Bruce Arena has his pick of pretty much the entire roster thanks to injury luck, and that makes predicting what he'll do vs. Trinidad & Tobago on Thursday (7 p.m. ET, live on FS1) tough. His rosters from the World Cup qualifiers in March offer few clues since he was so restricted in his options and now he has everyone at his disposal.
How will he send the U.S. out?
Jeffrey SwingerJeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports
Goalkeeper: Tim Howard
No surprises here. Arena has said that Howard is the USMNT's No. 1 goalkeeper right now.
The USMNT's search for a natural starting left back might be over. Villafana had been passed over by former coach Jurgen Klinsmann, but Arena wasted no time giving the Santos Laguna defender a look and he has been solid.
Center back: Omar Gonzalez
Although John Brooks looked to have taken a knock on Saturday vs. Venezuela, he has been in training. But his inconsistency and his culpability on the set piece conceded on Saturday are a concern, so Arena might give Brooks some more time.
Arena knows Gonzalez well and he may see Gonzalez's experience playing at high altitudes in Pachucha as an asset in Colorado.
Center back: Geoff Cameron
While he is new for Arena, he played well enough on Saturday that he should've convinced Arena he belongs starting on the back line. He's been one of the USMNT's more dependable, consistent defenders.
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Right back: DeAndre Yedlin
There's really no one even competing with Yedlin right now for the starting right back spot and he has been solid for Newcastle United all year. He had a decent showing on Saturday and should resume that role.
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Holding midfielder: Michael Bradley
Much to the chagrin of at least some USMNT fans, Bradley isn’t leaving the central midfield anytime soon. He covers a lot of ground and he's pretty good at playing balls through from a deep position. Perhaps more importantly, he's shown he is capable of shielding the back line as the base of a diamond midfield, as he did vs. Honduras, and it's a role he can resume vs. Trinidad & Tobago.
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Left midfield: Darlington Nagbe
While Nagbe isn't often a spectacular player, his ability to control possession and lead a counterattack make his valuable. He and Jorge Villafana seem to play well off each other on the left side as well. Arena could put Fabian Johnson there, but Johnson is a new player for Arena and Johnson didn't look sharp in his first match under the U.S. boss on Saturday.
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Central attacking midfield: Christian Pulisic
Arena seems to have ended his search for a No. 10 with Pulisic. The 18-year-old has been a spark plug in the attack when he has played there and Arena will probably field the team in something like a 4-1-3-2 just so he can put Pulisic in a true No. 10 role. He'll go there rather than along the right wing, where he has otherwise played for the USMNT.
Right midfield: Alejandro Bedoya
The question is whether Arena starts Fabian Johnson after a sloppy showing vs. Venezuela. It's possible that Johnson is getting his legs under him after recently returning from injury, and Arena may give him a rest and get him ready for Mexico. When fit, Johnson is one of the best players on the entire roster, but he didn't look ready on Saturday, so he might just need more time. Mexico is a tough foe, and having Johnson fresh for that match-up wouldn't be a bad thing. Bedoya is capable on the right side, and he can offer some added balance on the defensive side of things.
Striker: Clint Dempsey
Though he wasn't especially effective vs. Venezuela on Saturday, Arena will hope that Dempsey can connect with Pulisic in front of goal the way the pair did vs. Honduras in March. Dempsey is as much a goal-scorer as he is a goal creator and he is very good at making things happen.
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Striker: Jozy Altidore
He had to miss Saturday's match because he arrived late due to camp for a family commitment, but Altidore is the undisputed No. 1 striker in the pool right now. Given that Bobby Wood struggled on Saturday, that only makes it even more likely Altidore will start.