Which USMNT midfielders could fill in for the injured Johnny Cardoso ahead of Concacaf Nations League play?
Midfielder Johnny Cardoso withdrew from the US men’s national team on Monday after being diagnosed with an ankle injury.
Cardoso withdrew from the squad before traveling from Brazil, where he plays for Internacional, to the United States ahead of the team’s home-and-away series against Trinidad and Tobago in the semi-finals of the League of Nations Concacaf countries. No replacement has been announced ahead of the games, which will take place at Austin’s Q2 Stadium on November 16 and Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain on November 20.
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The winger featured in both of the USMNT’s October friendlies and started in the team’s 4-0 win over Ghana on October 17, and appears to be making a case for himself as an option in midfield as defensive midfielder. His absence marks the latest shake-up in the national team’s midfield, which has been a source of instability since Tyler Adams underwent the first of two hamstring surgeries in March. It also opens up a number of questions about how Gregg Berhalter’s team will consider players Christian Pulisic and Tim Weah will also miss this month’s games.
Berhalter has played 4-3-3 in three matches but opted to use 4-2-3-1 against Ghana. Both systems allow players to play a big role in attack and Berhalter seems set to continue that trend even without Pulisic and Weah – he said in a press conference last Thursday that talent of his similar skills that could enter. they could adjust to accommodate the attacking talent at hand, however, which includes the likes of Gio Reyna and Brendan Aaronson.
Yunus Musah has been the only midfielder since Berhllater’s return in September, although McKennie has started three of the team’s four games since. Both are favorites to feature again on Thursday’s line-up, but Cardoso’s spot against Ghana could be vacant for a number of contenders. Luca de la Torre made frequent starts this spring, and Malik Tillman started in the team’s 4-0 win over Oman on 12 September.
Another possible option is Leonard Maloney, who won his first cap against Ghana. The 24-year-old is more defensive than the aforementioned midfielders and is yet to start for the national team, but could break into the lineup for the first time and let his teammates additional positions that aim to attack.
The USMNT will play for a spot in the Nations League semifinals, which will be held next March at Dallas’ AT&T Stadium, as well as a spot in next summer’s Copa America.