Where Pulisic, McKennie, Ochoa line up


The U.S. and Mexico sq. off on Wednesday in a curiously scheduled pleasant that includes principally younger gamers from MLS and Liga MX.

Considering this sport falls exterior of FIFA’s worldwide window and each rosters lack their large stars, we’ll see some promising kids and home league stalwarts. Given that this exhibition is extra diluted than traditional, we requested: What would a mixed U.S.-Mexico all-star XI look like– even when the celebrities of those two groups aren’t at this specific match?

Christian Pulisic paired with Santiago Gimenez up high? Memo Ochoa ordering across the “MMA” midfield? Here’s how ESPN correspondents Jeff Carlisle, Cesar Hernandez, and Kyle Bonagura composed their lineups.

– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, extra (U.S.)

Carlisle XI: Room for Reyna as ‘Chucky’ not first alternative

Forwards: Pulisic, Gimenez, Reyna
Midfielders: McKennie, Alvarez, Musah
Defenders: Gallardo, Ream, Montes, Dest
Goalkeeper: Ochoa

Credit: Chosen11

There are a lot of picture finishes by way of who will get onto this squad and who would not, which isn’t surprising given how evenly matched these two groups have been over time. In objective, Guillermo Ochoa’s red-hot kind for Serie A facet Salernitana simply edges out Arsenal’s Matt Turner. In protection, it is honors even with left-back Jesus Gallardo and center-back Cesar Montes representing El Tri whereas the evergreen Tim Ream and Sergiño Dest occupy the center-back and right-back spots, respectively.

In midfield, the No. 6 spot might be the hardest to select from between Leeds United’s Tyler Adams and Ajax’s Edson Alvarez. Both are stellar by way of defensive prowess, however Alvarez will get the nod given his barely increased high quality on the ball, in addition to his capability to pop up for the occasional objective. The remaining members of the U.S.’s “MMA” midfield — Weston McKennie and Yunus Musah — spherical out the engine room, with Luis Chavez the odd man out.

In assault, the U.S. duo of Gio Reyna and Christian Pulisic occupy the wing positions. Hirving “Chucky” Lozano has been a gentle presence for Napoli this season, however Reyna has scored double the variety of objectives this season for Borussia Dortmund in a couple of third of the minutes. Health allowing, he is solely going to get higher.

Up high, Santiago Gimenez is the selection because of his 19 objectives in all competitions for Feyenoord, simply adequate to beat out Groningen’s Ricardo Pepi.

Hernandez XI: Pulisic paired with Gimenez for a potent duo

Forwards: Pulisic, Gimenez, Lozano
Midfielders: McKennie, Adams, Chavez
Defenders: Robinson, Ream, Alvarez, Dest
Goalkeeper: Ochoa

Credit: Chosen11

Quinto partido assured with this squad. In internet, Ochoa is the straightforward reply because the beginning goalkeeper after his newest exploits with Salernitana. Looking on the full-backs, Mexico has a rising checklist of promising choices, however I nonetheless imagine Fulham’s Antonee Robinson and AC Milan’s Dest are a slight step above their friends from south of the border, for now. In between the 2, there could be no lack of management or defensive solidity with a Ream-Alvarez partnership.

In the midfield, you may’t ignore the energetic Leeds duo of McKennie and Adams, which then leaves yet another spot within the coronary heart of the XI. Musah and Erick Gutierrez might make nice circumstances for themselves, however I’m sticking with Pachuca’s Luis Chavez, who can present an immense quantity of assist in each the protection and assault. We can also’t neglect his X issue with free-kicks and shots from distance.

On the wings, Pulisic and Lozano could be a headache for any opposition with their potent combination of velocity and intelligent dribbling. Reyna and Timothy Weah each narrowly missed the reduce for a spot on both flank in my XI, however could be rapid choices off the bench — and so would Carlos Vela on this fictional situation during which he reopened the door to Mexico.

Finally, because the lone striker, we’ll go together with one of the vital thrilling younger names in European soccer: Gimenez. While Pepi must be given credit score for what he is additionally conducting within the Eredivisie by way of Groningen, Gimenez has been on a a lot better run in 2023 with 11 objectives and an help in his previous 14 appearances for Feyenoord.

Bonagura XI: Alvarez over Adams in new ‘MMA’ midfield

Forwards: Pulisic, Gimenez, Reyna
Midfielders: Musah, Alvarez, McKennie
Defenders: Dest, Ream, Montes, Robinson
Goalkeeper: Ochoa

Credit: Chosen11

At the chance of coming off wanting utterly biased, I believe we’re at some extent proper now the place it’s apparent that the U.S. nationwide workforce is in a a lot better place than Mexico. This weighs latest outcomes, present expertise, trajectory of the participant swimming pools, and many others. Wednesday’s money-grab pleasant will not present a lot priceless knowledge so as to add to the dialogue, however it’s nonetheless enjoyable to see any iteration of the rivalry.

There’s a case for Lozano on the wing, however — when all three gamers are wholesome — he is step behind Pulisic and Reyna. With that mentioned, not one of the three have performed to their skills previously 12 months, for varied causes. That leaves Gimenez or Pepi at striker. They’ve carried out equally within the Eredivisie this 12 months (Gimenez 11 objectives in 27 league video games, Pepi 11 in 24). Gimenez will get the nod for now, however ought to Folarin Balogun make the swap to the U.S. from England, he is away from the sphere by a substantial margin.

For me, Musah is the very best midfielder within the area. His capability to keep up possession and progress the ball is particular and his versatility makes him much more priceless. McKennie is analogous in that he can affect the sport in varied methods — on set items, for instance — and must be on there. That leaves Adams or Alvarez (given Alvarez performed in midfield, not center-back, on the World Cup) for the ultimate spot. Even although in sure video games, Adams has been the U.S.’s most vital participant, his on-ball limitations give Alvarez the nod.

It’s laborious to imagine that right here we’re in 2023 and the very best defender between Mexico and the United States is 35-year-old Ream, however right here we’re. The U.S.’s full-back pair of Robinson and Dest (though Dest’s inventory has cooled off) are considerably easy picks from my vantage level, whereas the opposite center-back slot (Montes for this case) would not have an apparent choice.

I might have favored to have tried to make the case Turner is best than Ochoa at this level, however as a result of he is not enjoying often at Arsenal, the entire superior goalkeeper stats that present his worth really feel too dated for this train.


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