TORONTO – Gregg Berhalter has some decisions to make before kickoff.
The US men's national team trained at BMO Field on Monday afternoon ahead of their Tuesday night Concacaf Nations League clash with Canada as the two battle for supremacy in League A, Group A (7:30 pm ET | ESPN2 in US; OneSoccer in Canada).
The USMNT head coach made it clear, ahead of Friday's 7-0 win over Cuba, that Josh Sargent would get the starting nod ahead of Gyasi Zardes, but he was in no such revelatory mood ahead of the bigger of the two games for the Americans.
“We’re working through that now,” said Berhalter of who would lead the line. “We’ll do training today, see how everyone has come out of the game.”
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“Josh picked up a little bit of an ankle [knock],” added the coach. “We’re going to keep assessing him, see where he’s at. But whether it’s Josh or Gyasi or whoever, we’re comfortable with who we have as options.”
Though each has a slightly different profile, who starts at striker doesn’t completely change what the US is about, according to Michael Bradley.
“They’re obviously different players, they both bring different things to the table, but in the grand scheme of things, what Gregg asks of them [doesn’t change] completely,” said Bradley, who will make a homecoming of sorts at BMO Field.
“As players we all have different characteristics, all have different qualities, everybody is going to step on the field and interpret a role and a job in a different way, but the mentality of the team, the attempt at what we’re trying to do, doesn’t change whether Josh or Gyasi is on the field,” continued the Toronto FC midfielder. “They’re both excellent players, their ability to score goals, to bring others into the game, they both work for the team, so we’re lucky to have them both. And we still have Jozy [Altidore], who is not with us at the moment.”
Berhalter concurred: “Without going too much into it they have different skill sets, but we can take advantage of both and that’s the nice thing.”
“I talk about player profiles and how we look for different profiles because it gives the team different size, different ways to attack,” he added. “Either of them on the field sets us up a little bit differently.”
One of the other questions looming is whether Bradley gets the starting nod at his home pitch.
Berhalter made it clear that in a competitive match there was no room for sentimentality to play a role in his decision making: “I don’t think that’s what we’re trying to achieve here. We’re trying to put a team on the field that is going to win the game.”
He did unveil one selection: Zack Steffen, who came into camp with a knock, will be the goalkeeper after Brad Guzan started against Cuba.
“Zack's fine,” said Berhalter. “He’ll play tomorrow.”