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Stats: Why Brad Guzan's MLS form should give USMT an upper hand over Uruguay

September 10, 2019 By Emmanuel K. Budu-Annor
The former Aston Villa shot-stopper could be the key to secure a win for Gregg Berhalter's side in Tuesday's test.

Following the weekend's 3-0 humiliation against Mexico, the USMT could get back to winning ways coming up against Uruguay on Wednesday. Even with the likes of Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, John Brooks and a host of other stars all present, the Stars and Stripes could not contain their neighbours as goals from Javier Hernandez, Erick Gutierrez and Uriel Antuna proved to be sufficient to secure victory for El Tri.

While the upcoming test with La Celeste - the No. 5-ranked team in the world - could serve up a similar scenario for Gregg Berhalter's side, the current form of one man could well alter the game's outcome. Ahead of the fixture, Brad Guzan is in line to assume the position in-between the sticks with the USMNT expected to rotate. First-choice goalkeeper Zack Steffen has already left for his current club Fortuna Dusseldorf after Saturday's loss.

It has been almost a year since Guzan was last fielded in a game for the Stars and Stripes and his call-up could not have come at a more reasonable time. In retrospect, he has been expectionally good in recent months. As the main man in post for Atlanta United FC, the veteran shot stopper ranks above all the other goalkeepers as far as keeping cleansheets in the MLS. So far, he has registered 12 and has only picked a ball out of his net twice in his club side's last six wins.

With Steffen in post, the USMNT has conceded at least a goal in three of its last four most recent outings. Bringing the upcoming clash with Uruguay into focus, Guzan is not expected to be tested much by the South Americans who come into the match with a number of key players amiss. Quite fortuitous for the North Americans, their opponent's most lethal strikers in Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani will be unavailable to feature.

As a result, a tweak in tactics will be required if Oscar Tabarez expects his men to deliver on the day. Either one of the pair has scored a least a goal in five of the last six victories recorded by La Celeste. The man called upon in the absence of the pair, Jonathan Rodriguez, although quite quick, is a tad inconsistent and should not pose much threat in USA's defensive half.

Relatively, with Brooks, Morales and Pulisic all returning to their respective clubs, Gregg Berhalter's side could face a hard time creating chances and causing enough harm in the opposite half. Hopefully, Gyasi Zardes will not be too isolated upfront but get among the goals as his recent form suggests.

All in all, while Uruguay's backline led by Fernando Muslera, Jose Gimenez and co will be difficult to breakdown but the safe pair of hands of Brad Guzman should also at least spare the USMT a few blushes. With the teams par on number of wins in a head to head comparison, victory will be very essential for both sides at the end of the day.

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