USMNT unanswered questions: Did Jesus Ferreira block the attacker’s starting position?

The men’s national team of the United States will play its last match of the summer on Tuesday, when it visited El Salvador in the League of Nations match in Concacaf. With more questions than I answered five months before the 2022 World Cup, here are five pressing issues facing Greg Berhalter and what I think are the right answers right now.

Question 1: Is Jesus Ferreira the number one striker?

Answer: Yes, but somehow by default. There is no bigger hole in this team than in the striker, and that includes the position of the central defender. At the World Cup, the United States will face teams in England, Wales and Iran, which have much better chances of striker. Yes, even Iran. The trouble with the attacker has been going on for years, since the best days of Josie Altidor. Everyone seems to have thought that the problem was solved when Ricardo Pepi was tearing up MLS, but he is not even on the team at the moment as he is looking to rest before that, which will be an important fall for the Augsburg man. Pepi has as many goals as you and I have in mid-October, Jordan Pefok squandered his chances and this led us to give Jesus Ferreira his chance. His accuracy in front of the door was quite high, but he managed to cope for the last time with four goals, equaling a team record. This was against a team in Grenada made up of some semi-professionals and some boys who have a second job, so this must be taken with disbelief. But his ability to choose teammates and his recent goal-scoring form will help his case. He is currently the presenter, but all that can change in an instant.

Question 2: Where do you play Brendan Aaronson?

Answer: Brendan Aaronson’s versatility is the key to this team and it’s a luxury. Greg Berhalter can throw it on the wing or put it inside, and if I’m a coach, I put Aaronson in the middle and I put Yunus Musa. Without offending Musa, really. Look, I’m a Valencia supporter and I’ve watched almost all of his matches. He is a good talent, but he is raw and has a long way to go. His ability to deal with defenders, especially when he falls deep, is useful, but he counteracts the moments when he gets lost in attack. Personally, I would make Tyler Adams sit deep, Weston McKenney close to him as a way out, and then Aaronson attack the middle to find a place.

Question 3: What is the ideal pairing of the central back?

Answer: On paper, these are Walker Zimmerman and Chris Richards. But you have to be around to win your seat, and injuries have prevented Richards from making the statement he wants. I think he is by far the best potential central defender this country has, but we are running out of time to impress. He will get his chance, but if I have to choose from the boys who are available now, I will take Zimmerman and Cameron Carter-Vickers. I’m not saying this with the utmost confidence, but I just think that Carter-Vickers’ experience at Celtic gives it an advantage. Zimmermann was Berhalter’s first central defender and paid his dues. If he is healthy, he will probably start at the World Cup. I’m not sure we’ll see John Brooks with this team again unless he finds his form in a new club. I would feel good about the Zimmerman-Richards couple in Qatar, but anything other than that will leave me uneasy, with my next choice being Carter-Vickers.

Question 4: What are the main reserves in the midfield?

Answer: If we assume that the midfield is Adams, McKenney and Muse, then the key reserves should be three different types of players – one defensive, one based on possession and one creator. This team lacks a direct replacement for Adams in defense, and the one I would choose is Johnny Cardoso. However, he has not smelled the national team for some time and no other option expresses confidence. For McKenney, it’s probably Kelin Acosta, someone who can do little at both ends, albeit to a much lesser degree. And when it comes to a creator, it would be Luca de la Torre, whom I would start instead of Musa. The problem with this midfield is the youth and the lack of veterans, but on the positive side, the minutes they receive will help their development. But there will be a lot of growing pain against more established teams, so they have plenty of room to grow before Qatar. The midfielder is in a decent place, but it’s time to cement the core and reserves to play for what lies ahead.

Question 5: Who is the goalkeeper?

Answer: I understand that Berhalter loves Zack Steffen because of their days at Columbus Crew, and he is so familiar with him and believes in his abilities. But the answer right now is Matt Turner. He plays more, he is in better shape and in better health. When he moves to Arsenal this summer, it will be interesting to see what minutes he actually gets. If he is just a man for the League Cup and plays once a month, there will be cause for concern. I think Steffen is hiring to try to win minutes, but I think Turner is just the better player right now. It’s a two-horse race, and Turner is leading the group in terms of performance. But don’t be shocked if it’s Steffen after all because of Berhalter’s knowledge.

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