US Under-23 head coach Caleb Porter
John Dorton/ISI

US Olympic team to put 4-3-3 to ultimate test in qualifying

For the first time in the Jurgen Klinsmann era, a US men’s national team will put the 4-3-3 formation to the ultimate test in real competition.

The US Under-23 national team is already in camp under head coach Caleb Porter in preparation for their first match in CONCACAF Olympic qualifying against Cuba on March 22 in Nashville, Tenn.

Although Porter indicated that he will be tactically flexible as necessary, the US squad will be faithful to the 4-3-3.

“I think it’s the best way to play to highlight the talents we have in this group,” Porter said on a Tuesday media teleconference call. “It’s the best way to go into qualifying and it gives us the best way to win. It’s a winning philosophy. The players have bought into it and believe in it.”

Porter highlighted the run of success the team has had in recent weeks with the 4-3-3 in camps that were held in Costa Rica and Dallas, Tex. The US defeated their counterparts from Mexico 2-0 at FC Dallas Stadium on February 29.

“I think it fits this group of players,” said Porter, who on Tuesday afternoon added Estoril Praia attacker Tony Taylor to the roster, giving him an even 20 players in camp. “We’ve got technical players, dangerous attacking pieces. We’ve got athleticism which is important and we’ve got a group that’s very honest and willing to defend immediately.”

It remains to be seen how the 4-3-3 will work against a team like Cuba, which Porter already knows will play “a tight game” and look to capitalize on the speed of their forwards in transition.

“They’re going to sit back and counter and in soccer that makes things difficult,” Porter said. “But we’ve been in games throughout our preparation where we’ve had teams that have done that. We’re looking forward to the game.”

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