Projecting the best USMNT midfield for Copa America

Weston McKennie, USMNT
Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The United States Men’s National Team is preparing for the upcoming Copa America tournament. As the USMNT pins down its starting XI for the Copa, they must determine who will man the midfield.

Who will be the midfield’s role-player?

USMNT, Gio Reyna
Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

In this midfield, there will be two “8” midfielders with one being a primary box-to-box midfielder who can carry the ball and link the attack and defense, with another playing more of an advanced role-playing more as an attacking midfielder.

For that role, the team will likely slot in Gio Reyna to probably no one’s surprise. He has been awesome in that role as he was against Brazil and as he was in the CONCACAF Nations League. He has an amazing skillset that gets brought to light when he plays this position.

Who will go box to box for the USMNT?

For the more box-to-box midfield role, I am going to go with Weston McKennie. Weston’s passion for the USMNT brings out the best in his play, and his crucial to this team when he is on his day. That match against England in the 2022 World Cup where he was absolutely brilliant in that role playing alongside Yunus Musah and Tyler Adams in that 0-0 draw, and although his form has dipped in recent months I think his importance to this squad has been demonstrated time in and time out. The USMNT needs Weston McKennie on his game, and for that reason, he should get into the squad.

The USMNT needs a defensive midfielder to hold things down

Last but certainly not least is Yunus Musah who will play in the defensive midfield role, or the “6” position on the field. This was probably the hardest one to determine on the entirety of the pitch with how well Johnny Cardosa has looked for Real Betis this season and then again how good he looked in that loss against Colombia, but Musah looked great against Brazil and has been phenomenal pretty much throughout his time with the USMNT.

When the USA won his commitment away from England like they did with Folarin Balogun they were sort of expected to have him feature in the senior team because of his immense talent, and I have to agree with that sentiment and have him in the team.

Projecting the USMNT’s midfield for the Copa America:

In summary, the midfield three will be Gio Reyna of Borussia Dortmund, Weston McKennie of Juventus, and Yunus Musah of AC Milan. Reyna will play more as the 10 alongside McKennie who will link the defense and attack as the box to box 8, and Musah will play the more defensive role as the 6.

They will join the attack of Christian Pulisic of AC Milan, Folarin Balogun of AS Monaco, and Tim Weah of Juventus in my hypothetical best USMNT starting XI for the Copa America.

Stay tuned for the projected starting defense and goalkeeper in the next article.

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