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USMNT predicted lineup vs Jamaica – CONCACAF Nations League semifinal

USMNT predicted lineup vs Jamaica - CONCACAF Nations League semifinal

For all intents and purposes, the USMNT's 2026 World Cup cycle kicks off on Thursday (7 pm ET), as Gregg Berhalter and Co., take on Jamaica in the CONCACAF Nations League semifinals in Arlington, Texas.

[ MORE: USMNT roster | USMNT upcoming schedule | USMNT vs Jamaica preview ]

This is the first game of a very busy, and perhaps very telling, five-month stretch between now and the end of summer. First, it's continental superiority and the chance to win the third of three Nations League trophies on the line, followed by high-level friendlies to get ready for Copa America 2024. For the next five months, these are important games and they matter.

[ LIVE: Follow USMNT vs Jamaica on FotMob.com ]

With that in mind, let's look at who Berhalter is likely to pick in his starting XI to face Jamaica, as the USMNT reaches the halfway mark to the next World Cup…

USMNT projected lineup vs Jamaica

— Turner —

— Scally — Richards — M. Robinson — A. Robinson —

— Musah — Cardoso — McKennie —

— Weah — Balogun — Pulisic —

The logic behind the lineup

There is little to debate along the backline — perhaps Sergiño Dest over Joe Scally at right back, if he wasn't suspended, but that should be just about it — as Chris Richards establishes himself as a regular starter in the Premier League for Crystal Palace (19 appearances, 16 starts – 1,462 PL minutes) and Miles Robinson continues to give Berhalter no reason to look elsewhere at the other center back spot.

In midfield, it would be Tyler Adams, Yunus Musah and Weston McKennie, if not for Adams only just returning from 11 months out injured last weekend. He's likely not yet close to 90- or even 60-minutes fit — but he should be by Copa America this summer, fingers crossed — thus presenting Johnny Cardoso a huge opportunity to prove himself in a competitive fixture for the USMNT.

Cardoso has hit the ground running since joining La Liga side Real Betis from Internacional (Brazil) for $6.3 million in January. The 22-year-old defensive midfielder has appeared in nine of 11 games (eight starts) since making his debut, against Barcelona, on Jan. 21. Cardoso scored his first goal for Betis against Athletic Bilbao last month and also chipped in a pair of assists in his last five games. For the first time in a long time, it doesn't feel like the sky is falling just because Adams isn't available. In an ideal world, it's 60 minutes for Cardoso and 30 for Adams in each of two games this international window, putting him into contention for his first start for Bournemouth as the run-in begins.

Not much mystery up top either, as fans and media alike tend to overthink things like form or tactics, but the truth is that the manager has his preferred players and when they're fit, they're going to play. That goes for every one of Christian Pulisic, Folarin Balogun and Timothy Weah these days. Ricardo Pepi, Josh Sargent and Haji Wright are all vying for whatever minutes there are to be had as a striker off the bench.

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