Uruguay had little problem handling Mexico. What should the USMNT expect from Cavani and Co.?


By the point Diego Alonso’s Uruguay squad arrived in Glendale, Arizona, he had come to some vital conclusions concerning the stability of his aspect. After beating Mexico 3-0 at State Farm Stadium on Thursday, La Celeste can now transfer ahead with confidence to Sunday’s assembly with the US in Kansas Metropolis, Kansas.

In two of the previous three World Cups — statistically, a minimum of — Uruguay have been South America’s finest crew, exceptional given it is a nation with a inhabitants of simply 3.5 million. Being so small inevitably limits their choices; if they’re to get the most effective out of their sources, they need to obtain the fitting collective stability. And over time, a hardened group of great veterans have helped haul Uruguay again to soccer’s high desk after a spell between 1994 and 2006 by which they did not qualify for 3 out of 4 World Cups and had been eradicated within the group part the one time they did qualify.

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In 2010, they completed fifth in South America’s qualifiers and needed to undergo the playoff to make it to South Africa — the place they introduced their return to the large time by ending fourth. Most of the gamers chargeable for that exceptional run are nonetheless concerned, however how ought to they be dealt with? Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani have fashioned a powerful entrance pair, however can they each nonetheless function collectively? And is 4-4-2 nonetheless the crew’s finest formation?

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Towards the tip of his marathon reign, supervisor Oscar Washington Tabarez appeared to have determined that it was time to maneuver on. In his final 9 World Cup qualifiers, solely as soon as did the crew play in a 4-4-2 formation. Suarez and Cavani took the sector collectively away to Brazil, the place Uruguay had been fortunate to return away with a 4-1 defeat. In got here Alonso — recent off a futile tenure as Inter Miami’s first-ever coach — and turned the clock again. Uruguay needed to win and their remaining fixtures had been comparatively simple, so he went again to a 4-4-2 set-up, pairing Suarez both with Cavani or with the rising star, Benfica’s Darwin Nunez.

Three consecutive wins took the crew over the road and, curiously, with a spot in Qatar safe, Alonso tried one thing totally different within the last spherical, away to Chile. He began with Cavani on his personal up entrance, forward of a five-man midfield. It regarded nearer to the crew that he’d use within the World Cup — an impression confirmed by his choice towards El Tri. Suarez is unavailable this time. however Alonso can name upon Nunez, plus the energy of Maxi Gomez.

There are, although, clear benefits of enjoying a single central striker. It permits the crew to subject three within the centre of midfield, which nowadays is enjoying to a brand new energy. Actual Madrid’s Federico Valverde has emerged as in all probability a very powerful member of the aspect, and he works properly with Tottenham Hotspur’s Rodrigo Bentancur. Even within the absence of Bentancur on account of harm, Uruguay can play Lucas Torreira holding in entrance of the defence and Matias Vecino alongside Valverde in a combined attacking/defensive function. It’s a formation that makes the present Uruguay aspect extra fluent in possession, and tougher to play by.

Edinson Cavani regarded as prolific as ever in Uruguay’s win over Mexico. Christian Petersen/Getty Pictures

Having one striker additionally frees the flanks. In Thursday’s match, Uruguay successfully gained the sport over Mexico within the first couple of minutes of the second half, when a 1-0 lead was shortly was a 3-0 rout by two Cavani objectives. The fast strikes each got here from breaks down the fitting, the place Facundo Pellistri is a raffle that has come off for Alonso. The Manchester United attacking midfielder is on mortgage at Alaves, the place he isn’t seen quite a lot of motion. Alonso took an opportunity on him early this yr and has been rewarded — particularly towards Mexico, the place his operating with the ball induced untold issues. He arrange the second objective, whereas the ultimate strike was made by a ahead burst from substitute right-back Damian Suarez.

It is true that every one of Uruguay’s opponents won’t be as obliging as Mexico, whose formation appeared ill-equipped for the event. With a again three towards one striker, they left themselves gentle in central midfield. The USMNT on Sunday will be anticipated to supply a stiffer take a look at, which is precisely what Uruguay want. They’ve one last sport in these June FIFA dates, an opportunity for his or her followers to see them in Montevideo on June 11, however opponents Jamaica have pulled out, leaving Uruguay scrambling for a substitute.

There’s a likelihood, then, that the rescheduled opponent may produce a festive event greater than a severe worldwide, which provides to the significance of the match towards the USMNT.

Centre-back Diego Godin will presumably play in Kansas Metropolis. The crew captain was on the bench towards Mexico, approaching for the previous few minutes. It will likely be a shock if he is not noted towards the USMNT, however some will likely be stunned if he retains his place in Qatar. Godin is on the veteran stage of his profession, and a transfer again to South America has not gone particularly properly. He has struggled to get an everyday sport with Brazilian champions Atletico Mineiro and will quickly be on his strategy to Velez Sarsfield in Argentina.

Will Alonso part him out? On the World Cup, he may actually pair Atletico Madrid’s Jose Maria Gimenez with Ronald Araujo of Barcelona. Araujo has been used at proper again, however this looks as if a waste. He went off injured within the first half towards Mexico — and some great benefits of a real proper again had been made clear when Suarez made the ahead run that arrange the third objective.

Sunday’s sport, then, could be an vital one within the lengthy profession of Godin. He has been a rock all through Uruguay’s reemergence. He wants a sound show towards the USMNT to point out that he can finish his worldwide profession on a excessive in Qatar.

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