t be surprised to see Pepi start up top with Pulisic and Weah on either side of him, but I’d like to do something a little different. I’d like Pulisic to start centrally in a free role underneath Pepi. Get him on the ball as much as possible.
Arriola and Weah on the wings will cause problems and get three of your best players (Musah, Pulisic and McKennie) playing together in tight spaces as often as possible to create openings. Honduras will sit back deep and the USMNT has to be less predictable in attack to open them up. The 4-1-4-1 achieves that and would create overloads in central areas in the final third.