Two CONCACAF rivals face each other at 17:00 on Thursday at the Stadion Wiener Neustadt in Austria, as USA clash with Jamaica in the final international break before this summer’s Gold Cup.
It will be the 28th meeting the two nations; USA have won 16 of the previous 27, with Jamaica only picking up three victories. Both teams will be gunning for a win this time round, to stand themselves in good stead leading into the Gold Cup in July.
Both sides have absentees, with Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie and Timothy Weah missing for the USMNT, while Leon Bailey and Ravel Morrison are out for the Reggae Boyz. Jamaica also have a very inexperienced squad, with quite a few new faces among the roster after several players switched their allegiances from England.
So, let’s take a look at the possible XIs and who might come out on top in this one.
Zack Steffen (GK) – Manchester City’s number two is firmly Gregg Berhalter’s number one on international duty.
Reggie Cannon (RB) – The 22-year old plays in Portugal for Boavista and already has 13 caps for his country. And with a fantastic name like that, why wouldn’t he start?
John Brooks (CB) – An experienced head at the back, Brooks has been a Bundesliga regular for the best part of a decade.
Matt Miazga (CB) – The centre back is on loan at Anderlecht this campaign. Having made 20 appearances for the USMNT, he should start at the back.
Sergino Dest (LB) – He features predominantly on the left for his nation and, with his recent form Barcelona, needs to start on Thursday.
Kellyn Acosta (DM) – A regular in the USA side since his debut in 2016, Acosta should help break up play and drive his side forward.
Yunus Musah (CM) – The talented 18-year old will provide the creative and attacking impetus, as he has done in his two previous caps.
Sebastian Lletget (CM) – An established MLS presence, the LA Galaxy man will be the voice of reason and experience alongside young Musah.
Gio Reyna (RW) – Has shown real quality throughout his time with Borussia Dortmund and can influence any game he plays in. Don’t be surprised to see him come inside and swap places with Musah for the duration.
Josh Sargent (ST) – Another Bundesliga property, Sargent has scored five times in 12 USA games. A real threat in front of such creativity.
Christian Pulisic (LW) – Definitely the main attraction in this team. Hasn’t had it all his own way at Chelsea this campaign but he’s USA’s poster boy, having already bagged 14 international goals.
Jeadine White (GK) – At only 20, he is one of the senior players in this Jamaica squad and could get the nod over veteran Shaven Paul.
Adrian Mariappa (RB) – If there was a ‘Dad’ of the group, it would be him. The 34-year old is in line for his 50th cap on Thursday.
Ethan Pinnock (CB) – Brentford’s captain has been called up for the first time and will likely make his debut after a couple of brilliant seasons for the Bees.
Michael Hector (CB) – Can provide some vital experience in this side, having racked up 32 caps so far in his career.
Amari’i Bell (LB) – The Blackburn man can input some real energy and pace down the left, on what will be another international debut for the Reggae Boyz.
Kevaughn Isaacs (DM) – Will be crucial for his side in screening the back line and pushing them forward with his energetic style.
Kasey Palmer (CM) – Another uncapped player, the Bristol City midfielder will likely be preferred to Darlington’s Omar Holness to provide a bit of flair and creativity to proceedings.
Chavany Willis (CM) – An aggressive presence in the centre and should be able to roam quite freely. Although against the dynamism of USA, could be caught out.
Jamal Lowe (RW) – Usually plays centrally for Swansea, but has played on the right for Portsmouth so knows how to impact games from wide areas. Will be hoping to carry on good domestic form on his debut.
Andre Gray (ST) – Yet another likely debutant for the Reggae Boyz. Four goals in 23 Championship games this season but, with Lowe, will represent his side’s biggest goal threat on Thursday.
Ricardo Morris (LW) – Represents 50% of Jamaica’s whole squad’s international goals – with three. With 18 caps, he’s the experienced forward and will look to lead his colleagues.
There is no doubt that Jamaica, especially with a wave of fresh talent coming into the frame, will be a stern test for this USA side. The input of Palmer, Lowe and Gray in advanced areas to replace players who, simply put, are not at the same level should give the Reggae Boyz a new lease of life and creative spark.
However, the USMNT are looking more and more dangerous with its players continuing to perform at the highest levels across Europe. The likes of Pulisic, Reyna and Musah especially should prove too much for Jamaica to handle, while solid protective players will hope to shut the door to their opposition.
Overall, with such a new-look lineup, the task will likely be too tough for Jamaica and the USMNT should see out the win.
Prediction: USA 3-1 Jamaica