It’s finally time for the Gregg Berhalter era of U.S. Soccer to begin. It’s been well over a year since the infamous loss to Trinidad & Tobago that saw the U.S. miss out on the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Since then, it has only been friendlies under interim head coach Dave Sarachan for the Red, White and Blue fans to chew on.
Sunday’s game against Panama is also only a friendly but it marks the start of something new. Berhalter was hired by U.S. Soccer from Columbus Crew SC as the country’s newest head coach in early December. While he was not a unanimous choice among fans, he is the man expected to lead the Yankees back to the levels of success they have come to be used to.
The friendly marks the end of Berhalter’s first January training camp. The head coach named a 23-man roster on Tuesday that features three Black & Gold players in midfielder Wil Trapp, goalkeeper Zack Steffen and forward Gyasi Zardes. Other names of note that could see action against Panama are goalkeeper Sean Johnson, defender Aaron Long, midfielder Cristian Roldan and forward Christian Ramirez.
There are plenty of interesting storylines in Berhalter’s first game in charge but perhaps the one most fans are interested in seeing is how the new head coach lines up and plays. While in charge of the Crew, Berhalter played a possession-based style and typically stuck with the 4-2-3-1 formation. Will that continue and is one camp enough time to teach his system?
While it’s not a competitive match — those won’t start until this summer’s Gold Cup — it will be an interesting first glimpse at the new era of U.S. Soccer.
United States lineup:
How to Watch
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Venue: State Farm Stadium; Glendale, Ariz.
Available TV: ESPN2, UniMas and Univision Deportes
This will be your game thread as well to discuss the match with other Crew and U.S. Soccer fans in the comment section below. What do you expect from this first match under Berhalter? How would you line up the Red, White and Blue? All that discussion and plenty more once the game kicks off.