The United States National Team play host to tiny, tiny Caribbean minnows St. Vincent and the Grenadines to open up the 2018 World Cup qualifying go-around. Basically a must-win game due to the lack of quality of the opponent, coach Jurgen Klinsmann will see a series of newer faces on the pitch in St. Louis.
Darlington Nagbe, Matt Miazga, Jordan Morris and Miguel Ibarra are among the players without a whole lot of caps that will possibly feature in the first competitive game since that Mexico match last month. They replaced mainstays like Clint Dempsey that were left off the team in an almost Landon Donovan-like fashion.
Which raises the question: Who will start?
This is the biggest question.
Here's who should be in the back-four:
Johnson Cameron Besler Ream
Fabian Johnson, when he isn't under the Klinsmann bus, is a capable fullback. Really, he should be played on the wings, but because Klinsmann likes to play everyone out of position, the Gladbach man will be stuck at right back.
Cameron and Besler is the most experienced center-backs and should trusted to handle things against a good-finishing, incisive striker like Oalex Anderson of SVG, who plays for Seattle Sounders 2. But it must be noted that Miazga should come on at some point in order to make sure he doesn't bolt for the Poland national team.
Depending on what formation is played, the midfield could take multiple different shapes. Here are some possible combos:
The former is the most likely.
Bradley and Nagbe are interchangeable here.
4-3-3 should be the formation in use. Nagbe fits much better that way.
Without Dempsey, the forward crew will be as mixed as the midfielders.
Bobby Wood, Jozy Altidore and Morris can all be used as lone strikers up top, while Zardes, Yedlin and even Morris could be used on the wings in a 4-3-3.
Most likely, Altidore will start up top with Zardes and Yedlin outside in a 4-3-3. Then again, watch out for a position change from Klinsmann. For all we know, he could be playing Nagbe on the wing (please do not do this).
The two teams will face off at 5:30 pm CT Friday aka tonight in St. Louis.