Unanswered questions from USMNT: Has Jesus Ferreira closed out as striker?

The U.S. men’s national team will play its final game of the summer on Tuesday, visiting El Salvador in the CONCACAF Nations League match. Five months before the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup before answering more questions, here are five of Gregg Berhalter’s most serious problems and the most correct answers at the moment in my opinion.

Question 1: Is striker Jesus Ferreira number 1?

Answer: Yes, but by default. There is no bigger hole in this team than the striker, and it includes the back position in the middle. At the World Cup, the US will face England, Wales and Iran, who have much better chances in the striker. Yes, even Iran. The striker’s case has been going on for years, since Jozy Altido’s best day. Everyone thought that the problem was solved when Ricardo Pepi was breaking MLS, but for now he is not even in the team because he wants to rest before the fall that will be important for the Augsburg man. Pepi has scored as many goals as you and I since mid-October, Jordan Pefo wasted his chances, which led us to Jesus Ferreira to get his chance. His accuracy in front of the goalkeeper was far from over, but he scored four goals last time, leveling the team record. That was against a Grenada team made up of some semi-professionals and some guys with second jobs, so that should be taken with a grain of salt. However, his ability to pick up the team and the form in which he scored the final goal will help him in his case. At the moment, he is the pioneer, but that can change immediately.

Question 2: Where do you play Brenden Aaronson?

Answer: Brenden Aaronson’s versatility is key to this team, and it’s a luxury. Gregg Berhalter can throw him off the wing or get in, and if I’m a coach, I’m putting Aaronson in the middle and I’m putting Yunus Musah on the bench. No insult to Musah, really. Look, I’m a fan of Valencia and I’ve watched almost all of his matches. She’s a beautiful talent, but she’s raw and has a long way to go. His ability to get defensive, especially when he goes down in depth, is helpful, but the moments he loses in attack counteract him. Personally, I would get Tyler Adams to sit deep, get Weston McKennie close to him as an exit, and then attack Aaronson in the middle to look for space.

Question 3: What is the right pair of central defenders?

Answer: On paper are Walker Zimmerman and Chris Richards. But, you have to be around to win your position, and injuries have prevented Richards from making the statement he wanted. I think he is by far the best central defender in this country, but we lack the time to make an impression. He’ll get his shot, but if I have to choose between the guys available now, I’ll take Zimmerman and Cameron Carter-Vickers. I’m not saying this with the utmost certainty, but I do believe that Carter-Vickers ’experience at Celtic is on the edge. Zimmerman has been Berhalter’s first-choice center and has paid his dues. If he is healthy, he will probably start in the World Cup. I’m not sure we’ll see John Brooks again with this team if he doesn’t find his form in a new club. I would be fine with the Zimmerman-Richards pair from Qatar, but anything other than that will leave me uneasy, as Carter-Vickers will be my next choice.

Question 4: What are the main midfield reserves?

Answer: Assuming the midfield is Adams, McKennie and Musah, then the key reserves should be three different types of players: a defensive, a property-based and a creative. This team lacks a direct replacement for Adams on defense, and the one I would choose is Johnny Cardoso. He hasn’t smelled the selection in a long time, but he doesn’t have any other options. For McKennier, it’s likely Kellyn Acosta, someone who can do a bit of both ends, albeit on a much lower level. And as for a creator, it would be Luca de la Torre, who I would start from Musah. The problem with this midfield is the lack of youth and veterans, but on the bright side, the minutes they get will encourage development. But there will be more and more pain against more established groups, so they have a lot of room to grow ahead of Qatar. Half the pitch is in a good place, but it’s time to consolidate the core and reserves to play what’s ahead.

Question 5: Who is the goalkeeper?

Answer: I understand that Berhalter loves Zack Steffen for the days of Columbus Crew, and he is very popular and believes in his ability. But the answer, right now, is Matt Turner. He is playing more, is in better shape and is in better health. When he goes to Arsenal this summer, it will be interesting to see what kind of minutes he really gets. If he’s just a League Cup man and he plays once a month, there will be cause for concern. I think Steffen is on loan to try to get the minutes, but I think Turner is a better player at the moment. It’s a two-horse race, and Turner is the team leader in terms of performance. But don’t be surprised if Steffen eventually gets to know Berhalter.

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