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USA vs Portugal: Possible USMNT Lineups and Tactics as Americans Turn A New Page

Asked by a local reporter to discuss Tuesday’s friendly between host Portugal and the USA, American midfielder Alejandro Bedoya was fewer than 30 seconds into his answer when he referenced the game’s charitable purpose.

Wildfires across some 240,000 acres killed more than 100 people in Portugal in June and October, and last month the country’s football federation announced that the proceeds from the match at the Estádio Dr. Magalhães Pessoa in Leiria (near the site of some of the deadliest fires in June) will be funneled toward the victims.

“Hopefully we can help to raise awareness and some money for those families and everything. It’s for a good cause,” Bedoya said in Lisbon.

It’s obviously a cause worthy of the game and, as the U.S. national team stands on the threshold of two years of oblivion, charity remains the best reason to play it. There is no World Cup for which to prepare. There is no tactical foundation to establish. And with U.S. Soccer’s presidential election coming in February and, presumably, a new national team coaching staff and organizational set-up to follow, a clean slate probably is just around the corner. The performances Tuesday will matter only to the extent the next coach decides they should. That extent likely will be small.

Nobody’s international future will be determined, for better or worse. In that context, U.S. interim coach Dave Sarachan did the right thing. He cobbled together a one-time-only team featuring out-of-season MLS players who will benefit from an extra few days of decent training, a handful of veterans who will help the visitors avoid embarrassment Tuesday and some of the youth upon whom the USA will rely during the rebuild. This group of players won’t come together again. What’s important, beyond charity, is to do right by Portugal and the spirit of the sport while giving the younger Americans an enticing taste of what it means to represent their country at the highest level.

“We’re professionals. We have a job to do,” Sarachan told reporters. “What makes this week so special for me, personally, is the fact that we’ve assembled a group of players that I feel have a bright future—young players that have shown up with no bitterness in their mouth, no chip on their shoulder, with a lot of enthusiasm.”

Young men like Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams and Cameron Carter-Vickers won’t need motivation. They’ll be thrilled for the chance to get a taste of national team life and earn their first senior cap against the European champions. More seasoned U.S. internationals like DeAndre Yedlin and Kellyn Acosta—those who are likely to play a role during the 2022 cycle—can begin to establish themselves as leaders. While veterans like Bedoya can think about leaving a legacy.

“It’s a bit of a different role for me now to kind of step up and be a leader,” Yedlin told reporters in Portugal. “When I was young and with this team, I kind of dwelled on the mistakes I made because I thought, ‘Oh, I make a little mistake and I’m going to be out of the team,’ and things like that. It’s normal. I know they’re prob going to be nervous—going to have butterflies—but they just have to realize that they’re here for a reason. They’ve been called upon for a reason. They belong here.”

Bedoya is the oldest, most experienced international in camp. The 30-year-old has 65 caps and appeared in both the 2014 World Cup and in seven of the 16 qualifiers for 2018. Even if he’s not in frame for 2022, there’s still something Bedoya believes he can accomplish.

“This is an opportunity for a lot of people, even the older guys like myself, to show we can continue in the program and give something back, for the young guys and the new players to come in, get a feel of what it’s like to play for the national team, to represent your country and see what the set-up is all about,” Bedoya said.

“I thought there’d probably be wholesale changes throughout the whole team [after losing to Trinidad & Tobago],” Bedoya added. “But at the same time, you go through a transitional phase and you expect some guys, like myself, who’ve been around for a while to be here and get that experience going.”

Sarachan’s lineup in Leiria likely will symbolize that transition. There’s arguably never been a tougher USA XI to predict, and the ways in which the manager can balance competitive experience with competitive exposure are almost endless. It doesn’t do the program much long-term good to simply trot out the most seasoned players and try to wrangle a result. Conversely, throwing the teenagers to the wolves won’t serve anyone’s interest.

Portugal also likely will field a mixed side. Recognizable names like Cristiano Ronaldo, João Moutinho, André Gomes and Renato Sanches are missing from the roster. Younger stars like André Silva (AC Milan) and Bernardo Silva (Manchester City) will get the chance to shine, and there are 12 players called up by coach Fernando Santos who have five caps or fewer.

Sarachan’s final decision is anyone’s guess, but here are a couple stabs—one which prioritizes experience and another that focuses on experimentation.

This 11 has a good shot to be competitive on the day while showcasing several players who should make significant contributions during the 2022 cycle.

Yedlin and Jorge Villafaña often were the first-choice fullbacks under Bruce Arena. John Brooks almost certainly will remain a center back incumbent while Matt Miazga, although inexperienced internationally, now is a regular in the Dutch Eredivisie with Vitesse.

Bedoya said he expected Tuesday’s game to be one in which Portugal “comes out on the offensive,” putting the onus on the USA “to stay compact, tight, and hit them on the counter.” With patterns and partnerships still so nascent, Sarachan will want bodies, cover and options in midfield. Danny Williams is a Premier League defensive midfielder. It makes sense to use him as the anchor.

Bedoya and Acosta are comfortable on both sides of the ball, while Lynden Gooch and Juan Agudelo (or New England teammate Kelyn Rowe) can be the attacking outlets when the ball turns over. Agudelo isn’t typically a wide player. But he’s creative, and he can manage on the left with support behind him. He also can combine or interchange with Acosta or Bedoya. Up front: Dom Dwyer, who scored at the CONCACAF Gold Cup and who’s familiar with playing as a lone striker.

This 11 is less likely to win Tuesday, but probably comes closer to representing a team that might do so in 2022. Despite the danger of defeat, this may be the squad more USA fans want to see in Portugal.

Let’s leave Horvath in net. The Club Brugge starter is only 22, after all—four years younger than Bill Hamid. In front of him, a three-man back line anchored by Carter-Vickers, who’s got experience in that formation with Sheffield United.

When Adams plays wide for the New York Red Bulls, he’s on the right. But the 18-year-old also moves around so frequently and is so adaptable, that trying him on the left here and letting Yedlin stay on his customary flank might work. That leaves Acosta and the marauding Mckennie to form the spine and the links in front of Williams.

Up front: Agudelo—still 24 and comfortable as a second forward—and the 17-year-old, dual-junior-World-Cup-scorer Josh Sargent, who’ll join Werder Bremen next year. It's a lineup that's not pragmatic or practical, but it may just be fun and a bit enlightening, and Sarachan has very little to lose. It’s all been lost already, and so it’s time to start again.

“I never thought I’d be here so soon. The fact that I am is amazing,” Sargent told reporters. “I’m just looking forward to proving that I deserve to be here. We can do it a lot sooner than we thought. It gives the U.S. hope to see a lot of young talents.”

USA vs Portugal: Possible USMNT Lineups and Tactics as Americans Turn A New Page

Asked by a local reporter to discuss Tuesday’s friendly between host Portugal and the USA, American midfielder Alejandro Bedoya was fewer than 30 seconds into his answer when he referenced the game’s charitable purpose.

Wildfires across some 240,000 acres killed more than 100 people in Portugal in June and October, and last month the country’s football federation announced that the proceeds from the match at the Estádio Dr. Magalhães Pessoa in Leiria (near the site of some of the deadliest fires in June) will be funneled toward the victims.

“Hopefully we can help to raise awareness and some money for those families and everything. It’s for a good cause,” Bedoya said in Lisbon.

It’s obviously a cause worthy of the game and, as the U.S. national team stands on the threshold of two years of oblivion, charity remains the best reason to play it. There is no World Cup for which to prepare. There is no tactical foundation to establish. And with U.S. Soccer’s presidential election coming in February and, presumably, a new national team coaching staff and organizational set-up to follow, a clean slate probably is just around the corner. The performances Tuesday will matter only to the extent the next coach decides they should. That extent likely will be small.

Nobody’s international future will be determined, for better or worse. In that context, U.S. interim coach Dave Sarachan did the right thing. He cobbled together a one-time-only team featuring out-of-season MLS players who will benefit from an extra few days of decent training, a handful of veterans who will help the visitors avoid embarrassment Tuesday and some of the youth upon whom the USA will rely during the rebuild. This group of players won’t come together again. What’s important, beyond charity, is to do right by Portugal and the spirit of the sport while giving the younger Americans an enticing taste of what it means to represent their country at the highest level.

“We’re professionals. We have a job to do,” Sarachan told reporters. “What makes this week so special for me, personally, is the fact that we’ve assembled a group of players that I feel have a bright future—young players that have shown up with no bitterness in their mouth, no chip on their shoulder, with a lot of enthusiasm.”

Young men like Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams and Cameron Carter-Vickers won’t need motivation. They’ll be thrilled for the chance to get a taste of national team life and earn their first senior cap against the European champions. More seasoned U.S. internationals like DeAndre Yedlin and Kellyn Acosta—those who are likely to play a role during the 2022 cycle—can begin to establish themselves as leaders. While veterans like Bedoya can think about leaving a legacy.

“It’s a bit of a different role for me now to kind of step up and be a leader,” Yedlin told reporters in Portugal. “When I was young and with this team, I kind of dwelled on the mistakes I made because I thought, ‘Oh, I make a little mistake and I’m going to be out of the team,’ and things like that. It’s normal. I know they’re prob going to be nervous—going to have butterflies—but they just have to realize that they’re here for a reason. They’ve been called upon for a reason. They belong here.”

Bedoya is the oldest, most experienced international in camp. The 30-year-old has 65 caps and appeared in both the 2014 World Cup and in seven of the 16 qualifiers for 2018. Even if he’s not in frame for 2022, there’s still something Bedoya believes he can accomplish.

“This is an opportunity for a lot of people, even the older guys like myself, to show we can continue in the program and give something back, for the young guys and the new players to come in, get a feel of what it’s like to play for the national team, to represent your country and see what the set-up is all about,” Bedoya said.

“I thought there’d probably be wholesale changes throughout the whole team [after losing to Trinidad & Tobago],” Bedoya added. “But at the same time, you go through a transitional phase and you expect some guys, like myself, who’ve been around for a while to be here and get that experience going.”

Sarachan’s lineup in Leiria likely will symbolize that transition. There’s arguably never been a tougher USA XI to predict, and the ways in which the manager can balance competitive experience with competitive exposure are almost endless. It doesn’t do the program much long-term good to simply trot out the most seasoned players and try to wrangle a result. Conversely, throwing the teenagers to the wolves won’t serve anyone’s interest.

Portugal also likely will field a mixed side. Recognizable names like Cristiano Ronaldo, João Moutinho, André Gomes and Renato Sanches are missing from the roster. Younger stars like André Silva (AC Milan) and Bernardo Silva (Manchester City) will get the chance to shine, and there are 12 players called up by coach Fernando Santos who have five caps or fewer.

Sarachan’s final decision is anyone’s guess, but here are a couple stabs—one which prioritizes experience and another that focuses on experimentation.

This 11 has a good shot to be competitive on the day while showcasing several players who should make significant contributions during the 2022 cycle.

Yedlin and Jorge Villafaña often were the first-choice fullbacks under Bruce Arena. John Brooks almost certainly will remain a center back incumbent while Matt Miazga, although inexperienced internationally, now is a regular in the Dutch Eredivisie with Vitesse.

Bedoya said he expected Tuesday’s game to be one in which Portugal “comes out on the offensive,” putting the onus on the USA “to stay compact, tight, and hit them on the counter.” With patterns and partnerships still so nascent, Sarachan will want bodies, cover and options in midfield. Danny Williams is a Premier League defensive midfielder. It makes sense to use him as the anchor.

Bedoya and Acosta are comfortable on both sides of the ball, while Lynden Gooch and Juan Agudelo (or New England teammate Kelyn Rowe) can be the attacking outlets when the ball turns over. Agudelo isn’t typically a wide player. But he’s creative, and he can manage on the left with support behind him. He also can combine or interchange with Acosta or Bedoya. Up front: Dom Dwyer, who scored at the CONCACAF Gold Cup and who’s familiar with playing as a lone striker.

This 11 is less likely to win Tuesday, but probably comes closer to representing a team that might do so in 2022. Despite the danger of defeat, this may be the squad more USA fans want to see in Portugal.

Let’s leave Horvath in net. The Club Brugge starter is only 22, after all—four years younger than Bill Hamid. In front of him, a three-man back line anchored by Carter-Vickers, who’s got experience in that formation with Sheffield United.

When Adams plays wide for the New York Red Bulls, he’s on the right. But the 18-year-old also moves around so frequently and is so adaptable, that trying him on the left here and letting Yedlin stay on his customary flank might work. That leaves Acosta and the marauding Mckennie to form the spine and the links in front of Williams.

Up front: Agudelo—still 24 and comfortable as a second forward—and the 17-year-old, dual-junior-World-Cup-scorer Josh Sargent, who’ll join Werder Bremen next year. It's a lineup that's not pragmatic or practical, but it may just be fun and a bit enlightening, and Sarachan has very little to lose. It’s all been lost already, and so it’s time to start again.

“I never thought I’d be here so soon. The fact that I am is amazing,” Sargent told reporters. “I’m just looking forward to proving that I deserve to be here. We can do it a lot sooner than we thought. It gives the U.S. hope to see a lot of young talents.”

USA vs Portugal: Possible USMNT Lineups and Tactics as Americans Turn A New Page

Asked by a local reporter to discuss Tuesday’s friendly between host Portugal and the USA, American midfielder Alejandro Bedoya was fewer than 30 seconds into his answer when he referenced the game’s charitable purpose.

Wildfires across some 240,000 acres killed more than 100 people in Portugal in June and October, and last month the country’s football federation announced that the proceeds from the match at the Estádio Dr. Magalhães Pessoa in Leiria (near the site of some of the deadliest fires in June) will be funneled toward the victims.

“Hopefully we can help to raise awareness and some money for those families and everything. It’s for a good cause,” Bedoya said in Lisbon.

It’s obviously a cause worthy of the game and, as the U.S. national team stands on the threshold of two years of oblivion, charity remains the best reason to play it. There is no World Cup for which to prepare. There is no tactical foundation to establish. And with U.S. Soccer’s presidential election coming in February and, presumably, a new national team coaching staff and organizational set-up to follow, a clean slate probably is just around the corner. The performances Tuesday will matter only to the extent the next coach decides they should. That extent likely will be small.

Nobody’s international future will be determined, for better or worse. In that context, U.S. interim coach Dave Sarachan did the right thing. He cobbled together a one-time-only team featuring out-of-season MLS players who will benefit from an extra few days of decent training, a handful of veterans who will help the visitors avoid embarrassment Tuesday and some of the youth upon whom the USA will rely during the rebuild. This group of players won’t come together again. What’s important, beyond charity, is to do right by Portugal and the spirit of the sport while giving the younger Americans an enticing taste of what it means to represent their country at the highest level.

“We’re professionals. We have a job to do,” Sarachan told reporters. “What makes this week so special for me, personally, is the fact that we’ve assembled a group of players that I feel have a bright future—young players that have shown up with no bitterness in their mouth, no chip on their shoulder, with a lot of enthusiasm.”

Young men like Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams and Cameron Carter-Vickers won’t need motivation. They’ll be thrilled for the chance to get a taste of national team life and earn their first senior cap against the European champions. More seasoned U.S. internationals like DeAndre Yedlin and Kellyn Acosta—those who are likely to play a role during the 2022 cycle—can begin to establish themselves as leaders. While veterans like Bedoya can think about leaving a legacy.

“It’s a bit of a different role for me now to kind of step up and be a leader,” Yedlin told reporters in Portugal. “When I was young and with this team, I kind of dwelled on the mistakes I made because I thought, ‘Oh, I make a little mistake and I’m going to be out of the team,’ and things like that. It’s normal. I know they’re prob going to be nervous—going to have butterflies—but they just have to realize that they’re here for a reason. They’ve been called upon for a reason. They belong here.”

Bedoya is the oldest, most experienced international in camp. The 30-year-old has 65 caps and appeared in both the 2014 World Cup and in seven of the 16 qualifiers for 2018. Even if he’s not in frame for 2022, there’s still something Bedoya believes he can accomplish.

“This is an opportunity for a lot of people, even the older guys like myself, to show we can continue in the program and give something back, for the young guys and the new players to come in, get a feel of what it’s like to play for the national team, to represent your country and see what the set-up is all about,” Bedoya said.

“I thought there’d probably be wholesale changes throughout the whole team [after losing to Trinidad & Tobago],” Bedoya added. “But at the same time, you go through a transitional phase and you expect some guys, like myself, who’ve been around for a while to be here and get that experience going.”

Sarachan’s lineup in Leiria likely will symbolize that transition. There’s arguably never been a tougher USA XI to predict, and the ways in which the manager can balance competitive experience with competitive exposure are almost endless. It doesn’t do the program much long-term good to simply trot out the most seasoned players and try to wrangle a result. Conversely, throwing the teenagers to the wolves won’t serve anyone’s interest.

Portugal also likely will field a mixed side. Recognizable names like Cristiano Ronaldo, João Moutinho, André Gomes and Renato Sanches are missing from the roster. Younger stars like André Silva (AC Milan) and Bernardo Silva (Manchester City) will get the chance to shine, and there are 12 players called up by coach Fernando Santos who have five caps or fewer.

Sarachan’s final decision is anyone’s guess, but here are a couple stabs—one which prioritizes experience and another that focuses on experimentation.

This 11 has a good shot to be competitive on the day while showcasing several players who should make significant contributions during the 2022 cycle.

Yedlin and Jorge Villafaña often were the first-choice fullbacks under Bruce Arena. John Brooks almost certainly will remain a center back incumbent while Matt Miazga, although inexperienced internationally, now is a regular in the Dutch Eredivisie with Vitesse.

Bedoya said he expected Tuesday’s game to be one in which Portugal “comes out on the offensive,” putting the onus on the USA “to stay compact, tight, and hit them on the counter.” With patterns and partnerships still so nascent, Sarachan will want bodies, cover and options in midfield. Danny Williams is a Premier League defensive midfielder. It makes sense to use him as the anchor.

Bedoya and Acosta are comfortable on both sides of the ball, while Lynden Gooch and Juan Agudelo (or New England teammate Kelyn Rowe) can be the attacking outlets when the ball turns over. Agudelo isn’t typically a wide player. But he’s creative, and he can manage on the left with support behind him. He also can combine or interchange with Acosta or Bedoya. Up front: Dom Dwyer, who scored at the CONCACAF Gold Cup and who’s familiar with playing as a lone striker.

This 11 is less likely to win Tuesday, but probably comes closer to representing a team that might do so in 2022. Despite the danger of defeat, this may be the squad more USA fans want to see in Portugal.

Let’s leave Horvath in net. The Club Brugge starter is only 22, after all—four years younger than Bill Hamid. In front of him, a three-man back line anchored by Carter-Vickers, who’s got experience in that formation with Sheffield United.

When Adams plays wide for the New York Red Bulls, he’s on the right. But the 18-year-old also moves around so frequently and is so adaptable, that trying him on the left here and letting Yedlin stay on his customary flank might work. That leaves Acosta and the marauding Mckennie to form the spine and the links in front of Williams.

Up front: Agudelo—still 24 and comfortable as a second forward—and the 17-year-old, dual-junior-World-Cup-scorer Josh Sargent, who’ll join Werder Bremen next year. It's a lineup that's not pragmatic or practical, but it may just be fun and a bit enlightening, and Sarachan has very little to lose. It’s all been lost already, and so it’s time to start again.

“I never thought I’d be here so soon. The fact that I am is amazing,” Sargent told reporters. “I’m just looking forward to proving that I deserve to be here. We can do it a lot sooner than we thought. It gives the U.S. hope to see a lot of young talents.”

Kohfeldt to remain as Werder Bremen head coach

Florian Kohfeldt has been given six games to improve Werder Bremen's Bundesliga position and secure the head coach role permanently.

Kohfeldt to remain as Werder Bremen head coach

Kohfeldt to remain as Werder Bremen head coach

Kohfeldt to remain as Werder Bremen head coach

Kohfeldt to remain as Werder Bremen head coach

'Sh** parking!' - Werder Bremen's Caldirola warned over bad driving

The Bundesliga side are not known for parking the bus tactics, but if they were, they may not want to include the Italian defender in the strategy

'Sh** parking!' - Werder Bremen's Caldirola warned over bad driving

'Sh** parking!' - Werder Bremen's Caldirola warned over bad driving

'Sh** parking!' - Werder Bremen's Caldirola warned over bad driving

'Sh** parking!' - Werder Bremen's Caldirola warned over bad driving

'Sh** parking!' - Werder Bremen's Caldirola warned over bad driving

The Bundesliga side are not known for parking the bus tactics, but if they were, they may not want to include the Italian defender in the strategy

Sarachan Gives Pulisic a Breather, Calls on Experimental USA Squad vs. Portugal

The first roster of a new U.S. national team era, unveiled by interim coach Dave Sarachan Tuesday morning, includes five uncapped players and a dozen aged 24 or younger. But the man expected to lead the way as the Americans turn the page following last month’s World Cup qualifying disaster, 19-year-old Christian Pulisic, has been left off the team that’ll face Portugal next week.

Pulisic was the silver lining of the USA’s failed Hexagonal campaign. He scored or helped set up 12 of the squad’s 17 goals across the 10 games, and he was the only one to find the net in the 2-1 loss to Trinidad & Tobago that knocked out the Americans. The photo of an exhausted, despondent Pulisic, squatting on the sodden Ato Boldon Stadium grass with his jersey pulled over his face and his head resting in his hand, arguably has become this cycle’s defining image.

Now, Sarachan said, as the national team reboots and as Borussia Dortmund slides down the Bundesliga standings, the prolific Pulisic needs a bit of a breather.

“Christian has had a very long year, not only with the national team but finding his way with Borussia Dortmund,” Sarachan said. “Between his contributions for the national team and his club, he has probably played more total games than almost anyone in our pool this year, and in doing that Christian has really pushed the limits mentally and physically. With those things in mind, this was an opportunity for Christian to get a break and recharge for the rest of an important campaign with Dortmund.”

Pulisic’s second year with the senior national team will end with nine appearances, a team-leading six goals and four assists.

As a result of Pulisic’s absence, attention will turn toward other young players with less senior pedigree but perhaps just as much potential. Pulisic’s good friend on the other side of the Revierderby, Schalke 04 midfielder Weston McKennie, has earned his first call-up. Joining him will be new Werder Bremen signing Josh Sargent, a striker who’s still only 17, and New York Red Bulls midfielder Tyler Adams, who’s had a fantastic sophomore season in MLS.

They’ll take on Cristiano Ronaldo-less Portugal next Tuesday at the Estádio Dr. Magalhães Pessoa in Leiria alongside a collection of American players based on both sides of the Atlantic. Some have World Cup experience. Others are getting another shot because the USA won’t be playing in one next summer. Sarachan had just about every player at his disposal save those on the four teams preparing for the MLS Cup semifinals, and he chose a diverse group that offers a glimpse of the future—even if it’s missing the program’s brightest star.

Here’s a look at Sarachan’s 21-man squad, which is scheduled to begin practicing Wednesday in Lisbon:

Goalkeepers

Jesse Gonzalez (FC Dallas), Bill Hamid (FC Midtjylland), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge)

With Tim Howard nearing—or at—the end of his glittering international career and Brad Guzan, 33, unlikely to hang on for another five years, the future is now for the American goalkeeping corps. And Sarachan has brought the three players who appear to have the best shot of staking an early claim to the No. 1 jersey.

They’ve earned only four combined caps, yet all three have been mentioned as possible successors. Gonzalez, 22, was born in North Carolina and raised in Texas and eventually chose the USA over Mexico after representing his parents’ homeland at the 2015 U-20 World Cup. He was a reserve at this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Hamid’s nascent national team career has been limited by untimely injuries, but he signaled his ambition with last month’s decision to leave boyhood club D.C. United for Denmark. Horvath has made only one senior international appearance, but he’s the most experienced camper of the group and probably is the early favorite to start in Leiria.

The young standout of the MLS playoffs, 22-year-old Zack Steffen, won’t get his chance this time thanks to the Columbus Crew’s stirring run to the Eastern Conference finals.

Defenders

John Brooks (Wolfsburg), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Sheffield United), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest), Matt Miazga (Vitesse Arnhem), Tim Ream (Fulham), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United)

There’s depth in the American defense. That’s obviously a luxury as Sarachan prepares for the European champs, but it’s also a frustrating thing to ponder as misplays against Costa Rica and Trinidad are remembered and regretted. Perhaps the right players were injured or ignored.

The most controversial omission in that final fateful qualifier, center back Geoff Cameron, has been left off the squad entirely this time. He sat out last weekend’s draw with Leicester City with a reported concussion. But another Cameron will step in. Tottenham Hotspur product Carter-Vickers, a loanee who’s become a regular with Championship contenders Sheffield United, was born in England but has played for the USA at the U-20 and U-23 levels (his father is American). And he’s still just 19 years old.

Miazga is another center back on loan (from Chelsea) who’s been waiting for a sustained international opportunity. His three caps have been spread across the past two years, and his most recent was punctuated by a goal during the Gold Cup.

Brooks and Ream are the veteran center backs in camp—although they haven’t started together —and they’re accompanied by the experienced Yedlin and Villafaña, who typically were the first choice outside backs under former coach Bruce Arena. Lichaj, another Gold Cup contributor, rounds out the unit.

Newer players like Carter-Vickers and Miazga are starting regularly for teams in competitive European leagues. Sarachan obviously didn’t think Portugal was the right place to try out the likes of Justen Glad, Erik Palmer-Brown, Matthew Olosunde and other defensive prospects.

Midfielders

Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Lynden Gooch (Sunderland), Weston McKennie (Schalke 04), Kelyn Rowe (New England Revolution), Danny Williams (Huddersfield Town)

The USA needs to learn to play without Michael Bradley, in part because there’s no guarantee the 30-year-old will be around in 2022 and in part because both Arena and his predecessor, Jurgen Klinsmann, often heaped too much responsibility on the midfielder’s shoulders. Bradley, who will stay behind with Toronto FC, will remain an important national team contributor. But the amount of heavy lifting he was asked to do, most recently as the only connector in Arena’s 4-4-2, exposed the player’s limitations and the team’s over-reliance on their captain crutch. The future must be more flexible.

Enter McKennie, Adams, Acosta and Williams, who’ve taken very different paths to Portugal but who all offer versatility and possibility in a new American midfield. Adams can play wide and centrally, McKennie and Acosta have box-to-box potential and Williams has been an underused option in a No. 6 role. There's not much point reading into whatever formation and players Sarachan chooses against Portugal, but it certainly will be interesting to see who settles in and then emerges after a week of training.

Bedoya is the most experienced international on the squad. He’s not the most dynamic player, but his work-rate and intelligent distribution should help next week and probably would’ve been useful as the USA struggled to find its footing at the end of the Hex. Gooch and Rowe offer some skill on the ball and a bit of creativity going forward. Gooch, 21, is among the young players Klinsmann tried out toward the end of his tenure who then had to take a back seat as Arena attempted to rescue the qualifying campaign (and he also was hurt over the winter).

Fans hoping to see Monterrey holding midfielder Jonathan Gonzalez, an 18-year-old Californian, will be disappointed. D.C. United’s Paul Arriola was a likely call-up but has a fitness issue and Cristian Roldan remains in Seattle getting ready to defend the Sounders' Western Conference title. Darlington Nagbe and Fabian Johnson were among the veterans left out, leaving the USA somewhat thin on the flanks.

Forwards

Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution), Dom Dwyer (Orlando City), C.J. Sapong (Philadelphia Union), Josh Sargent (St. Louis Scott Gallagher)

This quartet certainly represents a refresh, but perhaps not the sort many wanted to see this week. Agudelo, Dwyer and Sapong are decent, veteran MLS forwards who’ve been stuck behind the U.S. incumbents and who, in Agudelo’s case (and Dwyer’s to a lesser extent), failed to take full and consistent advantage of limited international opportunities. Now they get another chance.

The four players boast a combined five senior international goals.

Sapong has been capped just twice—the most recent came in January 2012—but he was the leading MLS scorer among U.S. eligible players this season with 16 goals. Sargent already has played in two World Cups in 2017 (U-17 and U-20) and becomes the first American to appear in U-17, U-20 and senior camps in a single calendar year. Among the four, the 17-year-old likely is the only one with a decent chance to be part of the team at the end of the 2022 cycle. Sargent can sign with Werder officially when he turns 18 in February.

The four primary incumbents are unavailable. Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore are still pursuing MLS Cup, Jordan Morris (hamstring) is on his way back for Seattle and Bobby Wood will remain with Hamburger SV over the break while treating a lingering knee injury. They’re not missing an important game but at the same time, their incumbency now means less than ever before.

AB01. Frankfurt Am Main (Germany), 03/11/2017.- Bremen's head coach Florian Kohfeldt (R) reacts with his player Aron Johannsson (L) after the German Bundesliga soccer match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 03 November 2017. (Alemania) EFE/EPA/ARMANDO BABANI EMBARGO CONDITIONS - ATTENTION: Due to the accreditation guidlines, the DFL only permits the publication and utilisation of up to 15 pictures per match on the internet and in online media during the match.

AB01. Frankfurt Am Main (Germany), 03/11/2017.- Frankfurt's players celebrate winning the German Bundesliga soccer match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 03 November 2017. (Alemania) EFE/EPA/ARMANDO BABANI EMBARGO CONDITIONS - ATTENTION: Due to the accreditation guidlines, the DFL only permits the publication and utilisation of up to 15 pictures per match on the internet and in online media during the match.

AB01. Frankfurt Am Main (Germany), 03/11/2017.- Bremen's players react after the German Bundesliga soccer match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 03 November 2017. (Alemania) EFE/EPA/ARMANDO BABANI EMBARGO CONDITIONS - ATTENTION: Due to the accreditation guidlines, the DFL only permits the publication and utilisation of up to 15 pictures per match on the internet and in online media during the match.

AB01. Frankfurt Am Main (Germany), 03/11/2017.- Frankfurt's players celebrate winning the German Bundesliga soccer match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 03 November 2017. (Alemania) EFE/EPA/ARMANDO BABANI EMBARGO CONDITIONS - ATTENTION: Due to the accreditation guidlines, the DFL only permits the publication and utilisation of up to 15 pictures per match on the internet and in online media during the match.

AB01. Frankfurt Am Main (Germany), 03/11/2017.- Bremen's Philipp Bargfrede (L) in action during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 03 November 2017. (Alemania) EFE/EPA/ARMANDO BABANI EMBARGO CONDITIONS - ATTENTION: Due to the accreditation guidlines, the DFL only permits the publication and utilisation of up to 15 pictures per match on the internet and in online media during the match.

AB01. Frankfurt Am Main (Germany), 03/11/2017.- Bremen's head coach Florian Kohfeldt (R) reacts during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 03 November 2017. (Alemania) EFE/EPA/ARMANDO BABANI EMBARGO CONDITIONS - ATTENTION: Due to the accreditation guidlines, the DFL only permits the publication and utilisation of up to 15 pictures per match on the internet and in online media during the match.

AB01. Frankfurt Am Main (Germany), 03/11/2017.- Frankfurt's players celebrate winning the German Bundesliga soccer match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 03 November 2017. (Alemania) EFE/EPA/ARMANDO BABANI EMBARGO CONDITIONS - ATTENTION: Due to the accreditation guidlines, the DFL only permits the publication and utilisation of up to 15 pictures per match on the internet and in online media during the match.

Bundesliga - Eintracht Frankfurt vs Werder Bremen

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - Eintracht Frankfurt vs Werder Bremen - Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt, Germany - November 3, 2017 Eintracht Frankfurt's Sebastian Haller scores their second goal REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach DFL RULES TO LIMIT THE ONLINE USAGE DURING MATCH TIME TO 15 PICTURES PER GAME. IMAGE SEQUENCES TO SIMULATE VIDEO IS NOT ALLOWED AT ANY TIME. FOR FURTHER QUERIES PLEASE CONTACT DFL DIRECTLY AT + 49 69 650050

AB01. Frankfurt Am Main (Germany), 03/11/2017.- Frankfurt's Sebastien Haller (L) scores the 2-1 lead against Bremen's goalkeeper Jiri Pavlenka (R) during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 03 November 2017. (Alemania) EFE/EPA/ARMANDO BABANI EMBARGO CONDITIONS - ATTENTION: Due to the accreditation guidlines, the DFL only permits the publication and utilisation of up to 15 pictures per match on the internet and in online media during the match.

AB01. Frankfurt Am Main (Germany), 03/11/2017.- Frankfurt's Jetro Willems reacts during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 03 November 2017. (Alemania) EFE/EPA/ARMANDO BABANI EMBARGO CONDITIONS - ATTENTION: Due to the accreditation guidlines, the DFL only permits the publication and utilisation of up to 15 pictures per match on the internet and in online media during the match.

AB01. Frankfurt Am Main (Germany), 03/11/2017.- Frankfurt's goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky reacts during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 03 November 2017. (Alemania) EFE/EPA/ARMANDO BABANI EMBARGO CONDITIONS - ATTENTION: Due to the accreditation guidlines, the DFL only permits the publication and utilisation of up to 15 pictures per match on the internet and in online media during the match.

AB01. Frankfurt Am Main (Germany), 03/11/2017.- Frankfurt's David Abraham in action during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 03 November 2017. (Alemania) EFE/EPA/ARMANDO BABANI EMBARGO CONDITIONS - ATTENTION: Due to the accreditation guidlines, the DFL only permits the publication and utilisation of up to 15 pictures per match on the internet and in online media during the match.

AB01. Frankfurt Am Main (Germany), 03/11/2017.- Frankfurt's goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky in action during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 03 November 2017. (Alemania) EFE/EPA/ARMANDO BABANI EMBARGO CONDITIONS - ATTENTION: Due to the accreditation guidlines, the DFL only permits the publication and utilisation of up to 15 pictures per match on the internet and in online media during the match.

AB01. Frankfurt Am Main (Germany), 03/11/2017.- Bremen's head coach Florian Kohfeldt reacts during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 03 November 2017. (Alemania) EFE/EPA/ARMANDO BABANI EMBARGO CONDITIONS - ATTENTION: Due to the accreditation guidlines, the DFL only permits the publication and utilisation of up to 15 pictures per match on the internet and in online media during the match.

AB01. Frankfurt Am Main (Germany), 03/11/2017.- Frankfurt's Marc Stendera (R) in action against Bremen's Fin Bartels (L) during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 03 November 2017. (Alemania) EFE/EPA/ARMANDO BABANI EMBARGO CONDITIONS - ATTENTION: Due to the accreditation guidlines, the DFL only permits the publication and utilisation of up to 15 pictures per match on the internet and in online media during the match.

AB01. Frankfurt Am Main (Germany), 03/11/2017.- Bremen's Zlatko Junuzovic (C) in action against Frankfurt's David Abraham (L) and Makoto Hasebe (R) during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 03 November 2017. (Alemania) EFE/EPA/ARMANDO BABANI EMBARGO CONDITIONS - ATTENTION: Due to the accreditation guidlines, the DFL only permits the publication and utilisation of up to 15 pictures per match on the internet and in online media during the match.

AB01. Frankfurt Am Main (Germany), 03/11/2017.- Frankfurt's Ante Rebic in action during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 03 November 2017. (Alemania) EFE/EPA/ARMANDO BABANI EMBARGO CONDITIONS - ATTENTION: Due to the accreditation guidlines, the DFL only permits the publication and utilisation of up to 15 pictures per match on the internet and in online media during the match.

Bundesliga - Eintracht Frankfurt vs Werder Bremen

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - Eintracht Frankfurt vs Werder Bremen - Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt, Germany - November 3, 2017 Eintracht Frankfurt's Ante Rebic in action with Werder Bremen’s Max Kruse REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach DFL RULES TO LIMIT THE ONLINE USAGE DURING MATCH TIME TO 15 PICTURES PER GAME. IMAGE SEQUENCES TO SIMULATE VIDEO IS NOT ALLOWED AT ANY TIME. FOR FURTHER QUERIES PLEASE CONTACT DFL DIRECTLY AT + 49 69 650050

Bundesliga - Eintracht Frankfurt vs Werder Bremen

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - Eintracht Frankfurt vs Werder Bremen - Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt, Germany - November 3, 2017 Eintracht Frankfurt's Kevin-Prince Boateng reacts after missing a chance to score REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach DFL RULES TO LIMIT THE ONLINE USAGE DURING MATCH TIME TO 15 PICTURES PER GAME. IMAGE SEQUENCES TO SIMULATE VIDEO IS NOT ALLOWED AT ANY TIME. FOR FURTHER QUERIES PLEASE CONTACT DFL DIRECTLY AT + 49 69 650050

Bundesliga - Eintracht Frankfurt vs Werder Bremen

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - Eintracht Frankfurt vs Werder Bremen - Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt, Germany - November 3, 2017 Eintracht Frankfurt's Kevin-Prince Boateng reacts after missing a chance to score REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach DFL RULES TO LIMIT THE ONLINE USAGE DURING MATCH TIME TO 15 PICTURES PER GAME. IMAGE SEQUENCES TO SIMULATE VIDEO IS NOT ALLOWED AT ANY TIME. FOR FURTHER QUERIES PLEASE CONTACT DFL DIRECTLY AT + 49 69 650050

AB01. Frankfurt Am Main (Germany), 03/11/2017.- Bremen's Fin Bartels in action during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 03 November 2017. (Alemania) EFE/EPA/ARMANDO BABANI EMBARGO CONDITIONS - ATTENTION: Due to the accreditation guidlines, the DFL only permits the publication and utilisation of up to 15 pictures per match on the internet and in online media during the match.

AB01. Frankfurt Am Main (Germany), 03/11/2017.- Bremen's Fin Bartels in actions during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 03 November 2017. (Alemania) EFE/EPA/ARMANDO BABANI EMBARGO CONDITIONS - ATTENTION: Due to the accreditation guidlines, the DFL only permits the publication and utilisation of up to 15 pictures per match on the internet and in online media during the match.

AB01. Frankfurt Am Main (Germany), 03/11/2017.- Frankfurt's goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky in actions during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 03 November 2017. (Alemania) EFE/EPA/ARMANDO BABANI EMBARGO CONDITIONS - ATTENTION: Due to the accreditation guidlines, the DFL only permits the publication and utilisation of up to 15 pictures per match on the internet and in online media during the match.

AB01. Frankfurt Am Main (Germany), 03/11/2017.- Bremen's head coach Florian Kohfeldt (R) reacts during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 03 November 2017. (Alemania) EFE/EPA/ARMANDO BABANI EMBARGO CONDITIONS - ATTENTION: Due to the accreditation guidlines, the DFL only permits the publication and utilisation of up to 15 pictures per match on the internet and in online media during the match.

AB01. Frankfurt Am Main (Germany), 03/11/2017.- Bremen's head coach Florian Kohfeldt holds the ball during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 03 November 2017. (Alemania) EFE/EPA/ARMANDO BABANI EMBARGO CONDITIONS - ATTENTION: Due to the accreditation guidlines, the DFL only permits the publication and utilisation of up to 15 pictures per match on the internet and in online media during the match.

AB01. Frankfurt Am Main (Germany), 03/11/2017.- Bremen's Niklas Moisander (R) in actions against Frankfurt's Ante Rebic (L) during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 03 November 2017. (Alemania) EFE/EPA/ARMANDO BABANI EMBARGO CONDITIONS - ATTENTION: Due to the accreditation guidlines, the DFL only permits the publication and utilisation of up to 15 pictures per match on the internet and in online media during the match.

AB01. Frankfurt Am Main (Germany), 03/11/2017.- Bremen's Maximilian Eggestein (L) in action against Frankfurt's David Abraham (R) during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 03 November 2017. (Alemania) EFE/EPA/ARMANDO BABANI EMBARGO CONDITIONS - ATTENTION: Due to the accreditation guidlines, the DFL only permits the publication and utilisation of up to 15 pictures per match on the internet and in online media during the match.

AB01. Frankfurt Am Main (Germany), 03/11/2017.- Bremen's Niklas Moisander (R) in action against Frankfurt's Ante Rebic (L) during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 03 November 2017. (Alemania) EFE/EPA/ARMANDO BABANI EMBARGO CONDITIONS - ATTENTION: Due to the accreditation guidlines, the DFL only permits the publication and utilisation of up to 15 pictures per match on the internet and in online media during the match.

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