Portugal v United States Live Commentary & Result, 14/11/2017, Friendlies

As expected, the United States squad is almost unrecognizable from Bruce Arena’s last match in charge. Sarachan has made ten changes from the side that lost 2-1 to Trinidad and Tobago with only Newcastle full-back DeAndre Yedlin keeping his place. He will line up in defence alongside centre-back pairing of Matt Miazga and John Brooks who missed most of the CONCACAF Hex phase through injury. Opposite Yedlin, at left full-back is Eric Lichaj. In midfield, Adams and Juan Agudelo will play the flanks, with Kellyn Acosta, debutant Winston McKennie and captain Danny Williams playing centrally. The striker today will be C.J. Sapong who will be the lone attacker.  

Fernando Santos opts for a formation change from the 4-4-2 that was employed in Portugal’s previous friendly against Saudi Arabia. Beto will start in net instead of Anthony Lopes and will be playing behind a back-four featuring Antunes, Ricardo Ferreira, Pepe and Nelson Semedo – with Pepe being the only defender to start both matches. Bruno Fernandes will play in the place of Joao Mario, alongside Danilo Pereira and Manuel Fernandes, both of whom began the match against Saudi Arabia on the pitch. Goncalo Guedes keeps his role as central striker, though Bernardo Silva and Andre Silva make way for Bruma and Gelson Martins who will start on the left and right of Guedes respectively.

United States substitutes: Bill Hamid, Jesse Gonzalez, Tim Ream, Kelyn Rowe, Alejandro Bedoya, Dom Dwyer, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Lynden Gooch, Jorge Villafana.

United States Starting XI (4-5-1): Ethan Horvath; DeAndre Yedlin, Matt Miazga, John Brooks, Eric Lichaj; Tyler Adams, Kellyn Acosta, Danny Williams, Weston McKennie, Juan Agudelo, C.J. Sapong.

Portugal substitutes: Kevin Rodrigues, Joao Mario, Ruben Neves, Anthony Lopes, Andre Silva, Goncalo Paciencia, Edgar Ie, Jose Sa, Bernardo Silva, Rony Lopes, Neto, Joao Cancelo.

Portugal Starting XI (4-3-3): Beto; Antunes, Ricardo Ferreira, Pepe, Nelson Semedo; Bruno Fernandes, Danilo Pereira, Manuel Fernandes; Bruma, Goncalo Guedes, Gelson Martins. 

With fifteen minutes to go before kick-off, the team news has been announced. Let’s begin with the home side. 

A new permanent manager will follow February’s election for United States Soccer Federation president, but for the meantime Sarachan has assembled a squad full of youthful exuberance with 30-year old Alejandro Bedoya the oldest member of the squad. Though they do not have a tournament to prepare for, the United States will use this match to lay the foundation for the next generation of international footballers. 

It has been a turbulent year in football for the United States of America. Despite only two defeats in their last ten matches, the US failed to qualify from the hexagonal stage of CONCACAF and have thus missed out on the World Cup Finals. A final day defeat to Trinidad and Tobago sealed their unlikely fate. Coached during a part of that campaign by Bruce Arena who has since resigned, the US Men’s National Team is now guided in the interim by Dave Sarachan. 

Portugal come into this contest having won 8 of their last 10 international matches, including a decisive 2-0 victory over Switzerland in World Cup Qualifying. Having finished first in their group with only one loss, the defending European Cup champions are in a rich vein of form. With four consecutive clean sheets, Fernando Santos has successfully fashioned a squad resolute in defence. The Portuguese will use this friendly as a tune-up before next year’s World Cup Finals in Russia; their opponents however, cannot say the same.

Good evening and welcome to our live text commentary of the international friendly between Portugal and the United States from the Estadio Dr. Magalhaes Pessoa in Leiria. 

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