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CONCACAF Nations League

USA-Grenada preview: USMNT begins Nations League defense

USA-Grenada preview

This final round of home games for the USMNT has gotten off to as good of a start as could have been hoped for when these games were announced. A resounding 3-0 win over Morocco was followed up with a much tougher test against Uruguay and the US held their own in grinding out a 0-0 draw with the South American side. But those first two games were friendlies. Now comes a pair of competitive Nations League fixtures, albeit against a pair of opponents who will not be going to Qatar this winter: Grenada and El Salvador. The first game is against Grenada and figures to be the final US home game until next year.

Since the US didn’t score any goals against the Uruguayans on Sunday (being somewhat shockingly wasteful in the first half especially), the star of the show for the Americans was Sean Johnson in goal. He posted a clean sheet and stopped several point-blank chances in the second half. And while the US goalkeeper pool for the World Cup this winter figures to be the trio of Zack Steffen, Ethan Horvath, and Matt Turner, there could still be an outside shot for Johnson if he gets more reps between now and November.

That’s usually a scenario that plays out for field players rather than goalkeepers. But, at 33 years old Johnson has certainly been around long enough to have a ton of experience, and despite having only 10 career appearances for the USMNT, he’s been called into camps for long enough now that he knows the drill and the players are familiar and comfortable with him.

USA-Grenada preview

Grenada earned their way into tier A of the CONCACAF Nations League by winning their group in tier B of the CONCACAF Nations League back between September and November of 2019. They finished with 14 out of a possible 18 points ahead of French Guiana, Belize, and St. Kitts & Nevis. Since then, they haven’t really played much. They were in Group D at the Gold Cup last summer and finished rock bottom of the group with 0 points from three games behind Qatar, Honduras, and Panama. So far in 2022 it’s been more of the same. They’ve played three friendlies and won none of them (though one of those was an unofficial game against MLS club side Charlotte FC back in February).

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So far, they’ve played two Nations League games: a 3-1 loss away to El Salvador and then a 2-2 draw on Wednesday in the return fixture against the El Salvadorians in St. George’s. Their roster features several players who play with US clubs, though all in the lower divisions of the American soccer pyramid. Benjamin Etienne and AJ Paterson are defenders for Charleston Battery in the USL Championship, while midfielders Alexander McQueen and Shavon John-Brown play for Indy Eleven and El Paso Locomotive in the USL Championship and forward Kharlton Belmar plays for the Colorado Springs Switchbacks in the USL Championship. The Spice Boys also feature a pair of players the USL League Two with defender Kwesi Paul of Peachtree City and midfielder Josh Gabriel of Westchester Flames.

Notes:

1. Friday’s game against Grenada marks the third time in the last 11 months that the USMNT will have played in Austin, Texas.

 

When, Where
  • Friday, June 10, 2022
  • Q2 Stadium
  • Austin, Texas
  • 10pm ET
  • ESPN+, UniMas, TUDN

 

All-Time Series
  • USA leads 3-0-0

 

Last Meeting
  • Saturday, July 4, 2009
  • Lumen Field
  • Seattle, Washington
  • USA 4-0 Grenada

 

Current FIFA Ranking
  • USA: 15
  • Grenada: 170

 

Next Game
  • Tuesday, June 14, 2022
  • Nations League
  • USA @ El Salvador
  • Estadio Cuscatlán
  • San Salvador, El Salvador
  • 10pm ET
  • FS1, Univision, TUDN

 

PHOTO: Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire

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