The U.S. men's national team kicks off its 2017 calendar with friendlies against Serbia on Sunday and Jamaica next week. Though they are only friendlies, they are huge in figuring out a squad for World Cup qualifying in March.
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Fabian Johnson is the Americans' best left back, but he's also their best player are several other positions. The U.S. would be a lot better off if they could find someone else to play the position and Arena has three experienced players in the mix for it.
DaMarcus Beasley is still hanging around and transformed himself into a capable left back late in his career, while Greg Garza is looking to get his career back on track after injuries and Jorge Villafana is getting his first chance with the national team. None of the three are at their best right now, but all have played well enough previously in their careers to be the Americans' starting left back. Can one make a move on the job now?
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Johnson is also the Americans' best right back. Things look a bit better at right back for the U.S., though, because they have DeAndre Yedlin and Timothy Chandler, who continues to be great for his club and struggle for his country.
Still, the U.S. would love to find another option and they may have one in Graham Zusi. The 30-year-old has long been a midfielder and played at the 2014 World Cup, but he's been squeezed out at that spot. Sporting KC tossed him in at right back a couple times last season and that's where Arena has him right now. Obviously he lacks experience in the spot, but his skillset is a good fit for fullback so it will be interesting to see if he can be a viable option for the U.S. there.
It feels safe to say that Michael Bradley will start in the center of the pitch for the U.S., but who will be there with him? Jermaine Jones has been first choice for years and Arena has raved him, but he's aging and suspended in March so the U.S. needs to have other options. Is Dax McCarty that man? Maybe Sacha Kljestan or Benny Feilhaber in a deeper role? Sebastian Lletget has opened some eyes too.
The question around Darlington Nagbe has been what position he should play. He's spent a fair amount of time on the left wing in training camp, giving him the ability to cut in on his right foot. Will he be there against Serbia and, if so, can he give the Americans another option out there because the U.S. could use some more choices in the attack.
Arena has talked a lot about needing more creativity and attacking talent. He's referenced a No. 10 repeatedly, too. Even if Nagbe is out wide, Kljestan and Feilhaber are both players who can fit that role. Both have a chance to make an impression in this match, but it's also worth watching whether a No. 10 role is even used. After all, Arena could go with two strikers instead.