The American flair will be on offer as the United States take on Colombia at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium on Thursday night.

The United States national team will brace themselves up for a fascinating encounter as they host Colombia in an international friendly at Tampa on Thursday. The USMNT have enjoyed mixed form as far as the international friendlies are concerned, suffering a 2-0 defeat to Brazil last month before sealing a narrow win over North American rivals Mexico a few days later.

Interim coach Dave Sarachan has been keen on blending youth and experience into his team with the 64-year-old being responsible for handing out debuts to uncapped players in the previous camps. Aaron Long (NY Red Bulls), Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas), Ben Sweat (NYC FC) and Jonathan Amon (Nordsjaelland) are the players tipped to make their first international appearances this time out, after being called into the squad.

Colombia, on the other hand, have remained true to their usual core of the team with interim coach Arturo Reyes calling up 12 players, who were part of the 2018 FIFA World Cup campaign in the summer.

As for their recent form, they have already played out a couple of post-World Cup friendlies, sealing a 2-1 win over Venezuela in the first one before drawing with Argentina in the next. This will be their third post-World Cup friendly with all of them being played out on the United States. They are also due to play Costa Rica next, at the Red Bull Arena in New Jersey on October 16th.

And here, at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the two nations ahead of their highly anticipated friendly this midweek.

Team news & tactics

United States

Interim coach Dave Sarachan will be hugely disappointed with the absence of few of their star players. The likes of Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams have been sidelined with their respective injuries.

Pulisic's absence wil be a huge blow for the USMNT. (Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images)

Pulisic’s absence will be a huge blow for the USMNT. (Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images)

Thus, Sarachan will be forced to make some necessary adjustments to his starting eleven though he won’t have any difficulties in deploying Zack Steffen as the man between the sticks for the USMNT.

In attack, Timothy Weah will be tasked with the responsibility of deputizing for the injured Christian Pulisic in wider position with Julian Green starting on the opposite flank. However, Fafa Picault could also be an intriguing option for Sarachan, given his impressive form with the Philadelphia Union this campaign.

The 27-year-old has already notched up 10 goals and four assists for the Union this season and his brace against Minnesota on Saturday helped his team clinch an Audi 2018 MLS Cup playoff berth.

Bobby Wood, on the other hand, will lead the USMNT attack alongside youngster Josh Sargent. Wood has been in excellent form, of late, scoring a brace in Hannover’s win over Stuttgart on Saturday.

Michael Bradley could be a shock inclusion in midfield as he looks to replace the injured Tyler Adams. He will be partnered by Wil Trapp while the four-man defensive line will consist of DeAndre Yedlin, Matt Miazga, John Brooks and Antonee Robinson. They will be surely ruing the absence of injured Timothy Chandler, however.

Probable lineup(4-4-2): Steffen; Yedlin, Miazga, Brooks, Robinson; Green, Trapp, Bradley, Weah; Sargent, Wood.

Colombia

Colombia’s interim coach Arturo Reyes has a lot of thinking to do before naming his starting eleven this week. Although his team boasts excellent individual quality, team chemistry is often important – and that’s where Colombia have lingered in recent months.

Nonetheless, Reyes could opt for a 4-5-1 formation with David Ospina in goal. The former Arsenal keeper has had an awful start to his Serie A campaign and will be looking to regain some confidence with his strong display this week.

Colombia will be confident after a win over Venezuela. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)

Colombia will be confident after a win over Venezuela. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)

Tottenham superstar Davinson Sanchez will be an automatic choice at centre-back. He will be partnered by Jeison Murillo, who is also regarded as one of Colombia’s most solid defensive outlets. Santiago Arias and Cristian Borja will be deployed as fullbacks.

Wilmar Barrios will be starting at the base of Colombia’s 4-5-1 with the duo of James Rodriguez and Juan Quintero being deployed slightly further upfront. Both the players possess outstanding technical qualities and stopping them should be a priority for the USMNT defence.

And finally, Colombia’s attacking line will consist of Radamel Falcao, who will be partnered by the wide-duo of Juan Cuadrado and Edwin Cardona.

Probable lineup(4-5-1): Ospina; Arias, Sanchez, Murillo, Borja; Barrios; Cuadrado, Quintero, James, Cardona; Falcao.

Key stats

  • USMNT ended their three-game winless streak in the win over Mexico last month.
  • Stars and Stripes have beaten the rivals just twice in ten head-to-head clashes
  • Colombia has preserved three clean sheets in their last five matches.
  • USMNT have failed to score more than one goal in all of their last four matches.
  • Colombia’s last defeat to USA dates back to March 2005 when a young US side dominated Los Cafeteros with Pat Noonan, Chad Marshall and Clint Mathis finding the back of the net.

Player to watch

James Rodriguez

Looking to make an impact? (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Looking to make an impact? (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Unfortunately, many of the star players including Weston McKennie and Christian Pulisic will not be featuring in this week’s encounter. However, James Rodriguez’s presence in the Colombian starting lineup will be enough to spark up the contest as the 27-year-old tries to regain his form after a cold-streak with FC Bayern.

His ability to carve out opposing defences with clever through balls and movements will be useful for Colombia. Most importantly, however, it will be interesting to see how he gels with teammate Juan Quintero, who showed tremendous promise at the FIFA World Cup. Both players, as asserted earlier, possess great technical abilities and if they can manage to turn on the screws this week, the USMNT defenders are definitely in for a tough outing.

Prediction

United States 1-0 Colombia

Despite the United States’ awful record against their Latin American rivals, the Stars and Stripes have shown a lot of promise in recent months, especially with the influx of new players. Thus, they are definitely the more dynamic team of the two, which may help them seal yet another narrow win over Los Cafeteros this week.