DAVID SMITH - Saturday, June 25, 2016
Jürgen Klinsmann's squad are once again facing a familiar foe in Saturday night's third-place game in Arizona, when they have a chance for revenge against Group A opponents Colombia.
For the second summer in a row, the US team find themselves forced to suit up, on home soil nonetheless, for what is often considered to be a meaningless money-grab rather than game with any true meaning.
Whether this feeling is shared by the team and coaching staff is inconsequential, as they will have to face a tough Colombia squad that already thoroughly beat the team once in this tournament.
Klinsmann has indicated that he intends to put out his strongest available squad, although this could still be missing some key pieces that have started the previous five games.
Already confirmed is the switch of Tim Howard for Brad Guzan. While Guzan has been more than adequate as the starter prior to making some key mistakes in the semifinal, this will give the 37 year-old Howard - still a fine option - the chance for playing time in what could be the last major tournament of his long career.
Apart from that, reports from camp have suggested that both Fabian Johnson and John Brooks are struggling with minor injuries, and are doubtful to take part.
This will lead to a major shift in the back line, although whether Klinsmann again chooses to deputize Matt Besler at left back and bring in Steve Birnbaum for Brooks in the middle or try the still unused Edgar Castillo is anybody's guess.
The three players suspended for the Argentina loss - Bobby Wood, Jermaine Jones and Bedoya - could make a comeback to the field. Although Bedoya might be dropped to the bench if Klinsmann opts for Darlington Nagbe, who was perhaps the lone bright spot for the US during his cameo on Tuesday, form the start.
Colombia gained the honor of playing in this game due to their 2-0 defeat at the hands of Chile in the semifinal. Their only confirmed absence is Aston Villa defensive midfielder Carlos Sanchez, who picked up a pair of yellows in the semifinal loss.
How Colombia coach José Pékerman will line up his starting eleven on the heels of his team's disappointing loss is a major mystery. The Argentinean coach did make wholesale changes to his team heading into their final group game versus Costa Rica and paid the price by ultimately losing game and first place in the group.
While the wasted the silver lining of the latter point by avoiding a semifinal against Argentina, he might think twice before replacing his attacking core of James Rodríguez, Edwin Cardona and Juan Cuadrado if he has any serious intentions.
He has also generally stuck with the same defensive spine throughout all games except the Costa Rica loss, so the eleven players that take the field from the start will indicate how seriously La Tricolor are taking the game.
The game will kick off at 6pm local time in the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.