PREVIEW: USA vs Jamaica

With the U-23 side in the midst of their Olympic qualifying campaign, the senior US men’s national team is back in action this afternoon. They’ll take on Jamaica in one of their final friendlies before the games become meaningful with this summer’s Nations League and Gold Cup.

Head coach Gregg Berhalter has called a squad of mostly European-based players, which will look much closer to a full strength squad than the group called up for the January and December camps.

Jamaica

The Reggae Boyz squad is mostly based out of the English Championship, with several call-ups from their domestic league. Like the US, Jamaica can call on several dual nationals, with the likes of Andre Gray, Michael Hector, and Adrian Mariappa choosing to represent Jamaica over their native England. Michael Antonio, who has been rumored to file a one-time switch to Jamaica, is not with the squad, but could be eligible to represent them by the time the Gold Cup roles around.

Ranked 47th in the world by FIFA, Jamaica will be without two players for today’s match after a pair of Covid tests returned positive. According to US Soccer’s press release, the players did not have any high-risk contact with any other players or staff, and the match will go on as scheduled.

United States

It’s a welcome return to the national team for Christian Pulisic, who hasn’t featured for the Yanks for 17 months. He could make his first appearance since October 2019, five years after his USMNT debut. With playing time limited for Chelsea, he’ll be looking to find some form with a positive performance today.

Yunus Musah is in line for his appearance after committing his future to the US. The Valencia midfielder was eligible to represent England, Italy or Ghana. Just 18 years old, the midfielder is a high-potential young player who could become a core part of this US team for the next decade or more. Getting him up and running quickly will be a huge boost to their World Cup qualifying campaign.

Three things

  • Josh Sargent will get the start, and should play the full 90 minutes, head coach Gregg Berhalter confirmed before the match. He hasn’t been able to find the scoresheet consistently for Werder Bremen in Germany, but like plenty of others on this squad, a good performance with the national team could help jump start his club form.
  • Bryan Reynolds just made his Serie A debut for Roma a couple weeks ago, and is in line for his US national team debut. The former FC Dallas right-back made the move to Roma for a transfer fee north of $10 million, and at just 19, he has a long future at the international level.
  • The US have limited chances to fine tune Berhalter’s system before the matches get meaningful. They’ll play Northern Ireland on Sunday and Switzerland in May before playing in the Concacaf Nations League final four in June. Every opportunity for Berhalter to assess his squad is crucial.

Prediction

Jamaica is a tough test in Concacaf, but this US team has the superior talent. They should be able to take care of business today, winning 3-0.

Match Info

Teams: United States vs Jamaica
Date: Thursday, March 25
Time: 12 PM central time
Location: Stadion Wiener Nuestadt, Wiener Nuestadt, Austria
TV: ESPN2, UniMás and TUDN

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