Welp, we’ve been here before. Backs against the wall. A must-win game – or, for any legal-eagle nerds out there looking for an excuse to correct me – it’s at least as close to a must-win as a game could be without technically being a must-win.
A loss tonight and the USMNT will officially be eliminated from Copa America. We hosting the god damned tournament, and no team is supposed to get eliminated in the group stage when they are playing at home.
Would Klinsmann get fired if tonight we take a second straight L? Doesn’t matter shut yer mouth cause WE AIN’T LOSING. Whoops, looks like I let the cat out of the bag on my prediction. Whatever, let’s move right along to the preview.
Kickoff tonight is at 7pm CT [damit, FOX tricked me with their promos saying 6pm CT as start of “coverage”… be better Sam] so I’ve only got a couple hours to take my happy ass down to the stadium and get sufficiently lubricated beforehand, so this is gonna be a quickie. In fact, let’s do it Q&A style.
[Oh, and before I forget, HERE is the link to the FULL Copa America preview, in case you are into that kind of thing.]
Costa Rica [+400]
Costa Rica is ranked higher than USA by FIFA (23rd vs 31st), so shouldn’t they win?
Wait, are you serious? No. Next question.
Who on Costa Rica do we need to watch out for?
TRICK QUESTION, I already answered that in the full tourney preview. (Though for those too lazy to check, the answer is Arsenal’s Joel Campbell, who is Costa Rica’s most accomplished and dangerous player, and will be a pest but has rarely shown the kind of skills that could change the game.)
Will Jurgen Klinsmann stick with a 4-3-3?
Finally, a good question. I think that he SHOULD stick with the formation we used against Ecuador and to pound the bejesus out of Bolivia. It gives us more offensive punch going forward and switching back to the 4-4-2 simply because the 4-3-3 didn’t work against a top-10 team like Colombia is precisely the type of overthinking-it maneuver that has led us to constantly question Klinsmann’s tactical skills. STICK AND PICK, BROTHA! Having said all that, I have a sneaking suspicion he’s going to go with a 4-4-2. Hip, hip, hooray!
GK: Guzan is a given.
DEF: Same as last game. Leaving aside the fact Fabian Johnson is better in the midfield since (1) JK has shown no interest in moving him and (2) we don’t have a viable replacement since the coach apparently hates guys like Jorge Villfana for some reason, the group looked solid last game – apart, that is, from Cameron’s bone-headed non-play on the corner kick goal.
MF: Bradley with Bedoya and Nagbe in midfield. That means the pressure will be on Bedoya to play defence, but I think he’s capable of it. Jones for Bedoya is a possibility, though JJ looked baddddddd against Colombia. I’m not a fan of Beckerman but there’s obvious a good chance he could slide into that DM role since JK loves him.
F: Zardes, Dempsey and Wood. They looked disjointed against Colombia, Wood in particular, but I suspect that was a reflection of that opponents defense (better than what CR can offer up) compounded by a lack of time on the field together. Another few days of practicing and I think they deserve another shot.
SUB: Pulisic first off the bench. Because obviously.
Prediction: USA to win 3-1.
Not that I’m biased or anything.
There you have it. At this time tomorrow we might be on top of the group and the world will look a whole lot different. Or we’ll still be at the bottom and I’ll be running around a padded room in a straight-jacket and helmet. Whatever.
Either way, Euro 2016 starts Friday. Yassssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss.
Sam U. L. Army