The USMNT continues their preparations for the upcoming World Cup, hosting South Americans Uruguay in Kansas City on Sunday evening.
In what is their final run of games at home before the tournament in Qatar beginning in November, Gregg Berhalter’s squad started strongly, beating fellow World Cup competitors Morocco by a convincing 3-0 score on Wednesday night.
The game saw Brenden Aaronson, Tim Weah and newcomer Haji Wright all find the back of the net, and was a generally satisfying performance from a team that is beset with a number of injury issues keeping several of its most important players off the field.
In keeping their opponents off the scoreboard, the makeshift back line that saw Aaron Long and Reggie Cannon start in place of usual starters Miles Robinson and Sergiño Dest showed an encouraging amount of depth, which will be critical in the relentless pace of November’s tournament.
Perhaps even more positive was the relative fluidness of the attack, which managed to put three past a normally stingy Morocco defense that only gave up a grand total of four goal in their eight-game African qualifying run.
Even though Wright’s debut goal was somewhat of a gift from his long-time international teammate Christian Pulisic, his generally strong second half has given some glimmer of hope – once again – that the rotating door at the center forward position might finally be slowing down.
In comparison to Wednesday’s game, Berhalter will have a few more tools in the shed to face the South Americans. In his pre-game comments, the coach already confirmed that Weston McKennie will be starting in the midfield, after the Juventus player only saw limited action against Morocco.
Furthermore, Ethan Horvath, Jordan Morris and Kellyn Acosta will be in uniform, after all three sat out against Morocco due to their late arrival to camp.
Uruguay are having their second game in the US in this break, having thoroughly beaten Mexico by a 3-0 scoreline on Thursday night in Phoenix. Sunday night will be the eighth meeting between the Americans and Uruguay, with each team having won twice, with three drawn results.
Their most recent meeting in 2019 involved several of the current squad members on both side, most notably Morris, who scored the lone goal for the US to salvage the 1-1 draw.
In contrast to the young American squad, Uruguay is led by its ageing veterans, with 35 year-old Edinson Cavani still the primary force up front, and 36 year-old defender Diego Godín still serving as the team’s captain.
However, perhaps the most notorious player on the team, the toothy striker Luis Suarez, was left off of the 28-man squad named by coach Diego Alonso.
The teams will kick off at 5pm Eastern time at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City.