USMNT vs El Salvador Preview, Team News, Starting XI Prediction

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Tomorrow marks the second to last stretch of the Octagonal for the USMNT. The United States kicks off the next phase of their qualifying campaign against an El Salvadorian side that is the second bottom team in the standings.

Because of COVID postponements, this international break features three of the Stars and Stripes final six qualification fixtures as they attempt to qualify for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The World Cup finals are being held in November/December this time around. The climate in the middle eastern country dictates a change from its usual June/July scheduling.

USMNT vs El Salvador FYIs:

When is it? Kick-off time: 7 PM EST, 27th January 2022

Where is it? Lower.com Field, Columbus, Ohio, USA

Who’s in form? (All Competitions) USMNT (LWWDD) El Salvador (LDLDL)

What are the odds? USMNT (-625), El Salvador (+1600), Draw (+460) Total goals over/under 2.5

Watching at home? ESPN2 and TUDN | Live stream: fuboTV

WILL BOTH SIDES QUALIFY FROM THE OCTAGONAL?

The USMNT begins 2022 in second place in the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying final stage. Canada, whom they play this weekend at the freezing Tim Horton’s Field, are one point ahead in the top spot. Mexico and Panama are breathing down their neck in third and fourth place respectively, trailing the USA by a solitary point. 

Victories will be of the utmost importance in this international window for the USMNT to avoid the dreaded fourth spot.

A fourth-place finish would see them competing in an intercontinental playoff for a spot at the biggest tournament in world sports.

El Salvador enters this qualifying break with their qualification hopes on life support.

Sitting eight points behind the aforementioned intercontinental playoff spot, they will need a perfect run to have any hope of qualifying for the World Cup. The El Salvadorian side’s only win came way back in the October international window when they defeated a strong Panama side 1-0.

Since then it has been slim pickings. Last time out in the Octagonal, they secured a late draw with Jamaica before the Panamanians got their revenge. Panama avenged their loss from earlier in the campaign, handing La Azul y Blanco a 1-0 defeat.

The USMNT will look to inflict further damage on any hopes El Salvador might have of qualification.

USMNT JANUARY 2022 WCQ ROSTER NEWS

Coach Gregg Berhalter named a strong roster for this international window. There is a return for Barcelona right-back Sergio Dest who made his return for his club side a week ago in the Copa del Rey. Elsewhere Weston McKennie comes into the camp, having hit the back of the net for Juventus in his last two matches.

McKennie will probably have an enormous influence against El Salvador given the incredible form he finds himself in. NE Revs goalkeeper Matt Turner will hope to put his best foot forward as he looks to secure a move to Europe during this transfer window.

On the other side of the coin, Gio Reyna remains out of contention.

The Dortmund sensation remains sidelined with a hamstring injury that will leave him unable to influence matters on the pitch for his national side. Another who has missed out is USA veteran John Brooks.

The American has admittedly struggled when representing his country recently. Maybe the Wolfsburg center-back time has passed him by now, as Miles Robinson and Walker Zimmerman seem firmly entrenched as the first choice center-back pairing for the foreseeable future of the USMNT.

Gianluca Busio was originally included in the squad. Unfortunately, the Venezia FC midfielder tested positive to COVID-19 and will not take any part in this round of fixtures.

STARTING XI PREDICTION

Now I will gaze into my crystal ball to see who will line up at Lower.com Field in Columbus for the USA.

The goalkeeping position has been a close-run thing between Matt Turner and Zack Steffen. I expect to see Arsenal transfer target Turner receiving the nod this time around. Steffen, the backup goalie at Manchester City, is suffering from some back soreness.

He is unlikely to regain fitness in time to challenge for a starting berth.

In defense, I think it is likely we will see the return of Sergio Dest from kick-off. The Barcelona right-back is match-fit again and easily the best option for the team at right-back.

Fulham player Antonee Robinson will line up on the opposite side of defense at left-back. Holding down the fort between these two as the starting center backs will be Walker Zimmerman and Miles Robinson. They are the first choice duo for the USMNT.

As long as they stay fit, will start as a duo more often than not. 

In midfield, Weston McKennie and Yunus Musah will look to stretch the opposition midfield. McKennie seems in dangerous form for the opposition.

If his club form is anything to go by, he might just run amok here. Tyler Adams will play at the base of the midfield three, shielding the defense.

New Augsburg FC singing Ricardo Pepi will lead the line against El Salvador. He will hope to impress his new club from afar in these fixtures. Timothy Weah will take his place on the right-wing.

Captain America himself, Christian Pulisic, will take his usual spot on the left-wing in what is a fearsome-looking attack.

MATCH PREDICTION

I think the USA will account for El Salvador pretty easily in Columbus’ freezing conditions.

They might have pushed the USMNT at home, but they are a far weaker side when they are on the road. 3-0 to Team USA.

Comments

  1. GO U.S.A.!!!!!!!!!!

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