, With a few key players still not 100%, Gregg Berhalter might have to make tough calls with his starting lineup vs. Wales. Here’s who our soccer experts think will be in the first XI.,

FIFA World Cup 2022

1 min ago

The United States men’s national team begins its World Cup campaign with a match against Wales on Monday (2 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports App). 

Given the stakes behind the first match of the group stage, nailing the starting lineup is a must for Gregg Berhalter and Co.

Here’s who our soccer writers — Doug McIntyre, Laken Litman and Martin Rogers — think will be in the first XI against Wales:

McIntyre: 4-3-3

Goalkeeper: Matt Turner

Defenders: Antonee Robinson, Tim Ream, Walker Zimmerman, DeAndre Yedlin

Midfielders: Tyler Adams, Brenden Aaronson, Yunus Musah

Forwards: Christian Pulisic, Josh Sargent, Tim Weah

DeAndre Yedlin fills in for Sergino Dest and Brenden Aaronson slides from right wing to central midfield, where he has played often for Leeds this season, for Weston McKennie; U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter said Sunday that coming off injuries, neither Dest nor McKennie is ready to go all 90 minutes (although one or both could come off the bench). 

Up top, England-based Josh Sargent won’t be at all fazed by the intense, physical defending Wales will employ.

[Why beating Wales is crucial for the USMNT]

Wales-U.S. preview

Clint Dempsey and Alexi Lalas break down the U.S.-Wales match in the World Cup opener for both teams.

Litman: 4-3-3

Goalkeeper: Matt Turner

Defenders: Antonee Robinson, Aaron Long, Walker Zimmerman, DeAndre Yedlin

Midfielders: Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie, Yunus Musah

Forwards: Christian Pulisic, Jesús Ferreira, Tim Weah

There are a few sure-fire picks in here: Matt Turner in goal, Antonee Robinson at left back, Tyler Adams in the midfield and Christian Pulisic on the wing. 

As of Sunday afternoon, U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter told reporters that his lineup “was pretty much done” but he was still “working through that.”

Midfielder Weston McKennie, who has been nursing a quad injury, and right back Sergiño Dest, who has experienced some muscle fatigue, are fit enough to play, but for how long we don’t know yet. Will they start or come off the bench? Both might have limited minutes in this first match. Same goes for Gio Reyna and Tim Weah, both of whom are healthy and one of whom will start on the wing opposite Pulisic.

Regardless of which lineup Berhalter goes with, what we do know is that this is the healthiest roster he has had in quite some time.

“We’re looking at the game in its entirety and thinking about how we can be successful,” Berhalter said on the eve of the match. “We want to be an aggressive team in this game. We want to be able to hurt them, but we also know that they have strengths, and they have threats, and we want to be able to take them away. 

“So when picking a lineup, we’ve focused on guys that we think can execute from the onset, but also keeping in mind that our [substitutions] are going to be really important in this game and throughout the World Cup. We know that it’s not just the 11 on the field, we’re going to need the [substitutions] to come and help this group get the win.”

[Late shift: How USMNT is preparing for 10 p.m. local start times at World Cup 2022]

Can Tim Ream be answer at center back?

Alexi Lalas, David Mosse, and Stu Holden break down what Tim Ream will bring for the USMNT.

Rogers: 4-3-3

Goalkeeper: Matt Turner

Defenders: Antonee Robinson, Tim Ream, Walker Zimmerman, DeAndre Yedlin

Midfielders: Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie, Yunus Musah

Forwards: Christian Pulisic, Jesús Ferreira, Tim Weah

I’d go with Yedlin ahead of Dest based off fitness — the World Cup opener is no place to take a chance, even with five subs. Make it like an EPL game and use the USA’s added depth to your advantage. Aaronson instead of Reyna, healthy or not, fits that approach. Sargent is the right call-up front, but he must be given orders to bring his full physicality.

[Gregg Berhalter urges USMNT to play with fire vs. Wales: ‘We want to be able to hurt them’]

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