3 things to watch as the USMNT plays first friendly match ahead of Copa América tournament

USMNT, Gio Reyna
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The United States Men’s National Team is set to play a friendly match against Columbia this Saturday. The match is being held at 5:30 pm EST and is at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.

FedEx Field is home to the Washington Commanders, and although is considered one of the worst stadiums in the NFL, will be host to this match. This match is in preparation for the upcoming Copa América tournament. They will open up group play on Sunday, June 23rd against Bolivia at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

There will be another friendly against Brazil on Wednesday, June 12th at 7:00 PM EST at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. In these friendly matchups there will be some key things to keep an eye on before the USMNT start their search for their first-ever Copa América trophy.

Who will be the USMNT’s right back?

Soccer: International Friendly Soccer-Germany at USA
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On May 1st the crucial news broke that Sergino Dest had torn his ACL and was going to miss the Copa América, per ESPN. He had picked up the injury in a training session on April 20th.

People have been wondering who will fill in for Dest who had been featured as the starting right back in the 2022 World Cup, and played well as the team went through the group stage. There are a couple of options, like Joe Scally who has filled in at times at right back for the USMNT.

There have also been talks of Tim Weah shifting to a right wingback role as he did at times for Lille in the 2022/23 season. It will be interesting to see what Gregg Berhalter rolls out lineup-wise on Saturday.

Determining the lineup’s midfield

With all the drama surrounding Berhalter and Gio Reyna, it will be of note to watch if the youngster gets the nod in the starting XI. He has featured in a progressive midfield role at times, like in the Nations League final against Canada, and has thrived when playing such role. He can also play an outside winger role, so it will be interesting to see how Berhalter uses him.

Who will start up top for America?

Soccer: International Friendly Soccer-Ghana at USA
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With Folarin Balogun now being a member of the USMNT, multiple quality options can start at striker this summer. He had a dip in form this past season with AS Monaco after having a mammoth of a season at Stade de Reims in 2022/23. He had a big move from Arsenal this past summer which was his parent club whilst he was on loan at Reims.

Haji Wright is another option, who has had a career season at Coventry City scoring sixteen goals and tallying seven assists. He almost led Coventry City to the FA Cup final taking Manchester United to penalties at Wembley in the semifinals, ultimately to lose and for United to win the cup. With Wright certainly in better form it will be the choice of Berhalter to either go with Balogun’s track record or Wright’s form.

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