Three. No, that’s not how may goals are predicted to be scored in this match. That’s how many returning players the USMNT have on the roster from their 1-0 Copa America Centenario win over this Paraguayan squad back in June of 2016. Bobby wood, Deandre Yedlin, and Darlinton Nagbe. Paraguay’s new manager, Gustavo Morinigo, wasn’t there either, and neither was Dave Sarachan, USMNT’s interim manager. So aside from unfamiliar faces, here are a couple easy predictions to make ahead of Tuesday’s match.
Paraguay will most likely win, even on U.S. soil; they are favored to end Sarachan’s unbeaten run as manager. Also, there will be plenty of young faces during the match, including a 21 year old Paraguayan who is already getting American eyes on him at Atlanta United F.C., Miguel Almirón. He has yet to score for Paraguay during his 11 caps for his nation, which is a staggering difference from his 10 goals and 10 assissts in 35 appearances in the MLS side.
With USMNT failing to qualify for the World Cup, came a glimmer of optimism. U.S. soccer was forced to look into the mirror and figure out what was wrong, and saw that it was a lack of development in youth. Since their departure from the World Cup they have been calling on their youth to play in each friendly, giving the kids a chance to shine, and shine they have with two wins so far for their country. One player to watch for is Weston McKennie.
He is already a regular at Schalke at 19 years old, and he scored during his first cap against Portugal back in November. He is a physical workhorse, with a gift for the technical aspect of the game. He is gaining regular playing time against some of Europe’s top teams in Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, with Europes top coaches labeling him as a wonderkid.
With other young stars joining him such as Timothy Weah, a forward from PSG, Antonee Robinson a full back from Bolton, and Levante full back Shaq Moore, Tuesday’s match could provide a real glimpse into the future of American soccer.
- Feature photo: nbcsports.com
- Weston Mckennie: bundesliga.com