Argentina v. USA - who will be in the XI for the US?
Guzan in goal
Brooks/Cameron at center-back
Johnson/Yedlin at full-back
Jones/Bradley/Bedoya at midfield
Wood/Dempsey/Zardes at forward/attacking midfield.
Unfortunately, due to red card Jones is out and due to yellow card accumulation Wood and Bedoya are out.
So who should be plugged in?
Beckerman and Zusi have been frequently used as substitutes so I can see them in for Jones and Bedoya. But how do you replace Wood's pace and nose for the ball and overall ability to create havoc at the attacking end?
In listening to TV commentators, I think they I heard a someone (probably Lalas on Fox) say that Zardes will take up Wood's role and that Besler will join the defense and push Johnson up into the midfield. The other option is to have Zardes in Wood's role and have Nagbe/Bradley/Beckerman/Zusi for a 4-man midfield.
We shall see!
UPDATE: Well, what can you say after the 4-0 defeat at the hands of Argentina? The #1 team in the world with the #1 player in the world is always going to be tough for the USA ranked a lowly #31. If Argentina had an off night and the USA played their best, the game might be a competitive match with the end result probably still being a loss, perhaps not as bad as 4-0. And, of course, last night, the USA was not at its best missing three starters (Wood, Jones, and Bedoya) and the team seemed a little over awed by the moment resulting in too many rushed passes that didn't connect. It was clear that one team was an "A" level team and the other was a "B" level team.
Critics probably didn't question Zusi and Beckman in for Jones and Bedoya. But the selection of Wondo for Bobby Wood was a head scratcher (even to a novice fan like myself) when I saw it posted on Twitter. The substitution of Pulicic for Wondo at the half underlined that it was not working out. But would another choice have made much difference? Doubtful. Perhaps, a 3-1 loss instead?
Even with Bobby Wood in the line-up, the US would have still been under a lot of pressure. Nonetheless, Wood's speed, physicality and skill does prove the point that sometimes the best thing you can do for your defense is have somebody who is a threat on offense to make your opponent think for a split second there is somebody who can cause some havoc.
The third place match against either Chile or Colombia will also be a tough one since they are ranked #5 and #3 respectively. Hopefully, the USMNT will lick their wounds and be ready for that match and be more competitive regardless of the result.
Some fans say the fans should demand more than "moral victories" from the USMNT. I don't think the USA is at that point yet. They are good enough for fans to expect them to get through the group stage. Now, the expectation should be to get at least one win in the knockout stage - met by the victory over Ecuador.
The next goal is to get two wins in the knockout stage. So a win in the third place match would be that second win. With the suspended players back in the line-up and a good effort, they should be able to be competitive. They might not win but they should be competitive. That would be a realistic expectation.