USMNT Predicted XI to face Costa Rica in World Cup Qualifying

JL Matthews

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After an ugly 1-0 loss in Panama, the United States Men's National Team will look to bounce back on Wednesday night against Costa Rica.

Kickoff is at 7:00 ET in Columbus at Lower.com Field.

The loss to Panama (the first-ever loss to Panama in World Cup Qualifying) dropped the US to second place in the standings, tied with Panama, one point ahead of Canada, and only two points above Costa Rica. At the end of qualifying, the top three teams advance to the World Cup, while the fourth-place team will face an intercontinental playoff.

US coach Gregg Berhalter faced criticism after he made seven changes for the Panama game--choosing to bring players like Tyler Adams, Ricardo Pepi, and Brendan Aaronson off the bench.

So who will Berhalter turn to for this one?

Here's my projected XI to face Costa Rica:

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Goalkeeper

Starter - Matt Turner

The 1-0 loss in Panama certainly wasn't Matt Turner's fault. The US netminder kept the US in the game by keeping Panama off the scoreboard in the first half. It's Turner's first loss, but he still hasn't conceded more than one goal in any game he's played for the US.

Defense

Starters - Antonee Robinson, Mark McKenzie, Miles Robinson, Sergino Dest

Against Panama, US fullbacks George Bello and Shaq Moore never looked comfortable. Antonee Robinson (who was unavailable for the Panama game) and Sergino Dest should be back in the starting lineup against Costa Rica. They're the two best fullbacks in the US talent pool right now, and Berhalter needs them now more than ever.

At Center-back, Miles Robinson should return to the starting lineup; Mark McKenzie has paired well with Robinson and should do so again.

Midfield

Tyler Adams, Yunus Musah, Weston McKennie

Most of the problems against Panama can be traced back to the midfield, which lacked the creativity and confidence to possess the ball and create offensive chances.

Starting both Weston McKennie and Yunus Musah would put the US on the front foot from the start. Tyler Adams appears indispensable as the American's rock in the midfield.

Forwards

Matthew Hoppe, Ricardo Pepi, Brendan Aaronson

Against Panama, the US lacked aggressiveness and hustle. Matthew Hoppe oozes both. He should start, along with the two players who have had a hand in every World Cup qualifying goal so far this cycle: Ricardo Pepi and Brendan Aaronson.

Likely Subs:

Weah for Pepi (Hoppe shifts to Striker)

Richards for McKenzie

Busio for Musah

Yedlin for Dest

Acosta for Adams

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JL Matthews is a writer with interests spanning history, humor, tv/film, parenting, and more. His work has appeared in numerous publications, and he is a 6x Top Writer on Medium. Follow him on News Break, Medium, and Twitter for updates and latest work.

Raleigh, NC
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