CONCACAF rivals United States and Jamaica face off for an international friendly in Austria on Thursday at 5pm (UK time).
Given this is the last international break before the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July, Thursday’s match carries an unusual amount of importance for a friendly, with both managers looking to narrow down their options ahead of this summer’s tournament.
How to live stream USA vs Jamaica online:
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Where to watch USA vs Jamaica on TV:
US: TUDN USA & ESPN 2
Scoreline prediction: USA 3-1 Jamaica
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USA vs Jamaica build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
For all the talk of an emerging generation of talent in the United States, Thursday’s match offers us the first glimpse of this new-look USMNT side, with the previous international break available only to MLS players due to Uefa scheduling and previous camps being disrupted by injury. Gregg Berhalter has named an incredibly strong squad for this double-header against Jamaica and Northern Ireland, with only a few of his brightest prospects unable to travel.
Theodore Whitmore has also named a strong squad, laced with players experienced in English football. There are some high-profile absentees, including Leon Bailey and Ravel Morrison, but the Reggae Boyz should certainly provide a stern test for the United States, just as they did for Saudi Arabia back in November.
USA (vs Trinidad & Tobago): Turner; Herrera, Robinson, Long, Vines; Acosta, Yueill, Lletget; Arriola, Ferreira, Lewis.
Jamaica (vs Saudi Arabia): Miller; Fisher, Lowe, Hector, Leigh; Morrison*, Johnson; Bailey*, Reid, Campbell; East.
Tyler Adams and Timothy Weah have been forced to withdraw from Berhalter’s squad by their parent clubs, but the USA have picked their strongest side for an international break in quite some time with most of their big-name talents in Europe available for action.
Jamaica’s squad is bolstered by a number of players experienced in English football, including Andre Gray and Jamal Lowe. Ravel Morrison withdrew from the squad while Bayer Leverkusen forward Leon Bailey was unable to travel. Michail Antonio is yet to decide whether or not to pledge his allegiance to Jamaica.
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Players to watch:
USA: For the first time since October 2019, we finally get to witness Christian Pulisic pulling on the United States jersey. The golden boy of the USMNT has missed a number of previous international camps due to injury and scheduling, but is now free to show fans just what they’ve been missing against Jamaica. Pulisic hasn’t been in blistering form for Chelsea this season, with just two goals and two assists to his name across all competitions for the Blues so far. But he does come in off the back of a Man of the Match performance in the FA Cup against Sheffield United last time out, where he completed a match-high five dribbles, had two shots on target and made three tackles. Pulisic will be looking to make up for lost time against Jamaica.
Jamaica: The Reggae Boyz may have a number of high-profile players missing from this squad, but there is still plenty of talent capable of hurting the United States. Chief among those threats will be Andre Gray, receiving his first call-up since declaring himself for Jamaica. Gray has over 220 games of experience across Premier League and Champions League levels, scoring 68 goals and notching 27 assists along the way. A quick runner behind the opposition defence and a lethal finisher, Gray should provide Jamaica with far more cutting edge up-front moving forward. He comes into this match fresh from finding the net in Watford’s 3-0 win over Birmingham in the Championship — can he make a dream start to life with Jamaica here?
Most are understandably excited to see the likes of Weston McKennie, John Brooks and Sergiño Dest all finally come together alongside Pulisic for an international match, but what about some of the young players who could get a chance across the upcoming games?
Chris Richards: After an unexpectedly strong start to the season with Bayern Munich, including providing an assist for Robert Lewandowski, Richards was sent on loan to Hoffenheim in January and has performed brilliantly so far. One mistake against Mainz aside — a game in which he still managed an assist — the young centre-back has averaged 2.2 tackles and 2.6 interceptions per 90 minutes, placing him second among Hoffenheim players, while his ability on the ball is unmatched among his defensive teammates. Brooks is the only unquestioned starting centre-back for the USA, can Richards become his long-term partner?
Brenden Aaronson: After helping fire Philadelphia Union to the Supporters’ Shield in 2020, Aaronson joined up with compatriot Jesse Marsch at RB Salzburg and, so far, has been superb for his fellow American. Operating out wide with the freedom to drift inside, Aaronson has three goals and two assists two his name in Austrian football already, while his elite pressing and ball-carrying skills make him perfect for the high-octane style adopted by the Red Bull clubs. Aaronson already has his first international goal on the board, but these friendlies offer a great chance for him to show Berhalter he can be a starter among this team of emerging stars.
Yunus Musah: The most recent dual-national to declare himself for the United States, turning down England in the process, Musah has been one of the few bright sparks in a dull season for Valencia. Though much time spent on the bench has limited him to just two goals across all competitions, Musah has still managed to contribute heavily for Los Che, attempting 1.7 dribbles per 90 (third-highest) and providing 0.6 chances per 90. Able to play through the middle or on the right, Musah is terrifyingly fast, unstoppable in one-on-one duels and highly intelligent with the ball for such an inexperienced player.
Giovanni Reyna: Though he’s without a direct goal contribution since mid-December, Reyna is still one of the most exciting young players in this current American crop, and in the Bundesliga. Only Florian Wirtz (4) has scored more goals than Reyna (3) among Bundesliga teenagers this season, while the two are tied at the top for assists (4) so far. Reyna is extremely versatile, able to play as a No.8 or on either flank, and it’s only a matter of time until his dribbling and passing skills marry up with the experience necessary to make it at this level. When that happens, we’ll have a truly elite player on our hands. It’s scary to think Reyna is still only 18 years old.
Daryl Dike: One of the unexpected players to join the crop of MLS talent heading to Europe in January, Dike has been absolutely sensational in the Championship for Barnsley. The Orlando City loanee has bagged five goals in 11 league appearances for the Tykes so far, with the 2-1 loss to Sheffield Wednesday last time out their first defeat with Dike in the side. Unsurprisingly, Dike is a superb target man, able to use his strength and aerial ability to flick the ball on for chasing wingers and bully opposition centre-backs into submission, but he’s so much more than that. Dike is also an incredibly intelligent player, making smart near-post runs to get on the end of crosses and bringing others into play with quick, technical passing. With such a varied arsenal of talents, it’s little surprise that a “big-six” Premier League club has reportedly already made an approach for Dike’s services.