Normally when we preview these games we have a fairly good idea about who's going to play and why. This game however, the first meeting ever between the men's national teams of the United States and Puerto Rico, is very much a throw away game for the USA.
Half of the Copa America roster that was announced yesterday are still with the MLS or Liga MX clubs as they continue their regular seasons and playoffs respectively. Puerto Rico cobbled together a roster that includes ex-New England Revolution defender Jeremy Hall and a largely domestic based roster and college players from the US.
Basically, every USMNT player that is on the Copa roster should start with some of the younger players from Europe rounding out the lineup and coming of the bench to get valuable experience.
PROJECTED USA LINEUP
Guzan; Orozco, Cameron, Brooks, Yedlin; Kitchen, D. Williams; F. Johnson, Bedoya, J. Green; Wood
That's the best I can do while including what I think is everyone on the Copa roster into the starting lineup. I fully expect to see Fabian Johnson at left back during that tournament but right now I want to involve everyone which means utility man Orozco gets the start there in the friendly.
The only other non-Copa players in the lineup are Julian Green and Danny Williams. Green gets the nod at the right wing/midfield spot because it's a big chance to see how he's progressing without any first team time at Bayern Munich. Williams is a capable veteran who might see playing time later on in World Cup qualifying and I'd like to see how he and Kitchen play off each other as holding mids.
Some of the younger players I'm excited to see are Emerson Hyndman in the midfield and a pair of Tijuana attackers in Paul Arriola and Amando Moreno. Hyndman is rumored to be leaving Fulham and has interest from EPL teams and he certainly could be getting serious minutes as a bit of a showcase for that move. Bobby Wood might have the inside track to start during Copa America, but these two, along with former NASL and U-20 player Fafa Picault, are all getting a big chance to impress Klinsmann for minutes down the road but maybe not for this WCQ cycle.
This should be a fairly easy game for the US even with a makeshift roster that is missing several starters, especially in the midfield. But that's why several players will get an opportunity to show Klinsmann what they can do after Copa America, when World Cup qualifying begins.
Where: Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium; Bayamón, Puerto Rico
When: Noon, Sunday, May 22, 2016
TV: FS1, UniMas, Univision Deportes Network
Online: Fox Sports Go, Fox Soccer 2Go USA