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U.S.'s Pulisic, McKennie, Adams get first joint-start in friendly vs. Ecuador

The United States' current crop of young players is building a strong bond in Germany, while also featuring prominently for the Bundesliga's top clubs.

Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams, a trio of 20-year-olds who have become regulars in the Bundesliga, are starting together for the first time as the United States play Ecuador in a friendly (live at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2).

In his first game with the full player pool to pick from, new U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter started Sean Johnson in goal on Thursday night. Adams was at right-back, John Brooks and Aaron Long in central defense and Tim Ream at left-back -- his first appearance since a poor performance in the 2-0 home loss to Costa Rica in a World Cup qualifier in September 2017.

Ream, the oldest American starter at 31, is captaining the U.S. for the first time.

Wil Trapp starts in holding midfield, flanked by Gyasi Zardes and Paul Arriola on the wings.

McKennie and Pulisic were central attacking midfielders in what Berhalter called a 4-3-3 formation, and Jordan Morris was up front. Morris had not appeared since January 2018, a month before tearing his right anterior cruciate ligament.

Johnson, a 29-year-old competing for the starting job in the post-Tim Howard era, made just his third international start and first since a 1-0 victory over Costa Rica on July 13, 2013, in the group stage of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Four players did not dress: goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez, defenders Omar Gonzalez and Nick Lima, and forward Christian Ramirez.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.

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